Design Maestro: Bringing the indoors out

This past month, I’ve been spending more time than I have in many years, toying around in my humble, home garden. Enjoying the opportunity to simply touch the earth and garden soil and I thought what a great time with spring still in the air, to share some design thoughts on this ageless topic!


According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends a staggering 93% of their life indoors—87% in buildings and another 6% in automobiles. This leaves a mere 7% to enjoy the great outdoors! Even less of that precious time is spent in our own outdoor living spaces. So, I thought, how can we reclaim a healthier, more balanced lifestyle by making the most of our outdoor areas?

Have you ever gazed through your sliding glass door, a warm drink in hand, envisioning the untapped potential of your backyard? You’re not alone if you’ve ever felt the urge to transform your outdoor space into a green, sustainable haven but found the idea daunting. This month, let’s explore some exciting and simple tips to create your own personal outdoor living retreat.

Blend retreat with sustainability

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that the average American spends 1 hour and 8 minutes daily on food and drink, slightly more on weekends. Interestingly, we spend a similar amount of time outdoors. By merging these activities, you can naturally evolve your yard into an earthly, sustainable retreat.

Living sustainably means more than just a buzzword—it’s about using resources without depleting them. According to ‘Merriam-Webster’ the word sus-tain-a-ble is an adjective, not a noun. It is defined as “of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.”

Some clients opt for elaborate outdoor kitchens, but you can achieve just as much with a back-to-basics approach. Start with an old table and transform it into the centerpiece of your outdoor dining space. Get creative with shade structures using bamboo, netting, or found objects. Just ensure they’re open enough to let a breeze through!

Create a sustainable garden with root vegetables, herbs, and melons, and let nature do the work. Add a simple rock fire-pit with an iron grate to grill your harvested produce and smoke meats, turning your backyard into a coveted retreat.

Meet your private designer , Ms. Indigenous

Transforming your outdoor space can be simpler than you think. Instead of bringing the outdoors in, why not bring the indoors out? Take a walk with family or friends, a shovel in hand, and collect anything that inspires you—fallen branches, rocks, or even photos of natural scenes.

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Use these collected items as your design guide. The photos can provide a color palette, while the natural items can serve as unique decorative pieces. A hollowed-out tree trunk or a perfectly shaped rock can become the centerpiece of your outdoor retreat, connecting you with the natural world around you.

Just add water

Water is essential to all life and a powerful environmental regulator. It’s no wonder ancient civilizations prized it highly. In your outdoor retreat, consider water your modern-day liquid gold.

Incorporate water features into your space for a tranquil and refreshing atmosphere. Whether it’s a simple fountain, a reflecting pool, or a rustic barrel filled with water, these elements will anchor your yard and create a soothing retreat.

By following these three easy steps—blending sustainability with relaxation, utilizing natural inspirations, and incorporating water—you can transform your outdoor space into a personal retreat without waiting for divine intervention. Enjoy more of that precious 7% outdoors, and live a healthier, more balanced life!

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