In late summer, my friend Jenny wraps up in a down comforter and sleeps on her deck. Hot August and September days make her upstairs bedroom unbearable--even after the sun’s gone down--so she retreats to her “sleeping porch.” There, she enjoys the starry sky, the cool air and birdsong at dawn. Our Colorado climate--dry and without bugs--is conducive to outdoor sleeping without extra protection, but with the right set-up it’s possible anywhere. Check out these sublime outdoor sleeping areas--and see if you can’t find a way to spend a night or two outside before it’s too late. There really is nothing like it.
Sleep, Dine or Entertain
Penny Livingston-Stark and James Stark slept outdoors most of spring, summer, and fall in their bale (pronounced “balay”), a Balinese structure that raises their bed above the ground and puts a natural roof over their heads, in northern California. “The joy of sleeping outdoors,” says Penny, “is hearing the owls at night and awakening to the predawn chorus. Sometimes the birds forget we're here and fly right through the bale.” Penny and James also used their “outdoor garden room” for dining and entertaining. Photo by Paul Bousquet
I was lucky enough to sleep in this cabina at Finca Exotica, a sustainable resort and farm on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, earlier this year. Built from strong bamboo poles, with a thatched roof, the open-air bedroom protected us from the elements while we listened to the distant surf and tree frogs. The mosquito netting was welcome, indeed. Photo by Barbara Bourne
An Old-Fashioned Sleeping Porch
When Bill Moses restored Casa Barranca, an American Craftsman masterpiece in California’s Ojai Valley, he meticulously preserved the house’s history as well as its connectedness with nature. Nearly every bedroom in the turn-of-the-century home has a screened sleeping porch and deck. This one is for Bill's son and the estate's young visitors. Photo by Michael Shopenn