Outdoor Hygge: Modern Plant Trends Aren’t Just for Living Rooms

by Carson BuckJune 8, 2018

Embrace Hygge Both Inside and Outside of the Home

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish word that encompasses both design and lifestyle. It’s used to express the feeling of contentment and clarity of a specific moment. The concept of hygge focuses on enjoying the present and appreciating the small charms of everyday life. One can feel a moment of hygge while sitting at home reading, while out with friends, or while sitting in the garden tending to plants and flowers.

While hygge is most importantly something that you feel, you can strive to design your home to provoke feelings of hygge on a regular basis. There’s even a word for a hygge space — hyggekrog — which translates to cozy corner or nook. In The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking writes that hyggekrog is “a place where you love to snuggle up in a blanket, with a book and a cup of tea.”

While you may want to focus on creating hygge inside of your home during fall and winter, spring and summer are the perfect seasons to cultivate hygge in your outdoor spaces. Here are some tips to get your yard feeling cozy and hygge for the coming warm months.

hygge outdoor design

Get Cozy Around a Focal Point

The perfect way to achieve a hyggekrog-style nook in your outdoor space is to start with a focal point that you can get cozy around. Fire pits and fireplaces function perfectly to bring people together over s’mores or a glass of wine, but they’re also a great place to sit around with a good book or to quietly watch the sunset.

Choose a fairly central, easy-to-access location for your fire pit or outdoor fireplace so that your outdoor lounge space feels like it transitions effortlessly from your indoor lounge space. Station comfortable outdoor furniture around it to maximize the cozy vibes. Adorn your patio or outdoor furniture with blankets and pillows so that you can really get into the spirit of hygge in your backyard.

Make Your Space Snug for Daytime and Nighttime

Use warm cafe lighting so that you can sit back and relax in your backyard or outdoor space no matter what time of day it is. Citronella candles on end tables or a picnic table create warm light and smell good while also functioning to keep away pesky flies and other critters.

Be sure to keep outdoor appliances like lawn mowers and grills relatively out of sight. Store your grill along the house so that it doesn’t draw attention to itself but is still accessible for nights when you want to taste the hygge. Host a hygge dinner party and use your grill to serve delicious Scandinavian comfort food like lefse.

hygge outdoor design

Use Plants to Give Your Space Restful Hygge Vibes

Use plants to make your outdoor space feel like a cozy conclave: think Danish minimalism meets intimate rainforest. Use potted plants with wide leaves that will fan over your seating areas to create the essence of a nook, like mid sized rubber and banana trees. A lot of tropical flora and fauna are relatively low maintenance and will make your backyard feel like a lush retreat, perfect for entertaining and relaxing.

Plant fragrant flowers like lavender, hyacinth, rose, and jasmine to create a multi-sensory hygge effect in your garden. Colorful flowers and plants like hydrangeas and begonias will light up your space with pops of bright, natural color. Plant flowers that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds, too and get nature involved.

Incorporate Sound Into Your Hygge Space

Hygge is a feeling which encompasses all of the senses, so don’t forget about your sense of hearing as you design your outdoor hygge space. A fountain with trickling water is a great way to incorporate relaxing hygge feelings into your yard. You can also install some bird feeders, which will invite delightful bird song into your backyard space or garden.

If you plan on doing some entertaining in your cozy backyard, consider installing some outdoor speakers that will allow you to listen to your favorite music as you spend time with friends and family. You can also hang up wind chimes, wooden or metal, if you want to incorporate more sound but want to keep it organic.

hygge outdoor design

Remember: Hygge Is a Feeling

The most important thing to remember when cultivating a hygge backyard is that feeling of cozy, content, safe, happiness. Think about what brings about those feelings for you, and be true to yourself. Create a backyard space that you will want to spend hours in—enjoy your hygge!

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About The Author
Carson Buck
Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today's world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.