Millions of businesses thrive on activity in their outdoor areas. Restaurants and bars get to serve people enjoying the fresh air. Hotels give their guests a view of the city and a place to relax. Even traditional offices can beautify and reinforce their outdoor areas to give employees a chance to distress and bond with each other.
So what steps can you take to improve the functionality and appearance of your business’s outdoor area?
The Main Goals of Outdoor Improvement
Ultimately, you’ll be striving to achieve three goals:
- Make the area more inviting and comfortable. An outdoor space that’s more inviting and more comfortable is going to keep people around for longer – and draw more people in. As a simple example, if your outdoor seating looks comfortable, people walking by will be tempted to take advantage of it.
- Make the area more spacious and functional. More outdoor space is usually better. It allows you to fit more people (and serve more people at once) while simultaneously giving people more room to wander around. The only caveat is that your additional space needs to be functional, capable of giving people what they need or expect.
- Make the area more beautiful. This is a subjective factor, but an important one. If your outdoor space is aesthetically pleasing, it’s going to work in your brand’s favor.
Ideas for Improving Outdoor Areas
Here are the best ways you can improve:
- Install an outdoor fireplace. First, consider installing an outdoor fireplace. It’s inexpensive, easy to do, and it can fit in almost any space. Without one, you may be practically forced to close down your outdoor area in the winter; but with one, you’ll keep your outdoor customers comfortable and warm. You’ll also be the instant go-to choice for people wanting an outdoor experience when it’s chilly – especially if your competitors aren’t offering one.
- Provide canopies and other types of shelter. It’s also a good idea to provide canopies, awnings, umbrellas, and other types of shelter for your guests. Depending on the weather, it could be a shield against rain or a way to get some shade from the hot sun. An overhead covering also gives people a subtle sense of security, which can make them more comfortable and relaxed.
- Add comfortable seating and tables. This should be obvious, but make sure you add plenty of comfortable seating and tables. Too many outdoor areas prioritize furniture that can withstand the elements; while this is important, it may come with a sacrifice of personal comfort. You want people to enjoy their time seated outside.
- Add a trail or walking area. If you have the extra space, consider adding a trail or an area where people can walk around. Some people love to keep their bodies moving, and the benefits of physical exercise are tough to overstate. This is especially important if your employees will be using your outdoor area as an opportunity to relieve stress and decompress from their work.
- Establish greenery. Did you know that merely looking at plants has profound psychological benefits? We’re hard-wired to feel more comfortable in nature, so when we can’t be immersed in the woods, looking at a nearby plant is the next best thing. Consider adding flowers, shrubs, hanging baskets, and other forms of greenery all around your outdoor area. Even small splashes of natural color can make a big difference in how people feel.
- Match the design of the interior. When it comes to design, try to match the design of your business’s interior as best you can. Use a similar color scheme, select similar furniture, and overall, try to capture the “vibe” you’re seeking. It will lead to less attrition when people move from inside to outside (or vice versa) and help to reinforce what your brand stands for.
- Find more space. Is there a way you can make even more outdoor space? Depending on where your business sits, you might be able to expand outward with new walkable spaces, benches, or other fixtures. Otherwise, you might be able to convert your roof into an outdoor space – try to get creative!
- Keep the area clean. Customers are always happier when an area is perceived as being clean. Aren’t we all? Do your best to stay on top of outdoor area cleaning, especially after harsh weather – and be ready to replace your furniture and accouterments if they suffer too much wear and tear.
With just a few thousand dollars and a minimal investment of time, you can make your business’s outdoor area beautiful, comfortable, and inviting for your employees and customers alike. Over time, your business will develop a better reputation, distinguish itself from the competition, and ultimately make more money.