Vanessa Gardner Nagel chirps about garden design

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BEING Outdoors

Outdoor dining at winery and fabulous garden of Chateau do Val Joanis

Outdoor dining at winery and fabulous garden of Chateau do Val Joanis

Whenever I see yet another article on outdoor living, my mind wanders back to the week I spent in Provence during June 2004 with my daughter. We did everything except sleep, shower and pee outdoors. With our window wide open at night, we heard a musical spill of water from a very close canal, so even sleeping felt like we were outdoors. It was magical.

The cottage where we slept, right outside the gravel terrace where we always breakfasted in Eygalières, France.

The cottage where we slept, right outside the gravel terrace where we always breakfasted in Eygalières, France.

This experience taught me the importance of BEING outdoors to the greatest extent possible.  Connecting with nature makes us more sensitive to how we fit in on this planet plus it improves so much about who we are as individual human beings. Do I have scientific proof of this? Can we measure IT? If so, what do we measure? Do we take exit surveys when we leave a garden? How satisfying was our experience on a scale of from one to ten?

Satisfaction at seeing Jardin de l'Alchimiste was very high indeed!

Satisfaction at seeing Jardin de l’Alchimiste was very high indeed!

I have had a few clients (very few) that have aversions to being in some outdoor spaces because they have a fear of bugs, especially spiders. Fear is something to overcome, not used as an excuse to limit our experiences. Nature is a place to engage with life. I feel blessed to have a large garden in which to wander and a wild ravine to observe from inside and outside. During the summer when we can have morning tea, dinner in the evening, or even a brief lunch midday as a work break on our patio, it calms my state of being. It limits the adrenaline rush on those hectic days with a deadline to meet. (Maybe we can measure adrenaline levels?)

All I can say is use whatever space you have available to embrace nature. Create spaces to sit, lie down, dine, play, workout, and even take a shower in your yard. Create a garden that entices you to be outside…even in the winter…to investigate what’s new and pique your curiosity. It can take you back to one magical outdoor experience and also create new ones.

Our typical breakfast still brings back vivid memories. C'est magnifique!

Our typical breakfast still brings back vivid memories. C’est magnifique!

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2 Responses to BEING Outdoors
  1. Grace Peterson
    June 17, 2014 | 1:24 pm

    I really like this sentence: “Fear is something to overcome, not used as an excuse to limit our experiences. Nature is a place to engage with life.” For many years I was ruled by fear, however, I’m grateful that fear of the outdoors was never one of them. On the contrary, nature was my refuge and sanctuary. I believe, like you, we all do much better when we get in touch with the serenity of the great outdoors. Excellent post.

  2. admin
    June 18, 2014 | 6:44 pm

    Thanks, Grace. I think we have some family history in common which is why we value our gardens so much.

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