Reduce Your Body Burden: Outdoor Living Spaces You’ll Love

reduce body burden with a diy outdoor living space

Last week I shared some ways that you can use landscaping to create a healthy indoor environment.  This week I’m sticking with this outdoor theme since the weather is beautiful and I’m spending as much time outdoors as I possibly can.  

Spending time is so important to our bodies.  It not only gives us a break from the indoor toxins we face for the majority of the day, but it also allows our bodies to reap the benefits from sunshine and naturally filtered air outdoors.  One of the best ways to get motivated to spend more time outdoors is to create a space that you can truly enjoy outdoors. An outdoor living space is a space that you can use outside as you would an indoor space.  The idea of entertaining, cooking and playing outdoors can be enhanced by a beautiful space that’s comfortable too.

Living in the Midwest, it can be tough to get outdoors all year-round, but that means in the summer we really take advantage of that outdoor space and outdoor area to entertain, cook and play.  

OUTDOOR COOKING

Outdoor spaces that are intended for cooking and eating are a great addition to any home.  Not only is the space a fairly easy one to create, it also has many benefits to the interior of your home as well.  Many people don’t think about the ways that cooking outside can actually save the inside of their homes from some burden that cooking produces.  You can use a grill or outdoor stove to cook your meals outside when weather allows:

  • No Added Moisture:  Cooking often produces moisture from heat as well as boiling and simmering dishes.  This moisture can affect the indoor air quality and allow many of the VOCs inside your home to off-gas at a higher rate.
  • No Combustion Gas:  If you use gas appliances inside your home, like a gas stove, you’re adding combustion gas, or carbon monoxide (CO2) to the air inside your closed up home.  When you cook outside, this just isn’t the case, as it’s expelled to the exterior of the home.
  • No Added Heat:  During the warmer months, when the air conditioning is on, it’s counter-productive to turn on the stove or cook on the stove top.  However, we don’t necessarily eat only raw and cold foods in the summer months. By cooking food outside, it allows the heat from cooking to be expelled outdoors, instead of warming the interior of your home.

Pinterest is full of ideas to create a comfortable, attractive cooking and dining space outdoors if you need ideas.  My board below has some of the ideas I’ve found particularly useful that also don’t use or add harmful chemicals or products to your yard.  

​Here are some of my tips and tricks to create a fantastic outdoor dining and eating space:

ideas for diy outdoor dining and easy outdoor cooking


OUTDOOR LIVING/RELAXING SPACE

Having a space that you can entertain guests in outdoors is a great idea to make spending time outdoors enjoyable.  If you can have a space outdoors similar to that of a living room indoors, you’ll more likely spend extra time outdoors.  In some areas bugs can become a problem if you’re spending time outdoors in the evening, but there are healthy and safe ways to combat this.
Think of the items you have indoors to make a space comfortable and enjoyable and replicate that outdoors as much as possible.  Some things you can add to an outdoor living space:

  • Comfortable outdoor seating such as chairs or sectionals
  • Small side tables for drinks or potted plants
  • Hanging lights to make allow for outdoor time in the evenings
  • Outdoor rug (make sure it’s in a spot that allows the rug to dry out after rain)
  • Potted plants to make the space feel homier

You can also create a fire pit in your yard if you live in an area that allows these.  There are many easy ideas to landscaping your own, or you can buy an elevated fire pit from Amazon, like these:


SUN ROOM/AREA FOR PLANTS

Indoor house plants that purify the air and remove VOCs

A sun room addition is a great place to enjoy natural sunlight, grow plants and keep the windows open as a breezeway of sorts into the home.  Sun rooms are fantastic on the southern side of your home, but this may not always be logistically possible. Many people turn a current deck into a beautiful sunroom where they can have plenty of fresh air and enjoy a little bit more of nature inside their homes.  

You can also use this room to grow herbs and small vegetables.  Creating a small, attractive indoor garden is not only easy, but also cost effective.  My board below are some ideas for easy gardening (most of which are indoors or in pots).

When it comes to planting, you can also include some plants that actually purify the air.  There are some house plants that can actually remove VOCs from the air inside and in a sense purify your indoor air.  

​Be sure not to over-water your plants if you keep many of them in a small area.  Over-watering can add quite a bit of moisture to the air and can then harm the indoor air quality rather than improve it.


SCREENED IN PORCH

Many older homes have a porch on the front with screened windows which can allow for plenty of fresh air into the house.   This is a great tool to have when it comes to naturally ventilating your home. Some modern homes are adding this feature back into the plans in different parts of the country as a step in the right direction for healthy homes.  

There was a reason these screened in porches were originally added to homes and we’ve lost that true need for it over time.  A screened in porch will help ventilate your home rather quickly as it has many windows on different sides of the room and home.  It can also help cool your home off by letting night air inside during the summer months.

You can turn a screened in porch into a lovely sitting area to enjoy throughout the day and evening. This allows your body time to be near fresh air and gives it a small break from the toxins and chemicals that are in most homes.  

If you do keep your windows open frequently with a screened in porch, you may notice you’ll have to dust more often.  The dirt and debris from outdoor plants, roads and dust will travel in through screens and settle indoors. You can simply vacuum screens off, clean your windows and wet dust your house with these non-toxic versions:
diy non toxic dusting spray recipe with vinegar, olive oil and essential oil

diy non toxic window cleaner recipe with thieves


BONUS:  SHADED PLAY AREA

If you have children, you know that outdoor time usually means they sleep better, eat better and their demeanor improves.  This is no coincidence. Being outdoors and spending time in fresh air and natural sunlight is good for all bodies. Making it a part of your regular habits is good for us and for our children.  

One of my favorite places to get ideas for kids’ spaces outside is on Janet Lansbury’s Blog: Elevating Child Care where she talks about creating a “yes space” for small children.  This is the idea that there is a designated area your child can play and explore the outdoors safely. This will help child-directed play and create a sense of exploration for your child.

Janet’s site has some great ideas for outdoor “yes” spaces that you could create for your child.  Some are elaborate and some are a simple sandbox. Either way, having a small area in the yard or outdoors that your child can have play time outdoors will be an amazing benefit to their body and mind.

outdoor yes space for kids REI

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Making outdoor time part of your daily habits will not only help you, but help your whole family.  Giving our bodies a break from indoor time has incredible benefits that affect our mind and body. It gives your bodies some time to heal and to recover from the harmful chemicals we come in contact with while working and spending time indoors.    

Would you share with me YOUR favorite way to get outside?  

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