Those in the know, like HGTV, have spotted a Japanese-inspired landscaping trend that’s expected to remain hot in the U.S. throughout 2018 and beyond.
It’s called: forest bathing.
No, it doesn’t require a bathing suit. Or wild evening romps in the moonlight.
Forest bathing simply means bathing yourself in the beauty of a wooded area via a nature walk. The idea is to allow your inner spirit time to breathe — and any inner tensions to find release.
This uplifting experience might also include spiritual moments of divine worship. But the essential key is to just give one’s technology-driven life a break. And no place offers a better space for that than a quiet woodland area.
Forest bathing, by the way, is a translation of the Japanese term “shinrin-yoku” — a new philosophy that began in Japan in the 1980s and has been growing as fast as, well, a bamboo forest.
At Deck and Patio we were delighted to learn of this “trend.” But our Huntington Station, NY-based firm — in collaboration with many of our nature-loving clients — has been designing such restful woodland backyard escapes all across Long Island for many years.
There are two ways we accomplish this.
If a property already has beautiful woodlands, our goal is, first, to safeguard as much of this precious space as possible when creating nature walks and any other outdoor living areas.
Plus, we often add man-made environmentally-friendly water features and plantings to make the wooded areas feel complete. The goal is always to enhance the experience of the parklands without doing harm to the surroundings.
A second option — which can be more expensive — is to import new trees, shrubs and flowers to create an entirely new wilderness area where one does not exist.
Here’s a few examples of Deck and Patio-landscaped ‘forest bathing’ areas we created for a few of our Long Island, NY clients.
Here’s a great example of a pre-existing wooded area on a local property. Within this already beautiful setting, we added stone steps, streams and waterfalls. The clients already had a bridge so we designed water features and stepping areas to fit around it.
We also added additional plantings and lots of green ground cover. It’s the perfect space for them to bathe in natural beauty before they start their day and when they return home.
The key to forest bathing is to create or update spaces as they appear in nature — and add only amenities that fit naturally in that environment.
In this case, Deck and Patio added a bridge, water feature, imported boulders and rocks and landscaped it with robust plantings. It feels like you are in upstate New York, in the mountains. Yet, it’s right in our clients’ backyard.
As you can see from this Deck and Patio-designed backyard refuge, we were careful to safeguard the existing woodland areas on the property.
Extending out from the parkland areas, the new water feature was brought forward to the entertaining areas through the addition of a pondless waterfall.
The new multi-level patios were carefully designed so that each patio space had a specific use. The complete project was a perfect blend of softscapes with hardscapes.
Many believe that walking in natural surroundings is not only peaceful but by providing moments of peaceful contemplation, such walks can have a healing effect.
For this space, we took advantage of the family’s desire to hide their pool equipment by creating a private woodland path. We brought in bushes and plantings and fit them among existing old-growth trees. Adding bluestone stepping stones that lead to a larger woodland area contributes to an extended nature walk that is perfect for forest bathing.
Here’s two quotes to leave you with today:
“Wilderness is a necessity” — John Muir, environmental philosopher
“Look deep into nature, and then you will
understand everything better.” — Albert Einstein
Happy forest bathing!