(BPT) - You’ve probably experienced this: At the end of a stressful day, you step outside, take a deep breath, maybe sit in your yard and feel the sun and breeze on your face. Before you know it, you're more relaxed and centered. In fact, scientific research shows that sitting on a patio immersed in nature for just 10-15 minutes can drop stress levels 60%. This is the idea behind biophilic design — incorporating natural elements into design (inside or out) to help satisfy our innate need to connect with nature.
"It's easier to fully relax surrounded by nature," said Joe Raboine, director of Residential Hardscapes, Belgard. "More homeowners today are taking full use of their outdoor spaces, making those areas a true extension of their home and a place to just enjoy being outside."
Basic elements of biophilic design
"Biophilic" means "love of living things," so biophilic design helps human environments feel more like part of the natural world.
Here are some examples of biophilic principles — and how you can incorporate them into your outdoor space.
Mix and match materials
You can mesh natural materials with made ones to further blur the line between nature and the built environment using mixed materials to embody biophilic design. Entangled design is a popular style in hardscaping that blends the use of pavers into the landscaping, with multiple techniques to choose from, including fading, outcropping and stepping-stones.
For a sustainable, eco-friendly solution, consider using permeable pavers, which allow water to seep back into the ground, filtering runoff of pollutants and controlling soil erosion. A permeable paver system can even be designed to harvest and recycle rainwater.
Prospect and refuge
Harkening back to ancient times when humans lived in caves, this idea is about feeling safe and secure while still being able to look out and view the landscape. You can recreate this feeling by making a semi-sheltered living space outdoors.
For example, you could design an outdoor refuge like a garden room, dining room, kitchen or living room. Belgard Rooms offers templated outdoor living design plans, so homeowners can customize their space to fit their needs and design style. Homeowners can also test different designs with Augmented Reality, instantly bringing various rooms to life in their own backyard. Belgard’s collection of hardscapes, outdoor appliances and accessories can help build a cozy outdoor space customized to your needs — then add a structure like a pergola or sunshade for that sense of shelter.
Looking up at a tree canopy, you can see the movement of the branches and leaves as the sun filters through. This kind of organized complexity is beautiful to the human eye. Many architectural designs tap into that response, such as the Eiffel Tower.
One great way to invite organized complexity into your space is using nature itself. For example, create a living wall using climbing vines or other plants with a supporting structure like fencing or a vertical garden. This helps define the space using greenery to give you both privacy and that sense of organized complexity that is so pleasing to the eye.
Modes of mystery
When you’re in nature, you’re always wondering. Walking in a forest, you wonder what's behind that tree or down that winding path. That sense of awe, wonder and curiosity is a big part of the natural world's fascination.
You can inspire this sense of mystery using winding walkways throughout your yard or garden. To create your wonder-full design, Belgard offers durable, stylish concrete pavers in a range of patterns and textures for your driveway, walkway, patio and more. All Belgard’s pavers offer multiple laying patterns, including contoured paver patterns, giving you flexibility to create a unique look to complement your style and celebrate your love of the outdoors.
Connect with natural elements
Beyond adding greenery to your outdoor space, you can enhance that connection to the natural world through the elements of water and fire. Water features like a bubbling fountain, small pond or water bowl add soothing sights and sounds to your outdoor oasis, with the added bonus that the sound of water can help reduce noise from neighbors or traffic. Another popular choice is building a cozy fire pit to create a great focal point and gathering space for family and guests.
Inspired to embrace biophilic design in your outdoor space? Visit Belgard Rooms for more ideas on how to incorporate entangled and biophilic design into your backyard to effortlessly flow with the natural landscape.