Many homeowners depend on outdoor areas to provide an extension of living space, a peaceful retreat, a connection to nature, and now – a place to work.
This article was originally published by Allwork.Space.
The pandemic thrust us into a new reality, and the outdoors had a starring role. Yards, gardens and other managed landscapes became a safe haven for remote and hybrid workers. Backyarding became a way of life as lawns, gardens, patios and decks evolved into outdoor offices, classrooms, and family gathering places.
Although there has been a huge pushback against remote working lately (mainly from employers), many workers will be able to continue to work from home well into the future, making the option to work outdoors worth exploring.
Being outside can increase concentration and productivity, as well as reduce stress and help us think more clearly.
If you are going to work from home all or part of the week, it’s recommended that you have a designated home office with everything you need to allow you to be productive and stay connected. Convenience and comfort are also necessities, and it does not hurt if your office is somewhere that you enjoy spending time (such as outdoors, if the weather permits).
“While makeshift workstations at the dining table or couch got us through the past few years, 2022 is the year of the outdoor home office. An outdoor workspace allows you to carve out a spot for work without taking up valuable indoor space,” according to Elevated Living.
According to a new poll commissioned by the TurfMutt Foundation and conducted online by The Harris Poll, the outdoor office trend is here to stay, as many Americans are using their yards as makeshift offices for their jobs.
Statistics show that nearly 2 in 5 Americans who have a yard (58%) say they have spent time doing work for their job in their yard during the pandemic.
6 Ways to Set Up Your Backyard for Work
- Create activity zones. Consider what needs to happen in the backyard and map activity areas. A shady table can double as a home office, study zone, art table, or dining spot. A hammock or outdoor sofa can suffice for napping, reading or studying. A patch of grass is perfect for sports, family games and play.A fire pit offers cozy chairs for star-gazing and socializing, while a grill near a seating area promises delicious meals. A wall or fence may hold an outdoor movie screen for nighttime viewing. A vegetable or herb garden helps kids learn about science and nutrition while reaping the satisfaction of growing food for the table.
- Factor functionality with purpose. Is there a quiet spot for conference calls? Or a shady spot that minimizes glare for online video meetings? Note the location of electrical outlets, and if an outdoor-rated extension cord will be needed to accommodate all of the electronics that may be used outside. Check Wi-Fi coverage and cell service in the yard and determine if there is enough comfortable seating.
- Spruce up existing landscaping. Assess the backyard and do some basic cleaning up, such as fixing bare patches in the grass, using a leaf blower to clean out flower beds, and pruning bushes and trees. You could cut the grass to a healthy height, add a fresh layer of mulch around your trees and in flower beds, freshen up by weeding, planting flower beds, and filling pots with colorful flowers and verdant plants.
- Use plants and shrubs to hide unsightly items and control noise. Trees, shrubs and bushes offer cover from neighbors and deliver shade, camouflage unsightly pool equipment and AC units, and control noise. Planters with flowers between seating and eating areas on a patio add visual interest and privacy as well. Shrubs and tall plants are a terrific privacy-creator (and also aid in noise reduction for conference calls).
- Put the right plant in the right place. Choosing the right plants for the climate zone and for your lifestyle will create a backyard space that is attractive. It will also be easier to maintain, and support pollinators and wildlife. Consider watering and sunlight or shade needs for any plants added.A hardy grass variety is more likely to hold up to pets and kids. Save delicate flowering plants for patio containers, and be sure to check out the ASPCA list of toxic plants to keep pets safe.
Invite the outdoors in. Blending interior and outdoor living spaces helps the backyard feel like an extension of the home. Open blinds and curtains to the yard. Use complementary indoor and outdoor décor in similar colors, materials and styles to create a cohesive space; this enables everyone to transition seamlessly from indoor life to outdoor living.