July 27, 2020

Trees and Sense of Place

The world as we know it is changing and we are all adapting to life in the time of a pandemic.  People are longing to return to the aspects of life that foster community and a sense of normalcy.  One way businesses like restaurants, gyms, coffee shops and workspaces are adjusting to fulfill this need safely is by incorporating outdoor environments to conduct business. While most existing indoor spaces are not adequately spacious enough for our current distancing requirements, being outside, especially in a natural setting, brings both a safer way to gather and a peace to our stir crazy minds. With this in mind, we must re-conceptualize the way we design our built environment.

As we move our lives to the outdoors, businesses will adapt their existing outdoor spaces into their primary working space. For many, there is little area to work with and adapting parking lots and sidewalks may be the only option. What makes it feel different than sitting in a parking lot on exposed pavement?  How will businesses make a space that is inviting, enjoyable and relaxing?  


We can turn to spaces that we frequent as examples of how trees can transform a space. Some of our most beloved institutions in Athens create a remarkable sense of place in their outdoor spaces with the trees that are surrounding them. Cali n Titos, for instance, uses palm trees to give their outdoor (and indoor) spaces a tropical feel, it’s like walking into a vacation when you sit on their patio and sip on a Negra Modelo.

Hendershots on Prince has a small, but private patio that is right next to a busy road. Despite the traffic, it feels tucked away and cozy. Without the large elm providing screen and shade, it would be sunny, exposed and uninviting.

Imagine  Big City Bread without the Chinese Elms on the patio. These trees provide shade, they cool the space. The trees create an outdoor room, giving it definition and purpose.

Big City Bread.jpg

Trees reduce stress and improve mental health. They conserve energy and reduce runoff. Trees increase property value and encourage economic stability. And they provide us with shade and connection to a living landscape.

Now more than ever before, the health of our trees in our urban environment is a priority.  Our mental and social health need these safer outdoor spaces to exist and responsibly gather in.  Whether this means planting trees to create an environment that encourages people to visit, or by taking care of your existing space so that it is safe and healthy, we are here to contribute to your outdoor sanctuary by ensuring the health of your trees.  

Please continue to stay healthy, wear masks, enjoy the summer and the great outdoors.