The mental and health benefits of co-existing with nature have been well-documented, with the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku – forest bathing – gaining in popularity over the past few years. Developers of the Margate-based eco-estate, Serenity Hills, are taking this a step further with the development of unique forest pods overlooking the Indian Ocean.
There will be six forest pod sites located on an ocean-view slope, surrounded by lush coastal forest, with the building’s footprint adhering to the flow of the land. These incredibly spacious and versatile 3-bedroom homes – with the option of an additional fourth bedroom suite – are designed to minimally impact the natural site.
“We’re excited to be bringing the globally popular forest pod concept to the mid-KZN South Coast which, alongside the scenic beauty, offers residents many benefits associated with living in such natural surroundings,” explained Development Director, Sam Wenger. “The minimal aesthetic of the design will connect residents with the tranquillity of nature, honouring simplicity and sustainability. While residents can enjoy life’s quiet pleasures in these modern residences, the forest site also includes access to the vibrant Serenity Hills community and amenities, including lush tropical hiking and biking trails.
After spending a week camping in a forest while studying medicine, Japanese doctor Qing Li found the experience had restored his physical and emotional health in a way he wanted to explore further. This research led him to release the book Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, which outlines some of the incredible benefits of spending time in the natural world. These include:
· Decreased blood pressure and heart rate leading to a reduction in stress and anxiety
· A reduction in depression and anger
· A decrease in fatigue and increase in vigour
· Strengthening the immune system
· Improving cardiovascular and metabolic health
· Boosting overall well-being
Drawing on these benefits, the Serenity Hills forest pods will be designed to connect the natural world with the living area, creating a calm home atmosphere that embodies indoor-outdoor living. These will be constructed to maximise the visibility of the natural surrounding while allowing as much natural light to filter into the interior, mitigating the need for artificial heating and cooling.
In line with the sustainable ethos of the entire Serenity Hills eco-estate, the forest pods will be designed around green living. Each solar-ready home will be built with rainwater harvesting and natural ventilation high up in the trees. Alongside the option of a fourth bedroom with its private entrance, each site ranging from 1 800m2 to 2 700m2 will include a separate utility or laundry space and chute.
The eco-conscious designs of all Serenity Hills homes will include gas geysers and hobs, and LED lighting, with on-site reservoirs guaranteeing three months of water supply for residents. The establishment of a Schrebergärten will encourage the consumption of locally-grown produce, with fresh bread delivered to homes via Tuk Tuks daily.
Serenity Hills also boasts top-class facilities such as The Clubhouse with swimming pools, the Infinity Bar, and The Bistro. In addition to the nature trails, there will be Yoga and Pilates spots, bowling greens, a volleyball field, a golf driving range and a tennis court for active residents, with on-site medical care. Serenity Hills’ partnership with @home and Weber further underscores the developers’ commitment to excellence in design.
Limited to only six sites, the forest pods are anticipated to sell quickly. To find out more and book a viewing at Serenity Hills, visit www.serenityhills.co.za. For regular updates, follow @serenityhillsecoestate on Facebook and Instagram.