No one likes to sit inside an office the whole day when there’s beautiful weather outdoors. And with fall starting to make its way to the Atlanta area, tenants and employees are going to want to get out and enjoy the cooler temperatures.
You can give them the perfect space to relax outdoors by installing a patio at your office building. Not only will it help boost morale and keep people on site, but the patio can also become a meeting spot and create curb appeal for your property.
This outdoor space can be a real selling point for people who like a change of scenery during the day or just want to enjoy lunch outside, instead of at their desk or in a break room.
With the pressure to always be available and the workload not slowing down, more and more employees are choosing to eat lunch at their desks — and that can be detrimental for them and their companies. Eating outside, even if it’s just for 10 to 15 minutes, can benefit everyone.
For starters, going outside for lunch will help get the creative juices flowing. A change of scenery, especially a natural one, can lead to some of the best ideas and make employees more productive when they do get back to their desks.
Having an outdoor space to enjoy lunch can also help employees’ mental health. Reports show green spaces can result in lower stress levels and fewer signs of depression or anxiety. Spending time outdoors has also been shown to lower people’s heart rates.
Eating outdoors will also boost their overall happiness greatly, which can increase productivity. Scientists at the University of Sussex found when workers ate outdoors (at the beach), their happiness increased by a score of 17.04, while their scores fell to 1.42 when they ate at their desks. You probably don’t have a beach nearby, but installing an inviting patio and outdoor sitting area can have the same effects on their happiness levels.
When people eat outdoors, they can also enjoy several of the benefits from natural sunlight. In addition to providing vitamin D, sun exposure helps:
Take the conversation — and lunch — outside. From landscape lighting to comfortable seating, transform your office building’s outdoor space with these seven patio design ideas.
Plants are one of the most popular features to install with a patio area, and there are several good options to choose from.
For cool-weather patio installs, you can add fall flowers like pansies and violas. These plants will give your patio space life when everything else has gone dormant. Evergreens and flowering shrubs also pair well with patio areas.
For patio projects looking to include new plantings, fall is the ideal season to install them. The cooler temperatures and increased rainfall give the plants the chance to adjust to their new surroundings before the heat returns.
Another way to set your patio design apart is with water features. From large fountains to modern designs, water features add a relaxing element and focal point to the patio space.
Installing a water feature to your patio will provide soothing sounds and views, perfect for tenants or employees looking to enjoy lunch outdoors.
Water and its tranquil sounds have been shown to give our brains a rest from overstimulation. A water feature drowns out voices, city sounds and other noises, so people can relax and think more deeply.
The sound of a water feature will help employees’ brains switch to a different mode, helping them meditate and think more creatively.
Having a beautiful, colorful patio area is useless if the space isn’t practical. It needs to have all of the necessities for people to be comfortable using the space.
One important element is having shade, whether that’s with pergolas, sails, umbrellas or awnings. The whole patio doesn’t have to be shaded, but make sure there are certain areas with shade. It gets hot in Atlanta during the summer, so shade is an important element for making the patio a place people can go all year.
A patio can be a relaxing space to enjoy lunch or a break — unless passersby are a constant nuisance. To give employees some privacy as they eat, install these features.
Some plants can create a natural fence or screening to make the area feel more secluded. There are several evergreen options that will grow more than 10 feet high like juniper and arborvitae.
Beyond plants, you can install hardscape features like retaining walls or stand-alone walls. These can be made of wood, stone, brick or a combination of materials to complement your building.
To soften up the walls, turn them into vertical gardens by installing plants on them. This green wall will also add texture and color to your outdoor area, in addition to making the space more natural.
You should also add tables and comfortable seating — like chairs, rockers or benches — to the patio. It’s not very comfortable or practical to try and eat lunch on the patio without both of these things.
Benches are popular sitting features. If the benches don’t have backs on them, make sure they are against structures to provide back support.
Lightweight aluminum chairs are easy for people to move around the patio area, and you can add a modern twist by using brightly colored options.
Sitting areas will upgrade the patio and make the space somewhere tenants or employees will want to spend time. Plus, they can help create outdoor rooms that groups or individuals can enjoy.
Don’t let the season’s shorter days cut into your patio’s usage. Instead, strategically add landscape lighting around the patio area. Outdoor LED lights in and near the patio space will add to the safety, security and ambience.
You can downlight the patio from trees or even from the side of your building. If there’s a walkway that leads to the patio space, you can illuminate that with path lights.
Now is the perfect time to upgrade your patio into an inviting, relaxing and inspiring space. This space has the potential to improve employees’ mental, physical and emotional health by giving them a place to enjoy lunch outdoors and recharge — making them more productive and happy at work. It can also positively affect your company’s bottom line.
HighGrove offers a range of commercial landscape design/build services, including patio enhancements and installs. Our experienced team will work with you to create a landscape design for the patio space that will enhance your office building and attract everyone there.[
Give HighGrove Partners a call at 678-298-0550 or use our simple contact form to set up a meeting with our Atlanta-based commercial landscape design team.
And be sure to check out our 2015 Commercial Property Trends Report below. Giving tenants and employees a legitimate reason to stay on site is just one of eight timely, important trends to help your commercial property become more attractive, more useful and more sustainable this year and for years to follow.