Our gift guide for the Outdoors Lover recognizes there are many ways a person can express their affinity for being outside. Maybe your holiday gift recipient loves to disconnect and rough it out in nature, camping and hiking. Or maybe they find pleasure in the toil of creating and tending to a backyard garden, or conversely someone who is skilled at keeping menagerie of houseplants alive with their green thumb. Perhaps they’re the type of person who simply loves entertaining outdoors, addicted to the al fresco lifestyle. They’re all in their own way lovers of the outdoors, and the gift ideas below were chosen to bring joy in similar multitude.
If Buckminster Fuller was ever to return reincarnated as a hypebeast with a penchant for adventuring in the great outdoors, he’d might very well be found camping inside one of these geodesic dome structure tents. The ingenious design saves weight and maximizes room using inflatable struts to create the tent’s supporting structure, with an inner tent embellished with a striking camouflage flame pattern. Not quite glamping, but definitely not your usual REI-outfitted adventure gear.
A terrarium is a great gift for the biophilic-spirited plant lover, gardener, or outdoor adventurer. Available with either a Carrara or concrete color base, the Biodome’s combination of enclosed clear top alongside its small vented opening works together to retain moisture and heat, and bring in light to create the ideal conditions for many tropical plants not only to grow, but thrive in an environment closer to their original habitat. These are a beautiful means of bringing the outdoors inside, especially during the colder months when warmth and greenery might be a distant memory.
Whether hosting a weekend brunch or evening supper in the backyard, adding a thoughtfully curated playlist to elevate the mood is the icing on the entertainer’s cake. We love our original Move wireless speaker not only for those social engagements, but also to bring outdoors while we’re busy gardening or working out. It’s integrated back handle makes it really easy to move around, inside or outdoors. Sonos’ recent version 2.0 upgrade delivers stereo audio performance that can get even louder (yet clear) than the original Move’s mono output, and also doubles battery life to an impressive 24 hours between charges, making it also a great car camping addition. But superficially, what do we like best? The new pleasing matte Olive color option designed to blend into the outdoors!
Being a houseplant parent requires providing all of the basic necessities a plant would need out in nature: water, soil, warmth, nutrients, and light. The latter can be the hardest to provide at optimal levels during the gloomier and colder months, making a grow light engineered to shine a full spectrum glow a necessity. In the past, grow lights were purely functional in design, and not something you’d want to keep out in the open. You can thank the houseplant boom during the pandemic for the emergence of home-friendly grow light designs like Soltech’s Grove, a LED light bar intended to shine its photosynthesis supportive rays from any surface, whether wall mounted or installed underneath a cabinet or shelf.
As the co-author of a book about mushroom hunting, it should be no surprise I’d be drawn to the spirited away silhouette of Gubi’s Agaricus bisporus (aka button mushroom) shaped rechargeable outdoor lamp. Designed by Bill Curry with frosted glass filtering its output, the dimmable 250 lumen LED light shines anywhere from 5 hours at full output all the way up to 40 hours at its most dim setting. In any case, the Obello’s atmospheric glow will make any outdoor corner feel more warmly inviting.
Cast and finished by hand, Los Angeles architect-designer Jerome Byron’s outdoor stools stand out from the crowd of typical staid outdoor furniture, appearing like the retro-futuristic remnants strewn throughout a Brutalist garden. The arch-shaped design is shaped from pigment-infused, glass-fiber reinforced concrete, resulting in an airy, yet significant sculptural presence – one arguably deserving a pair to invite conversation as much as quiet contemplation.
Pairing a plant with the right planter is on par to finding the ideal frame for a painting or photograph. And we think these tabletop terracotta planters will add a quiet architectural element and contrast that most lack, something akin to Ricardo Bofill’s repurposed cement factory La Fábrica and its tropical garden, but in miniature. Offered in five different hues (and additional sizes), the Vayu is made in a family-run facility powered by renewable energy in Vermont alongside a female-owned ceramic facility in Portugal.
Lily Clark has continued to examine the interaction between water and a multitude of stone surfaces at varying scales, inviting not only the flow and sound of water to awaken a meditative mood, but also in the exploration of its abilities to transform surfaces and colors – a process in display as water spills across a trio of circular cut stones embedded into Farallon’s carved path. Consider Farallon the larger sibling of the poetically soothing desktop Comb Fountain. Whether situated inside or outdoors, Clark’s fountain emotes a flow state suited to erode stress as water does to stone.
The Terra chair is an example of the changing and modernized landscape of outdoor furniture designed to appeal to backyards that are more Santa Monica than Nantucket in vibe. With a low and quietly minimalist aluminum frame, we think these chairs look particularly garden-friendly in Olive (also available in Putty or Charcoal). The chair’s fiber-fill and foam seat cushions are deep and supportive, covered in quick drying Sunbrella, making upkeep easy and durability guaranteed (5 year Sunbrella warranty and 3 year coverage for the frame, just in case you’re wondering). There’s also a sofa-sized version if you really want to piece together a living room outside.
We called the Oyster “the most chill outdoor cooler ever designed” after witnessing its impressive capabilities in keeping drinks and food cold for spans far longer than any tailgating party or picnic would ever require. The sleek extruded aluminum construction is also a perk, with a nifty design that allows opening the lid from both sides, and switching from a carrying handle to shoulder strap an easy 10-second process, tops. Gift an Oyster along with a craft beer subscription for your favorite outdoors enthusiast, and you’re likely to be remembered as the coolest gift giver ever.
By now you’ve likely read all about the benefits of composting, the process inviting microorganisms to chow down on kitchen and garden waste and convert that material into rich beneficial matter that can energize plant growth. But not everyone has the space for a full-size bin or tumbler, making the Reencle home composter an impressively stress-free and space-efficient option. Throw in anything from pizza crust, meat, and your usual salad bar leftovers – the machine accepts anywhere between 1.5 lbs to 2.2 lbs daily – and it silently “digests” everything into a near odorless compost material you can sift onto garden beds and planters to renew the cycle. It does all this with only a very modest amount of noise, vital for an appliance designed to operate openly out in the kitchen.
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