The Way to Create an Outdoor Nest

Nothing is more natural than creating a nest-like space out of nature’s materials. The sights, sounds and textures of flowers, branches and foliage are wonderful tools for creating an inviting, restful space.

You are able to use trees, grasses and other plants to create secure nests, and build to a slope or carve out an area at the bottom of a hill for a cosy space. Inspired by a stunning nest at Longwood Gardens, ideas abound for creating comfy outdoor spots with help from nature all about you.

More: Growing Nests in Unexpected Places

Cary Bernstein Architect

When you’ve got a large tree, you’ve got an almost instant nest on your outside space. The line of the majority of tree branches is an arcing curve — perfect to enclose a space as a ceiling. This tree creates an intimate setting for a dining room, gracefully providing shade and protection from above. The seat continues the line of the tree creating another place to rest. This distance is also located below level, so it seems somewhat cave-like thanks to the surrounding berms of earth. I could spend hours in this particular nest!

Carolyn Chadwick

Your dining room doesn’t have to be carved out of a mountain to feel intimate though! The accession of a frame of medium-sized grasses make “walls” around this space to create a nest-like surroundings without sacrificing the view of the pool.
Large grasses would have left the space feel claustrophobic, while shorter grasses wouldn’t have contributed exactly the same sense of being “hidden off.” This moderate height is just right!

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

This is just another illustration of plantings that are the specific right height. They encircle this nest without creating a cloistered feel. If the plants were any shorter though, they wouldn’t give a sense of protection. This specific nest is located on the side of a slight incline or mountain that provides an extra sense of security and also opens up to a vista below.
In the middle of the quivering breezes of rosemary, salvia and lavender, with olive trees hovering in the background, I wish that I was the dragon bathing in that fountain!

Amy Renea

Whether you are bathing in water or simply listening to it rushing by, this organic element is welcome in or near a nest. Immersing yourself in a body of water would be the best in defense and can be a natural relaxing element which hearkens back to life in the womb.
Surrounding water with plants and creating areas that feel safe and protected is a double whammy. Notice in this picture how the people are all standing in little carved out spaces beneath greenery, or surrounded by greenery, while still obtaining the view of this water.

Amy Renea

Perhaps the best nest in this specific space is in the watch tower. Like cats, humans have an urge to create spaces for themselves that are high and tucked off. The ability to look down on anything that might “harm” you’re a natural instinct and this particular tower provides the perfect safe space. Windows permit the occupant to observe the stunning vista of Longwood Gardens and the plantings across the tower soften its harshness.

Daryl Toby – AguaFina Gardens International

While you may not have a rock tower in your backyard, you might have a slope. Situating a nest at the top, bottom or within a slope are fantastic ideas! You merely have to use plantings to enclose the nest without blocking the vista when it is at the peak of the slope.
In this instance, a little seating area is placed at the peak of a pair of rock steps, and enclosed with a stucco wall and various greenery. The elevation of this area gives this distance a similar texture to the tower above while the plants keep it from feeling exposed.

Think. Design Office

Just how are you going to update your lawn to create nests? Have you already made a nesting space using plants or water? Do you’ve got the perfect incline on your backyard to get a wonderful little dining nook? Perhaps you’ve got a big beautiful tree that beautifully arches to create a place for a table and chairs? Share your suggestions and photos of the perfect nest beneath!

Next: How to Create a Nest at Home

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