What Would it Take to Get You Outside?

May 6, 2013

patio progress on studio g www.pithandvigor.comThis morning in my yoga class my teacher shared a dirty little secret.  She used to smoke <gasp>. This is confession was part of her sharing a realization that when she once had this habit (many years ago) it did have a very positive upside…..she did it outside.  Part of her smoking habit was to retire outside in the evenings with a cigarette where she enjoyed hours of just looking at the stars and whiling away the evening over smoker chatter.  It reminded me of doing the same with my grandmother (she too smoked) under a crabapple tree on her ranch.

It also touched a familiar nerve.  She was sharing this story to say that she is trying to find new ways to make that outside living part something that was part of a new life habit (but w/o the cigarettes).  I too have been searching for a way to make my lifestyle more inside/outside.  I grew up eating dinner on the deck nearly every summer evening…and I really miss that casual time that we don’t share now.

I have examined the problem and how to fix it for me.  I have a couple issues….first is that my current house doesn’t have a deck or a patio or any place where such a thing could take place.  Further, now that we are building a patio…it doesn’t have doors to easily access it.  Then there is the comfort issue (Colorado does not have the bugs that Massachusetts suffers).  So my solution is to three-fold (and I am working phase 1) build a patio first , then open up a way to get to it, and then deal with the bugs.   My yoga teachers solution is a little different.  She too is building a new patio but her key elements are a fire-pit and a hot tub (outside sit-down dinners aren’t on her agenda but hot-tubbing is).

So I’m curious, do you regularly hang out outside?  If you do, what draws you there?  And if you don’t, why not?  Is it bugs, it is overlooking neighbors, other comfort issues, lack of place, you prefer to be inside?

I am going to keep sharing our progress with you as we resolve our ‘get back to living outside’ issues.  I think I might try to share my yoga teachers progress as well.  But I would love to hear your excuse. What keeps you from enjoying your outdoor living space? – Maybe we can chat over ways to tackle the challenge?

You might remember a post from last fall when we broke ground ( I wish I could find it!). But here is where we are today.  The cobbles are almost all in (with the exception of the step) — they settled over the winter and need a little finessing….soon we will put in the polymeric sand to lock them in tight and then we will move on to build the pergola over the top.  More to come….


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  1. Jil Casey says:

    I too recently quit smoking and always smoked outside, even in the very cold winters that we have here in Wisconsin. I thought the same exact thing – that I wouldn’t be outside as much and I haven’t. But I am healthier. Gardening gets me outside and I am excited about that. As the weather warms up here, I’m planning on getting outside more just to sit on on my deck and relax. I do some of my best thinking outside.

  2. Paul W says:

    We spend a lot of time on a covered (but not screened in) porch. First thing each morning is a cup of coffee on the porch. It’s a time to think about the day, appreciate the morning, and wake up slowly. Many evenings we’ll have cocktails and nosh. Then it’s a decompression time. I think time on that porch – which often leads to forrays into the garden – helps keep me normal and grounded. Mosquitos are a nuisance but not a major deterrent. We just moved and some of my favorite memories of our old house were from that porch – watching thunderstroms roll in and the fireflies that follow, hummeringbirds on the Stachytarpheta, slanting sun through Nasella and Stipa gigantea, mornings just warm enough that we can stand to be on the porch with coffee and under a blanket. We made sure to have just such a porch on our new house and I’m already dreaming up landscapes from it 🙂

  3. I built a 20X 20 porch off the front of the house with an arbor on all three sides. It took a bit, but the arbors are full of wisteria and the yard has lilacs that are now in bloom. I start the day by sitting on the porch swing and end the day there as the sun goes down. It has become quite special.

  4. Merrill J says:

    Thankfully, I have a job that keeps me outside the majority of the year; rain or shine; wind or snow. I live and garden in Southeast Alaska. Being connected to the natural world keeps me grounded. If I’m not struck speechless at least once a day by the natural beauty that surrounds me, I’m not paying enough attention. I just returned from a trip to the East Coast and have always wondered how folks in the large cities manage to maintain their sanity without a connection to nature. True, there is beauty to be found everywhere, but what affected me the most during the trip was the relentless noise. There wasn’t a chance to escape the the sight and sound of humanity. I’m truly blessed to experience daily what most people have to go to either a museum or botanic garden to see. As I type this, a flock of white-fronted geese are taking a break on their north-bound trip and are grazing on the lawn; guess I won’t have to mow for a while longer…

  5. shannon says:

    I spend lots of time in the garden but not much time sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the garden. We recently built a cedar pergola with grapes and kiwis growing over it and my plan/dream for this summer is to get a comfortable outdoor furniture set to put below it. I’m romanticize about relaxing on the outdoor chaise with a drink by my side and a book in my hand…hopefully this dream with come to fruition this summer!

  6. Mac says:

    For years I lived in a place where sitting outside wasn’t an option. Now that I have a private backyard space I’m out of practice. I’ve been making a concentrated effort to spend at least 20-30 minutes just sitting outside every day. A partially covered deck (or even better, a deck with a hot tub!) would be ideal for expanding my outside time.

    Stump grinding East Windsor, CT

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