We’re happy to say that in a blog early last year entitled, 2018 Landscaping Trends: ‘Forest Bathing’ on Long Island, NY, we shared with our Long Island neighbors the nascent landscaping trend of ‘forest bathing.’
Well, just this week, The Daily Beast reported how broad this tend has become of late in states like Colorado. But before we get into that, let’s get clear again on what ‘forest bathing’ is and is not.
Forest bathing is a Japanese landscaping trend that does not require a bathing suit — or wild evening romps in the moonlight.
It 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.
And as the Daily Beast pointed out, this is not about trekking, mountain biking, or strenuous exercise. It’s quite the opposite. Indeed, ‘no exercise required.’ Just moments of peaceful introspection in a natural outdoor haven.
Deck and Patio has found that all this comes natural to Long Islanders. In our years of collaboration with many nature-loving clients, we’ve been designing such restful woodland backyard escapes for many years.
Here are a few examples of how Deck and Patio-landscaped just such ‘forest bathing’ areas for a few of our clients.
This is 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.
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.
This uplifting experience of forest bathing might also include spiritual moments of divine worship. But the essential key is to just give one’s technology-driven life a break, and leave the barbells behind. 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.
Here’s two quotes to, once again, leave you with:
“Wilderness is a necessity”
— John Muir, environmental philosopher
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
— Albert Einstein
Happy forest bathing!