Adventures For Hopi

Enhancing Your Outdoor Space: Tips for a Beautiful and Functional Yard

The Outdoors Yard is a Place for Entertaining, Relaxing, and Strengthening Family Bonds

The outdoors yard is a place for entertaining, relaxing, and strengthening family bonds. An organized outdoor space is also conducive to health and wellbeing.

In a recent study, children’s home outdoor spaces were linked to positive outcomes such as healthy eating and physical activity. Including a wide variety of plants and other natural elements in your yard is one way to make it a sensory retreat.

Plants and Shrubs

With their lush green foliage and bright flowers, shrubs can add color and interest to your landscape. They can be used to create borders, fill in shady areas, groundcover on slopes, and more. They’re also a great addition to flower beds.

When choosing a shrub, look for a variety that will grow well in your conditions. Consider things like the shrub’s hardiness (how cold-tolerant it is), if it is evergreen, whether or not it is weeping, its size, and its habit.

For example, moss phlox is a low-maintenance shrub that looks good in full sun. It produces loads of flowers in the spring and turns vivid shades of red and bronze in fall. Or try ilex, commonly known as holly, for a shrub that’s both evergreen and carefree. It makes a beautiful alternative to traditional hedge plants and can be pruned into a living fence. Ilex also resists deer, so it’s a great option for those with a large yard.

Pergola or Arbor

Arbors and pergolas are a beautiful addition to any garden area. While they both provide a cover for your outdoor space, they differ in many ways. If you’re considering adding an arbor or pergola, it’s important to zero-in on your specific needs and goals to help you determine which structure is best for your garden.

An arbor is a freestanding structure that serves as an entrance to a garden or path, and often features climbing plants such as morning glories and jasmine. These add a vibrant touch of green, color, and texture to the space.

An arbor can also act as a small shelter for a bench or seating area. They’re usually tucked into a garden or off a path, and feature an arched roof made of beams or lattice work. Arbors are similar to trellis structures, but they typically have more of an open design and can be a little more structured than a trellis.


When a drought ravaged Lionel Smith’s garden, the grass shriveled up and flowering weeds took over. He thought it looked beautiful, but his father demanded he mow the flowers down. So he did. He went on to earn a master’s degree in horticulture and now spends most of his time creating a “lawn” that doesn’t have a single blade of grass.

A grass alternative called a xeriscape requires less water than a traditional lawn. It uses a variety of plants that thrive in the local climate and are low-growing to keep out weeds. It also includes shrubs and trees that add color and texture to the landscape. A xeriscape is more attractive than a desert-adapted yard and can cut outdoor water use by 50 percent or more. It’s best to water early in the day, as it helps prevent disease and promotes faster evaporation. This limits unwanted runoff or overspray that can damage paint, walls, or asphalt surfaces.

Patio or Pool Area

A pool patio expands the use of a backyard or garden. It offers a spot for people to sit and relax when they are not swimming, cooking, or entertaining guests who might otherwise trample the lawn.

Patio options vary in size and materials, with pavers and stone being popular choices. The exact material may depend on the style of the pool area and the home’s architecture. Porcelain tiles are stain resistant and have a sleek finish that can look like natural stone.

To make a garden feel more inviting around the pool, consider mixing different types of planting. Here, a shady pavilion and easy-care perennial beds flank the stairs leading to the pool. The mix of white foxgloves, digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmatian White’ and meadow cranesbill create more atmosphere than just grass would. In addition, a few low evergreen shrubs and clumping grasses add structure to the planting.

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Adventures For Hopi

Unlocking the Benefits of Outdoor Activities

I’d MuchRather Be Outside

Getting outside to enjoy the sunshine has a lot of health benefits. Even a short trip to a wooded area or neighborhood park will do the trick.

Adding outdoor time into your schedule can improve self-esteem, help set sleep cycles and even boost creativity. But why are outdoor activities so beneficial?

1. Breathing Fresh Air

Whether it’s a quick stroll around the neighborhood or a hiking trail you haven’t been on, getting outside and breathing in the fresh air can be beneficial for your body. In fact, spending time in nature has been shown to elevate mood and improve mental clarity.

When you’re indoors, the air tends to have a suboptimal balance of oxygen and nitrogen and is often filled with pollution. When you’re outdoors, the lungs naturally take in more oxygen which causes the blood vessels to dilate and improves the cleansing and tissue repair processes within the lungs.

Additionally, breathing clean air on a regular basis can help strengthen your immune system to fight off germs. In contrast, stale and dirty air can actually lead to sickness.

3. Connecting with Nature

Spending time outside can be a powerful way to connect with nature. By engaging all five of your senses (seeing, hearing, smelling and touching) you can really connect with the natural world around you.

This connection to the natural environment can lead to a number of benefits including reduced stress, improved mood and mental well-being and boosted concentration and self-discipline. It can also reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.

You don’t have to be in the deepest & most secluded wilderness to experience these benefits, just getting out into your local park or even your garden can be enough. Getting involved in gardening, bird watching, walking and home workout routines are all great ways to connect with the natural world and reap the health benefits!

4. Developing Your Creativity

Whether it’s finding new options for achieving your goals or helping you see existing opportunities that have gone unnoticed, creative thinking can be extremely powerful. So, don’t forget to allow yourself time for creativity on a regular basis!

Some people may find it best to do this in solitude as many forms of creativity require the incubation period, where the brain is allowed to wander to far flung corners. In fact, a recent study found that those who were tested for creativity before and after a wilderness trip performed about 50 percent better on the tests than those who were tested prior to the trip.

Make it part of your routine to take some time to indulge in an activity that is creative in nature. It will help you strengthen your creativity when it is needed most!

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