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The Transformative Power of Outdoor Living

The benefits of being outside and nature’s impact on mental health
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On a global scale, the last few years have influenced many of us to reevaluate how and where we spend our time. Today, individuals are placing more and more value on spending time outdoors as a way to recalibrate their minds and connect with nature. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a 20% increase in outdoor recreation among adults in the U.S. on a monthly basis. In fact, the growing popularity of outdoor living has helped us learn more about how spending quality time outside boosts mental and physical health, enhancing overall well-being. In short, outdoor living can be truly transformative — from the inside out.

The Modern Outdoor Living Movement

As we move our work, leisure, and family time into outdoor spaces, our indoor luxuries come with us. Homeowners and builders are discovering adaptive ways to bring many amenities and conveniences from inside the home to the great outdoors, such as entertaining spaces, outdoor living rooms, outdoor kitchens, patio dining rooms, outdoor bars, and bar seating. The growing demand for well-designed, functional, and comfortable outdoor spaces has never been greater. To get an idea of how you can bring your most beloved luxuries outdoors, use Belgard Rooms — featuring 100+ pre-designed plans — to better visualize the best version of your ideal outdoor space.

The Connection Between Nature and Well-Being

It’s no surprise that spending time in nature is good for us. But we’re still learning so much more about the nuanced dimensions of how exposure to natural elements reduces stress, anxiety, and improves mood. When it comes to building outdoor spaces for ourselves that harness the power of nature, many backyard contractors and patio builders are turning to biophilic design —  which incorporates natural elements into built environments. Biophilic design has been shown to improve focus, creativity, and productivity. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Oregon found that employees working in spaces with natural elements reported a 15% higher level of well-being.

Physical Health Benefits of Outdoor Living

Whether you’re actively engaging in outdoor activities that get the blood moving, or passively working outside on the patio, the physical benefits of being outside are immeasurable. Sunlight exposure is a natural source of vitamin D, which is important for bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health highlighted that adequate vitamin D levels are associated with a reduced risk of depression.

When it comes to movement, regular physical activity can improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and help maintain a healthy weight. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, preferably outdoors. A 2019 study found that spending 120 minutes outside each week — which can be broken up into smaller blocks of time — was associated with better health and well-being. And another study from 2021 revealed that just 30 minutes of outdoor time could lower blood pressure by almost 10%.

Mental and Emotional Wellness

Spending time outside can reset your mood and your mind — providing a sense of escape from your daily routine. Natural environments can have a calming effect on mental and emotional states, so creating our own outdoor spaces for meditation and mindfulness can reduce mental fatigue and help us recharge. Even subconsciously we can learn this at an early age, and then practice it throughout adulthood.

Social Connections and Community Building

Participating in outdoor social gatherings as a child can have a major positive impact on how you develop socially — sharing experiences and fostering connections. Outdoor spaces facilitate social interaction and community engagement, which are vital for mental and emotional well-being. According to an article from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), well-designed outdoor spaces encourage people to spend more time outdoors, leading to increased social connections. Less green space in people's living environments has been found to coincide with feelings of loneliness and perceived shortage of social support, so even simply being outside your home with friends in a green space can be beneficial.

Designing Functional Outdoor Living Spaces

Bringing our indoor comforts outdoors can be an exciting way to enhance our favorite experiences.

Patio Designs

Patio Dining

Our earliest human communal experiences are deeply connected to shared outdoor meals. Creating a space to eat among family and friends satisfies that innate human desire to connect both with nature and community. Check out some of Belgard’s most inspiring patio designs.

Fire Pits

Fire Pits & Outdoor Fireplaces

This is where we settle in, share stories, and find the sense of grounding we’ve been searching for. Belgard's fire pits and outdoor fireplaces can spark unforgettable evenings.

Outdoor Kitchens

Preparing and sharing meals in a natural setting can spark pure joy, and creating a modern outdoor cooking space can bring new dimensions to your gatherings. Plus, mastering outdoor cooking techniques is a great way to boost your sense of achievement. Add essential finishing touches and enhance the functionality of your outdoor kitchen with Belgard Elements™.

Outdoor Living Rooms

Outdoor Living Rooms

Whether you’re catching some rays or lounging under the stars, outdoor living rooms can easily become the favorite part of your home.

Creative Spaces

Creative Spaces

The only limit to your outdoor space is your imagination. Belgard can create stunning creative outdoor spaces perfect for recreation: life-size chess boards, putting greens, bocce courts, basketball courts, water features, and so much more.

Pool Decks


Belgard pavers are an ideal alternative to the traditional concrete pool deck. Create the pool deck  paradise of your dreams with the perfect pavers — providing gorgeous, durable and easy-to-maintain finishes.

Designing for Sustainability

Incorporating sustainable practices into outdoor design has become a cornerstone of the industry, and building at-large. Deploying eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient features can have hugely positive impacts on the planet, and the structure itself. Develop your outdoor space in harmony with nature through the use of biophilic products throughout the design. Belgard Permeable Pavers can help you practice sustainability at home by recharging local groundwater supplies, maintaining base flows in rivers that ensure streams and ecosystems are self-sustaining, and serving as a filter to offer improved water quality. A permeable system can also be designed to harvest and recycle rainwater.

Embrace the Outdoors for a Healthier Life

At a time when we’re more connected digitally than ever, outdoor living is becoming quite an essential part of our basic needs. Creating spaces, rituals, and moments outdoors can help us lead healthier lives, mentally and physically. Take an active role in your personal wellness by exploring the benefits of outdoor living, and make conscious efforts to connect with nature.

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