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Archive for September, 2012

Custom Deck – Design to Enjoy your Own Backyard

Custom Deck – Design to Enjoy your Own Backyard

On a rare warm afternoon in San Francisco you can see multitudes of people gathered in local parks, at the beach, at Fishermen’s wharf, or on the piers at the Embarcadero. Public parks and plazas are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. But, perhaps you are one of the lucky few in this city who can enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of their own backyard, from a custom deck or custom patio outdoor space.

We take pride in our city and our neighborhoods by investing in the quality of public amenities and green spaces. We are quick to take advantage of exploring the variety of places and events San Francisco has to offer, but seldom do people take full advantage of their own place of solace and comfort: their home.

I believe that we are shaped by our built environment as much as we shape it. Spending time outdoors is an important, and often ignored, factor of our mental health – a fact I was reminded of recently when reading an article called “Spending Time in Nature for Your Health – How Outdoor Activities Improve Wellbeing.”  In the piece, Dr. Susanne Preston, a Clinical Mental Health Counseling instructor at South University, Virginia Beach states “Research has shown that spending time in nature has been associated with decreased levels of mental illness, with the strongest links to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, in addition to increased self esteem… Spending time outdoors is also linked to positive effects on physical health.” With hectic schedules and an endless list of household chores, it might not always be possible to get out and hike Mount Tamalpais, or take a jog through Golden Gate Park. But it is possible to use your own backyard to facilitate healthy outdoor activity and provide a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Build Your Outdoor Space

Consider the installation of a new deck or patio. This may seem like a splurge you just cannot afford right now, but consider what it can add to the value of your home. Your Outdoor space can function as an extension of your living space. Putting a few dollars into capital improvements could prove more satisfying to you than buying the latest and greatest electronic gadget you’ve been eyeing.

Try creating various levels and/or designating activity zones. Is there something you enjoy doing, something you frequently find yourself doing inside? Find a way to do it outdoors. A table for playing cards, a zen garden to do yoga in, perhaps even a small outdoor kitchen.

If you search the Internet, you can find hundreds of suggestions on how to upgrade your backyard, ranging from simple and inexpensive DIY projects to million dollar landscapes. Good design, in my opinion, is a blend of aesthetic appeal and functionality. A backyard that
looks like a picture out of Better Homes & Gardens might not necessarily be best suited to your enjoyment of your outdoor space.

 Check out Dwell Magazine’s Seven Great Outdoor Spaces of 2012:

Church Residence. Michigan City, IN.Jeff Sherman. Brooklyn, NY.

  About the Author

Lauren R Jordan is a Junior Architectural Designer at Ashbury General Contracting & Engineering, a design-build company located in San Francisco, CA.