Designing Outdoor Spaces

Designing Outdoor Space

During Covid, the demand for outdoor activities increased tremendously. Restaurants made makeshift dining patios, national parks saw record numbers of visitors, and offices created outdoor space for their employee’s enjoyment. In a post-Covid world, the demand for permanent outdoor space only continues to grow. Architects are now focusing on designing larger and more functional outdoor spaces for both commercial and residential properties.

Access to outdoor living and social space improves biophilia, which describes the positive feelings we have when connected to nature. During Covid, people were forced to find activities to do outdoors. But now, many people prefer being outdoors as much as possible and are looking for options at both home and in public places. Since the end of 2020, the demand for functional and furnished terraces of restaurants and bars, multifamily residences, and hotels has skyrocketed.

According to Mark K. Morrison, the President and CEO of MKM, a landscape architecture firm based in Rochelle NY, he is seeing an increased demand for flexible spaces in education, recently outfitting a school with additional spaces for socially distanced learning. Features like picnic tables for outdoor classrooms and amphitheaters with widely spaced seating, shady groves and synthetic turf fields that can be used for athletic OR social events are now requirements instead of just nice-to-haves.

Another major focus for MKM has been the implementation of community gardens where plant beds and the spaces between them are large enough to accommodate groups. While small herb and vegetable gardens have been trending for years, with Covid, there has been an even larger uptick. People are now searching for more ways to be sustainable, save money and improve health along with looking for a reason to leave their homes in a safe way, and urban community gardens check all those boxes.

Stoss Landscape Urbanism, a design firm founded in Boston, has started embedding social-distancing guidelines in their designs. On one of their projects, a 2.5 mile stretch of waterfront in Canada, they experimented with designs that created differing levels of linear pathways: two or three tracks of different width and size so they could accommodate multiple streams of people simultaneously and safely.

JL is currently working on a design for a permanent roof structure over an existing outdoor dining space at a local golf club. Their patrons will be able to comfortably enjoy outdoor dining even in inclement weather. Have an outdoor concept in mind for your property? We can help bring your concept to fruition; just give us a call!