HOW TO ESTABLISH VISUAL CONNECTION WITH NATURE IN BUILT SPACES
“All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.” Marie Curie
Imagine coming home after a long and stressful day and opening your window wide to a meadow surrounded by a forest with a stream running through the center where the deers slake their thirst. Could you even remember how stressful your day was?
Researches reveal that seeing nature for at least 5-20 minutes is not only calming and stress-reducing but has a positive impact on our blood pressure, heart rate, mental attentiveness, reduces fatigue and improves our overall happiness.
Visual connection with nature is one of the 14 patterns of biophilic design developed by Terrapin Bright Green. It is defined as a view to elements of nature, living systems and natural processes. But how to establish this visual connection with nature within a built space?
If you are lucky to live in a place surrounded by nature, the most obvious way to establish the visual connection is through the outdoor view.
The most stimulating scenery is like the meadow described above: it has rich vegetation with food-bearing plants, a presence of animals and insects, naturally flowing water and fossils.
“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.“ Michael Pollan
In urbanized areas, our exposure to the natural landscape from inside our homes is limited. And while real nature is always the best experience, a simulated nature is much more beneficial than no nature at all. We can enjoy nature’s positive impact on our health by creating a nature mimicking environment in our garden, patio or balcony.
Quantity over quality, in particular, biodiversity over the acreage, is the key, so even a small balcony can be turned into a biophilic view.
Here are some tips and considerations to follow.
No matter if your space allows for an elaborate landscaping or adding potted plants, prefer incorporating greenery that reflects the ecology of the local environment.
If you live in a region with changing seasons, you might consider adding shrubs and plants that survive winters, such as Potted Blue Spruce or Winter Gem Boxwood.
Photo Credit: HGTV
To create biodiversity, you can grow flowers that attract birds and insects, such as coneflowers or daisies.
Photo Credit: Kathy Jentz in Patch
Fountains and artificial ponds
Mechanically powered water flow is a good option to mimic the naturally flowing water.
Credit: Harrisons Landscaping
Koi pond not only brings water element in the scenery but by being a fish habitat, it adds to the biodiversity of the outdoor view.
Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal
“A beautiful plant is like having a friend around the house.” Beth Ditto
The easiest way to establish a visual connection with nature inside our homes is by houseplants. Even a simple potted plant can make a huge difference, but there are other solutions, such as vertical gardens or framed herbariums, that would bring your space a step closer to nature.
Credit: Living Green Design
“All art is but imitation of nature.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Based on researches, even an artwork depicting nature scenes and animals can have similar positive effect on our health and well-being as seeing real nature.
“Aquariums, the source of life in a lifeless world.”
By bringing water and animal elements indoors, aquariums create biodiversity of the simulated nature in our space.
Photo Credit: Home Adore