States like Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia are known for extreme weather. In Virginia, for instance, hot, humid summers alternate with cold, snowy winters, so spending time outdoors can be a bit of a challenge. If you are running a business, however, you shouldn’t let the weather stop you from creating an ideal outdoor break area for your staff.
A 2020 study published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology showed that spending just 10 minutes in a green setting brings powerful benefits to human beings. It lowers their stress levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, and improves their focus.
Consider designing a beautiful outdoor spot for your employees as a magnificent way to increase their productivity and boost their mental health and wellbeing. You don’t have to have a huge budget to create attractive, calming spaces.
Bridging the Gap between the Indoors and Outdoors
Your employees may not enjoy being outdoors when the weather is at its most extreme. Therefore, it is vital to invest in a ‘connecting space’ between your office and your garden. A patio that is enclosed in sliding or folding glass doors is ideal, as the glass can be opened in the Spring and Fall on good days, and closed on hot, rainy, or snowy days.
Glass walls or doors will ensure that staff can still look out onto greenery, which in itself has been found to boost the mood and help quell stress, anxiety, and depression.
What to Include in Your Landscaping
Because the weather in zones like Richmond, Virginia changes significantly from season to season, relying on commercial landscaping for your lawn and plant choices is a great way to save costs in the long run. This is because expert landscapers in your area will have a good idea of plant hardiness zones. The US is generally divided into 11 zones, with each zone being 10 degrees warmer or cooler than the one next to it on the list.
Richmond, for instance, is officially part of zone 7A, which means that it favors perennials such as cornflowers, black eyed susans, sedum autumn joy, catmint, daylilies, slavia, and lamb’s ear. In addition to planting perennials, jazz up your office garden with annuals and even seasonal flowers, so that your staff has an ever-changing landscape to gaze at.
Furniture and Decorative Elements for Your Outdoor Zone
Your outdoor patio or garden area can include furniture that will encourage socialization among staff. Key pieces include a dining table or various small tables, benches, an outdoor grill area, and a fire pit for the winter. Even during the fall, staff can sit on the patio during breaks, with the help of natural gas, propane, infrared, or electric heaters.
The latter can be set up next to tables and other corners where staff are likely to sit and congregate. In the heat of the summer, it will be time to close up your glass doors and keep staff cool with outdoor cooling fans or cool mist systems.
Proximity to gardens and other green zones has been found to benefit human health in many ways. If you have an office, and you think your employees could benefit from a chill-out zone, invest in setting up a patio and garden area. Include a blend of perennial, annual and seasonal plants n your garden, set up attractive, comfortable furniture for employees to relax upon, and make sure that you provide cooling or heating, depending on the season.