Biophilic moodboards: outdoor views

in Biophilic Moodboards

Since strengthening the connection between people and nature is the main objective of biophilic design, it doesn’t come as a surprise that outdoor views are key.

But not all views are the same.
So let’s talk about outdoor views in biophilic design, starting with the Biophilic Moodboard of this month!

Moodboard showing 3 examples of biophilic design with great outdoor views. 1: A bedroom with fully glazed wall looking into the forest. 2: An indoor outdoor living area with big trees outdoors. 3: a bathtub looking into a private garden.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credits (from top left): LumiPod (opened in a new window/tab), Est Living (opened in a new window/tab), Cocoon Bathroom (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab). Moodboard by DforDesign

Which outdoor views are best for biophilic design?

Let’s start with the burning question.
Here are the main features that make an outdoor view ideal for a biophilic design:

  • It looks onto a natural landscape or natural elements.
  • It’s not only visible, but can be experienced with the other senses as well (for example, a particular scent or sound can be perceived, plants are easy to reach and touch…)
  • It includes a water feature.
  • It either leaves the view wide open (namely a prospect view) or covers it partially, giving a sense of mystery.
  • It reflects the ecology of the local environment.

 
These elements can’t always be achieved all at once, but they're some of the things to consider when looking at existing views or creating new ones.

The benefits of outdoor views

A view onto nature breaks the boundary between indoors and outdoors. It makes nature part of everyday life (not obvious when living in the city) and brings various wellbeing benefits. These include lowered stress levels, improved concentration, and an overall sense of happiness. *
If nature can also be touched, smelled and heard, the experience becomes even more engaging. And – involving our more ancestral senses – its benefits will be amplified as a result.

Bedroom with glazed back wall looking into a vertical garden.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Stephen Tsymbaliuk (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

Designing for outdoor views

To make the most of an outdoor view, it’s important to consider it as part of the design, like a stunning piece of art that needs to be highlighted.
This can translate in different design strategies, like:

  • using big windows
  • creating an indoor-outdoor living space
  • adding strategic openings to create a peek
  • orienting the furniture layout to frame the view.
Dining area located next to a wrapping floor-to-ceiling window that overlooks a countryside landscape.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Globewest (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
Kitchen with window in place of the backsplash.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Designer Hunter (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

Creating an outdoor view

A view over a stunning landscape is quite a premium feature and not all interiors can have it. Still, all is not lost, as outdoor views can also be created!

Balconies, patios and gardens

Any balcony, patio, garden and even a window sill can be turned into some sort of biophilic view.
Greenery, water features, stones etc. can be combined to introduce nature even in the middle of the city. Not to mention that these "crafted" views will also add privacy, helping to shield the space from neighbours’ eyes.

Dining room looking into a patio whose back wall is decorated with vertical greenery enclosed into arched niches.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Rebecca Judd (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab) Design by Biasol – Styling by Bree Leech – Photo by Armelle Habib
Small terrace surrounded by plants that shield it from the building in front.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Therese Knutsen (opened in a new window/tab)

Internal courtyards

Another option are outdoor spots carved inside a building, the so-called internal courtyards.
They definitely require more work and fall into the scope of a full remodel, but they still deserve a mention as the final effect is breathtaking!

Indoor courtyard spanning the length of a corridor.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Jacobs Yaniv Architects (opened in a new window/tab)
Indoor courtyard adding natural light to a contemporary kitchen.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Jost Architects (via Dwell) (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo by Fraser Marsden

Green buildings

When it comes to crafting a view onto nature in the middle of the city, green buildings are an ideal example.
These buildings are specifically designed to host plants in their structure. These plants enrich the interiors with a natural view to be experienced and looked at from the inside. Plus, they clear and cool the air outdoors, serving the entire neighbourhood!

Bosco Verticale, a couple of green buildings in Milan completely covered in plants.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri Architetti (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo DforDesign
Bedroom in the Bosco verticale with view on the greenery.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri Architetti (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo Booking (opened in a new window/tab)
Green building in Bangkok completely covered in plants.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Forested House by Shma (opened in a new window/tab)
Terrace of a green building in Bangkok completely covered in plants.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Forested House by Shma (opened in a new window/tab)

When crafting an outdoor view, quality is more important than quantity.
Indeed, it has been proven that the diversity in the view (i.e. the amount of different natural elements and wildlife it features) is more important than its actual size. * So even a small balcony can make a big difference!

Also, style becomes part of the game as well.
From planters to plant arrangements, everything can be designed to follow the style of the interior. Here, the challenge is creating a patch of nature that flows with the interior while reflecting the local environment.
Which brings me to my final point…

Bathroom overlooking a patio dressed up with greenery arranged in line with the minimalist style of the interior.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mathieson Architects (via Archidets) (opened in a new window/tab)

The importance of native plants

Whenever choosing plants for the outdoors, it’s important to prefer native plants. From a biophilic perspective, this will connect the space to its surroundings, giving it a more substantial identity.
But native plants also make sense for the environment.
Indeed, any outdoor plant interacts with the environment in one way or another. All plants attract wildlife and – if planted directly in the soil – they also influence its delicate composition.
In short, native plants strengthen the local environment and – on a global level – they help promote biodiversity. Which we know is extremely precious to keep our planet in balance!

Outdoor dining area totally surrounded by greenery.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Jeffrey Faranial (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)

 
 

* Sources

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