Corporate health is an important discussion point of today – more and more companies start taking it seriously. It’s for a good reason - employees are much more likely to work effectively and remain in the company longer if their well-being is respected and taken into consideration. Interestingly, a great part of current innovations related to corporate well-being concerns outdoor amenities. Here are 7 possible improvements in that area and how they can help you have (and keep) the happiest employees around.
Do you know the feeling you get when you’re in nature? You feel calm, relaxed and mundane worries are so far away they seem to belong to someone else? Yes, nature tends to have this effect on most of us, including people working in an office. That’s where a living wall could come in! It may not have the exact same effect of lazing in the meadow, but it still can be a great improvement in corporate well-being. Besides, more plants mean cleaner air which is extremely important for brain activity.
A place for quality relaxation
If you were to invest in one new outdoor amenity, that should be an outdoor patio. It offers endless possibilities to create a perfect space for relaxation – you can install a lounging area, game tables or even a fire pit if you want to take that nature vibe a step further. Some go as far as building an actual pool. Whatever you do, a furnished rooftop patio is a stellar addition to the office space that will tell employees their well-being matters and make the office much more pleasant to be in.
An outdoor work station
Despite what the traditional approach suggests, the office isn’t always the best place to work in. Imagine – it’s summer, the sun is shining brightly in a crystal clear sky. There are two options: either everyone in the office spends the day dreaming about being outside or has a real opportunity to do so. Which one is more productive? Whether it’s utilizing the patio or the area outside the building, a place where people could work, including comfortable desks, Wi-Fi and power outlets can be a perfect idea to boost corporate health and increase the work efficiency.
An escape from the office
Changing the environment can be all that’s needed for an extra burst of inspiration. If you have a chance, take the idea of an outside workspace up a notch and build a pop-up hut or even an actual tree house (looking at you, Microsoft!). The major benefits of such spaces for employee satisfaction and corporate well-being come in the form of reduced stress, improved creativity, concentration and heightened morale.
Better engagement with clients
Another cool way to enhance work enjoyment is building a giant screen outside so that the virtual meetings with clients could be hosted there. It’s an extension of the previous points about working outside and therefore shares all the same benefits that can make the meetings more productive and engaging. However, it’s also an excellent way to show your clients that your company takes corporate well-being seriously and initiates a real change to improve the office environment.
Installing an outdoor bar (or a snack station) can be a nice touch. A snack or a refreshing drink could come in handy during the moment of quality relaxation or fuel a productive work session. It could also elevate the informal team meetings (which could easily happen outside too) from okay to incredible. Having some nutritious snacks might encourage employees to go for healthier snacking options more often – a great step for improving corporate health.
An activity section
If you have a broader landscape to use, it would be a shame to miss out on designing a space to improve employee fitness. There’s a whole variety of options, from a proper functional training setup to a walking track or a yoga/meditation area. The advantages of exercise are huge for both physical and mental health: it improves concentration, increases energy, makes you happier and stronger. Happy and healthy employees are what makes a successful business and that’s the goal to achieve.
By now we all have become aware that water is a scarce resource and we should do our best to use it responsibly. The current landscape design trends also reflect this understanding as more sustainable alternatives are gaining momentum - a greener home begins with a greener yard (and not just literally). An easy, but very significant step you can take is implementing water conservation practices in your own home - here are some tips on how to do it.
1. Collect rainwater
Rainwater harvesting is the term describing collecting and keeping rainwater that you can use in your household and in the garden. Rainwater harvesting tanks storing the rainwater from your roof are simple to install and can fit in houses of any size. It may be among the easiest ways to save water, yet a great improvement in sustainability and relief for your water bill. Who would say no to that?
2. Group plants according to their water needs
You probably know that different plants have different needs for watering amount and frequency (if not, you really should - that makes a world of difference in their life span). By considering this when choosing their location, you can avoid over watering, which means you'll save more water and your plants will thank you. Besides, gardening will become easier as you won’t have to remember the demands of each one. That being said...
3. Get native and drought-resistant plants
Reorganizing your plants will help you save some water, sure, but choosing the ones that don’t need much in the first place will have a greater impact. Native plants have evolved to adapt to a particular area over many years, so they require significantly less care. Plants in their natural habitat also create a favorable environment to attract bees, birds and butterflies contributing to a healthy ecosystem. One way to achieve it is by keeping a wild garden, but if you’re into a neater landscape, there are plenty of vibrant local plants to choose from.
4. Limit the turf surface
Turf is among the most problematic parts of your landscape for water conservation, so if you take steps to reduce it, your effort will pay off. Having a perfect uniform lawn can be nice, unfortunately, maintaining it requires a huge amount of water. Regarding sustainability, you’ll be much better off by partially replacing the lawn with hardscape or drought-resistant plants.
5. Change the irrigation method
Along with rethinking the space devoted to the lawn, you may also want to reconsider irrigation methods. The process generally uses up a lot of water, but it’s not always efficient. The typical spray irrigation isn't effective in keeping the soil hydrated (especially for the plants in plant beds) and a lot of water is used in the meantime. Choose drip irrigation that distributes water directly at the roots instead to enjoy a sustainable and thriving garden.
6. Utilize mulch
Mulch minimizes the amount of water evaporating from the soil, maintains its temperature at a stable level, prevents weeds from growing and adds various nutrients. If any material was worthy of the “star of the garden” title, mulch would be it. You should place it on top of the plants’ roots, however, avoid putting it too close to the stem. A pro-tip: choose coarser mulch varieties so water can easily reach the soil.
7. Pick the path materials wisely
Bricks may not be the first object that comes to your mind when thinking about landscape design, but crushed bricks, pea gravel or decomposed granite can be ideal hardscape materials. When placed on an absorbent surface, like sand, they allow water to seep into the soil, decreasing water runoff and contributing to water conservation. Also, paths formed from these materials hardly ever get muddy and are very comfortable to walk on.
Spring is finally upon us, which means the weather is nice enough to bring your life outdoors. You want to enjoy it to the fullest, savoring every bit of warmth, creating memories with your friends & family, having some relaxing moments to yourself. The way your outdoor space is utilized plays a key role in making that happen – landscape design needs as much attention as the interior of the house. If you’d like to take yours to the next level, check out the latest trends in outdoor living.
1. Outdoor kitchens
An outdoor kitchen has been among top outdoor living trends for quite some time and isn’t about to give up the position. That may be for a good reason – it ensures you’ll never have to be stuck cooking dinner inside the house while your guests are enjoying the evening sun. Also, there are tons of options to choose from. Do you want it to be stone or wood? Would you like to add a fridge, a pizza oven, a dishwasher? These are only some of the appliances built into the outdoor kitchens nowadays. If you prefer going after the most recent innovations, you can even install voice-controlled devices such as smart grill controllable through your phone or voice commands. The popularity of outdoor kitchens reflects the trend of making your outdoor space livable by treating it as an extension of your home.
That leads us to the next trend…
2. Blending spaces
It is becoming more and more common to merge your interior and exterior design. It can be done in pretty simple ways – like using the same décor or the same flooring material. But it’s also possible to take it up a notch – you can install walls that open up or large sliding glass doors that leave a wide entrance to the terrace. You can also extend the ceiling to the outside in a straight, continuous line to form a patio. It will create a sense of consistency, besides, it will provide pleasant shade for you to sip your morning coffee in on a hot day and protection from rainy, snowy weather.
3. Edible gardens
House gardens aren’t about to lose their popularity – on the contrary, they continue to secure their place in our backyards. While the idea of growing a garden has been there for ages (literally), this landscape design trend still feels fresh. Thoughtfully combined herbs, vegetables and other plants can create beautiful ornaments that will revitalize your outdoor space. At the same time, you’ll have a variety of ingredients on hand and will always have joy of knowing where your food is coming from.
4. Sustainable Design
Growing an edible garden isn’t the only way to make your outdoor space greener. Moving towards simple, durable, ethically sourced materials is a change taking place in all aspects our lives and landscape isn’t an exception. More and more people are looking for sustainable design alternatives that allow them to utilize their outdoor space making it both nice and practical. A popular option is creating absorbent surfaces to capture rainwater by using materials like mulch, gravel or crushed bricks. You can also try to incorporate recycled materials into any of your landscape projects.
5. Outdoor Fire Pits
Another outdoor living trend that has been on the rise in 2019 is fire pits. These are a great choice for several reasons. They are just as useful as they are pretty – you can stay warm on the chilly evenings or gather some friends to toast marshmallows together if you feel like it. They’re also incredibly versatile. Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes, so they will fit in any space, besides, there’re endless styles to choose from, so you can easily find one that perfectly matches your exterior design.