Live Outside the BOX

Discovering an unrestrained lifestyle by transforming your outdoor living spaces


Sustainability is a buzzword among builders now; a 2018 Dodge Data & Analytics survey found that half of respondents believe green building will comprise the majority of their projects by 2021.

You may have heard the well-campaigned buzz phrase, “think outside the box.” It’s a term to encourage us to think freely and creatively without restriction. However, most of us are, ironically and literally, planted in a box at work or home, constrained by prescriptive indoor living restraints.

Living inside the box (home), is something that humanity continues to perfect. As a builder of these beautiful BOX estates, I live to practice this distinguished craft, but as our civilization has evolved, we seem to have forgotten some of the values of natural outdoor living, as we perfect our indoor habitats.

Recently we’ve been trying to restore the balance by bringing the “outdoors in” and equally creating “indoor living” experiences – outside. However, we are doing this without clearly understanding why. Why is it so important to create this extended outdoor living suite?

The answer is naturally elementary: It provides an opportunity to break the indoor rules and create an unrestrained lifestyle on your own private land.

Here are a few simple “outside the box” tips to start you thinking about the “why.”

As an amateur chef, I love cooking, but I’m often told what not to make while cooking in someone’s indoor kitchen. Our ancestors cooked naturally for thousands of years making the freshest, wood-fired fish and smoked meats under nature’s unparalleled exhaust system.

The idea of fire, cooking, and its aromas being indoors is relatively new. But, maybe it’s time to preserve our historical kitchen recipe.

Start small this summer by making a rock fire pit. Pick up a wire grate at your local home- supply store and voila! Start ignoring all the indoor cooking rules and cook unrestrained on an open wood-fire pit in fresh-air, like generations before have.

My parents used to say, “Use your indoor voice.” Later, I learned that sound (voice) waves travel in straight lines until it comes in contact with an object or wall. It then greets you again via ricochet. In a home, there are numerous points for the sound to recirculate in a less than ideal way. But, if you step outside, you can sing to the heavens without the same restrictions you have indoors!

Build your own outdoor-theater or amphitheater. Keep it simple and buy an affordable projector aimed at an existing blank wall, or set up some chairs and put on a summer concert outside. Feel free to lift your voice, and, begin to enjoy unrestrained outdoor living and entertainment at its best!

We go to great lengths to install machines to recirculate fabricated “fresh air” inside our home. Equal measures follow to lock in this filtered air by sealing the windows and doors, and locking in the volatile off-gassing created by the man-made items we cherish and house.

Living indoors is great on a rainy or hot muggy day, but when the elements are conducive, don’t forget the benefits of living, cooking, and entertaining outside in one of the freshest air environments nature has to offer!

Living in the box (home) has a long list of rules (which are, perhaps, needed). However this summer may be the time to step out and “live outside the box.” Start breaking the rules and live with courageous freedom as you start enjoying the unrestrained lifestyle!

Scott Harris is the Cofounder and COO of the Building Construction Group. He can be reached at