Creating The Perfect Outdoor Space For Your Grounds

Did you know that being outside is really good for you? While we might seem to spend all of our time shut up behind walls these days, our species really does benefit from being out in nature. Spending time outdoors can reduce stress, boost your immune system, improve your mood and refocus your mind. So as a business owner, why would you not want all of those benefits for your team?

Not to mention that providing an unplugged, outdoor space on your grounds can help improve interpersonal relationships, increase creativity and productivity, build camaraderie and collaboration within teams, increase employee’s physical activity (reducing illness) and foster better social connections – all of which are very good for business!

So how do you achieve this? By using your grounds effectively to create a range of outdoor spaces for your employees to enjoy!

Creating Work-Smart Outdoor Spaces

Before you get too carried away with ideas for your commercial landscape, let’s talk practicalities. Because employees are likely to use this outdoor space for all sorts of reasons – working, meetings, calls, lunch breaks, or just taking 5 minutes out to relax and get in the zone before returning to work. This means you need to design your outdoor spaces to be work-smart wherever possible. A few things your employees will need include:

Flexible Seating Options: You should aim to provide a range of different seating options, and at least some should be moveable. Chairs, benches, tables, even giant beanbags. Have more seating and tables than you need so that people have options to sit alone or in different group sizes.

Wi-Fi Access: Make sure your internet is available and stable in your outdoor spaces, and easy for employees to access on tablets, laptops and phones. This way, the outdoor space can double as a place to take a break or have a productive breakout session.

Privacy: If you have a larger space, use your landscaping to create ‘rooms’ within the grounds. This gives your employees some privacy and allows you to block off quiet sitting areas from the high-traffic areas on your property. Bushy plants, hedges, trees, and trellises with climbing plants are all evergreen ways you can create soft sectioning in your grounds, and you can even invest in hardscape retaining walls to create a ‘courtyard’ effect closer to the building.

Power Outlets: This is only really relevant to areas close to the main building, but installing some outdoor power supplies really increases the flexibility of your outdoor space and allows employees to work in nature as long as they want or need.

Encouraging Employees To Get Outdoors

With those practicalities in mind, what are some of the best ways to design an outdoor space for your commercial grounds that your employees and customers will love, and will give you the boost you need? Here are a few ideas:

  • Patio areas: One of the more popular options for commercial outdoor spaces is a patio gathering space. This is typically a hardscaped area with flexible seating and climbing plants on trellises to provide screening, where employees can go to eat, to work alone, or meet to have discussions or work on projects while surrounded by trees, plants and the open air. You could position this patio area right by your cafeteria, to provide convenience and encourage employees to go outside during the day, or you could create a more secluded space by positioning it slightly further away and connecting it with a walkway, adding privacy and a sense of separation.
  • Walking trails: If you’re looking for ways to encourage employees to exercise during the workday (which has also been proven to be beneficial to productivity and overall mental & physical health), then a walking trail that winds its way through your property could be just the thing. Employees can take a relaxing stroll or a light jog, release some endorphins and boost their mood. You’ll need to ensure this area is clearly defined and free of hazards, and has some spots along the way to rest or just sit and take in the view.
  • Hidden gardens: Another option is to create multiple ‘hidden’ garden spaces throughout your grounds. By creating multiple, scattered areas for employees to work or relax you are giving them more privacy, more options depending on their need or mood, and a more flexible space for other functions you may need – like a company BBQ! Use hedges, flowerbeds, trees and patios to define the areas and create a cosy, cottage garden like feeling that can boost mood and productivity while promoting employee wellbeing.

 

Of course, once you have this fantastic new space, you’ll need to maintain it. Even basic grassland grounds require regular maintenance in order to keep healthy and look attractive, and if you plan to use your grounds as an extension of your offices then you definitely need to give them some attention.

That’s where we can help. At Pod Landscapes, we specialise in the ongoing maintenance of commercial outdoor spaces, from hotels to office blocks and even business parks. Our team of experts can put together a maintenance plan that fits your business and your budget so that you can have immaculate looking grounds all year round. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with the team today for your free, no-strings-attached consultation.

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