Gardening | Connecting to nature through design and architecture

Biophilic design is something every gardener can achieve. Picture: Shuttertsock.
Biophilic design is something every gardener can achieve. Picture: Shuttertsock.

Biophilic design might sound complicated, but it's something any gardener can achieve.

What is it? Simply put, it's the concept of increasing our connectivity to nature through architecture.

There really is nothing new about this concept, but since the term biophilia was first used in the 1980s to describe a deep biological desire to engage with life and particularly plants it has become increasing popular.

If there is one thing that we have learned throughout the pandemic, it is the importance that nature plays in our daily life and for our mental health and well-being.

Biophilic design can create an environment to easily connect with nature through introducing nature into our living spaces. The simplest way to achieve this is through indoor plants. Our homes and offices can provide us with a stimulating green environment giving us an opportunity to enjoy the benefits that only the plant kingdom can provide, creating a nurturing, peaceful environment.

Biophilic design can however be so much more than just an arrangement of a few indoor plants. An even deeper connection to nature can be achieved by creating a natural and seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor living areas of the home.

Opening doors and windows to outdoor spaces and integrating similar furniture and floor coverings across both areas will give the impression of connectivity. This is one reason why modern home architecture often includes alfresco areas.

The types of furnishings and materials used indoors can also play a significant role in biophilic design. Emphasis is placed on the use of natural products like stone and wood.

Even soft furnishings, ornaments, textile patterns and artwork, can bring a sense of biophilia to any room, indoors and out. Through using natural light, natural materials, shapes, colours and vegetation, a true sense of connection at an emotional level can be obtained.

The trick with any good design including biophilic design, is to not overdo things. More is not always best and the introduction of plants into an indoor environment to achieve a sense of biophilia, can be accomplished with even a small selection of plants of varying heights, colours and textures.

Don't be afraid to experiment with plant species and arrangements. The aim is to enjoy the nature of the space, no matter how big or small that space might be.