biophilic moodboards: outdoor views
in biophilic moodboards
Connecting people with nature is one of the main objectives of a biophilic approach to design. In this episode of Biophilic Moodboards we’ll focus on visual connection with nature, exploring one of the main ways to achieve it in interiors: outdoor views.
outdoor views and wellbeing
Being able to look outdoors and into nature has been shown* to lower stress levels, improve concentration, and provide an overall sense of happiness.
If nature can also be touched, smelled and heard stimulating our more ancestral senses, the experience will become even more engaging and the benefits will be amplified.
designing for outdoor views
Views break the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. And if there’s a natural scene outdoors, looking out will make nature part of everyday life, which is not obvious especially when living in the city.
To make the most of outdoor views, it’s important to consider them as part of the design. This will translate into different design strategies, such as preferring big windows, orienting the layout to frame the view, and creating indoor-outdoor living spaces.
creating an outdoor view
Not all interiors have access to a view onto nature. But when not available, a biophilic view can also be created.
Any balcony, patio, garden and window sill can be turned into some sort of biophilic view. Greenery, water features, and other natural elements can be combined to create a rich and engaging landscape to look at. The same applies to internal courtyards, which carve a corner for nature right in the middle of a building. Other examples are green buildings, which take the concept of creating a biophilic view to a wider level. Buildings that host plants in their structure create a view to enjoy from the interior and serve the entire neighbourhood adding a rich and healthy design feature.
When crafting an outdoor view, quality is more important than quantity. It has been proven* that the diversity and variability in the view are more important than its actual size. So any small balcony can make a big difference if it welcomes a variety of natural elements.
the importance of native plants
Whenever choosing plants for the outdoors, it’s important to prefer native species.
From a biophilic perspective, this will help set a closer connection to the surroundings, giving a more authentic identity to the space. But native plants also make sense for environmental reasons. Any outdoor plant interacts with the environment in one way or another. All plants attract wildlife and – if planted directly in the soil – they also influence its delicate composition. In short, native plants strengthen the local ecosystem and – on a global level – they help promote biodiversity.
- Brown, D.K., Barton J.L., Gladwell V.F. (2013). Viewing Nature Scenes Positively Affects Recovery of Autonomic Function Following Acute-Mental Stress. Environmental Science & Technology, 47, 5562-5569
- Van den Berg, A.E., Hartig T., Staats H. (2007). Preference for Nature in Urbanized Societies: Stress, Restoration, and the Pursuit of Sustainability. Journal of Social Issues., 63 (1), 79-96.
- Biederman, I., Vessel E. (2006). Perceptual Pleasure & the Brain. American Scientist, 94(1), 249-255
- Barton, J. & J. Pretty (2010). What Is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health. Environmental Science & Technology, 44, 3947–3955.
- Fuller R.A., Irvine K.N., Devine-Wright P., Warren P.H., Gaston K.J. (2007). Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity., 3Biol. Lett.
- Vogt B. A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future. New Society Publishers.
- The 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design is a framework conceptualized by Terrapin Bright Green