Places and spaces that make us feel relaxed and happy usually provide pleasant sensory experiences – the two go hand-in-hand. Think about the aroma in your favourite coffee shop, the soft sheets on your bed, a stunning view from your hotel balcony, the sound of the surf washing up the beach, the delicious flavour of your favourite ice cream! We can enjoy so many wonderful things, so why not bring these subtle layers into your space to soothe your senses and create the perfect haven for relaxing by yourself (what a treat!) or with friends and family. Take a look below for some ideas…
Sight: Choose comfy furniture pieces that welcome you and your guests to sit back and enjoy the view. And if the view is less than lovely, try turning the seating to face the house or a water feature, or around a fire. You could also add climbing vines, screens or drapes to your porch or pergola to create shade and privacy. Pick colours and shapes that you love to look at – a riot of coloured annuals, a palette of green leafy shrubs, or sculptural boulders and grasses. And when the sun goes down, a little lighting can make a big difference in highlighting trees, planting, or pathways or hanging over a seating area to set the mood for conversations long into the evening!
Sound: Music is key for ambiance, especially when entertaining, and there are so many options now for outdoor wireless speakers and music apps like Google Music or Spotify that provide playlists for you. One less thing to do when you’re getting ready for guests! You can also add soothing natural sounds to your space with a bubbling water feature, tinkling wind chimes or by putting in a bird feeder to attract happy bird noises!
Scent: Scents have a powerful ability to transport us and evoke feelings and memories of people or places. If you are cooking up a feast for your guests then that will certainly smell delicious, but you can also add fragrances to your outdoor space by planting fresh herbs, scented flowers or by mowing the lawn – fresh cut grass is a quintessential summertime aroma!
Touch: Sinking into a porch swing or rocking chair is that much more inviting when they feel good; soft fabrics, comfortable shapes and lots of cushions for lounging! Surfaces that get too hot or are unpleasant to walk on can be remedied with outdoor rugs or an umbrella or pergola to create shade. And have a few cozy throws on hand so you don’t have to rush back in when the sun goes down!
Taste: This one is the easiest! Morning coffee at a balcony bistro table, cold lemonade on a picnic blanket, or a full barbecue feast served up on the patio – food just tastes better outside! It doesn’t have to be complex or fancy either, sometimes the simple things are the most delicious and then you have more time to relax and visit with your guests!