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The Joy of Gardening

The joy of gardening: how to embrace outdoor space to maximise wellbeing

Having some outdoor space – whether that’s a courtyard, garden or balcony – is a fantastic opportunity. Growing our own vegetables or plants, watching them thrive or simply enjoying the sights and smells of nature – all of the activities associated with gardening – can really boost our mood. Spending time outdoors is great for our wellbeing, but gardening can give your time outside a greater sense of purpose. Even those without outdoor space can give nurturing certain fruits, vegetables, and plants a go, as they’ll grow on windowsills. In this guide, we explore the joy of gardening and how you can embrace it.

How popular is gardening?

From choosing the perfect plants for your garden to watching them grow, there’s something truly special about spending time in the great outdoors surrounded by nature. Many people enjoy spending time outside, and gardening is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise.

Gardening can also be very rewarding, as it allows you to see the fruits of your labour bloom before your eyes. For those with green fingers, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of nurturing a plant from seed to flower. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just getting started, it’s easy to see why gardening is such a popular pastime. In fact, studies have shown:

  • 42% of Brits enjoy gardening
  • 35% claim it helps them relax

The activity gets more enjoyable and relaxing with age:

  • Just over 35% of 25 to 34 year olds enjoy gardening and 24.48% say it helps them to relax. Whilst 51.42% of 55+ enjoy gardening and 46.91% say the activity helps them to relax.

Is gardening good for us?

For most of us, spending time outside in a garden or open space is incredibly important. We know it makes us feel better. While not everyone maybe a fan of gardening, they certainly enjoy spending time in gardens and appreciate other benefits of outdoor environments. According to YouGov for HTA:

  • 87% believe gardens and green spaces benefit their state of mind
  • 84% believe gardens and green spaces benefit their physical health
  • 94% believe gardens and green spaces benefit the environment
  • 94% believe gardens and green spaces make an area a pleasant place to live
  • 93% believe gardens and green spaces help to support wildlife

The same research reveals that people use their own gardens for a range of reasons:

  • 70% as a place to relax
  • 62% to grow plants, trees or flowers
  • 49% to feed, watch or encourage the presence of wildlife
  • 42% to entertain family or friends
  • 35% to grow their own food
  • 31% as a space for pets
  • 23% for a space for children to play
  • 15% to get exercise

Physical and wellbeing benefits of gardening

People enjoy their gardens for a number of reasons, whether that’s playing with their kids or hosting a barbecue. While plenty of people also enjoy gardening, for some it may be a case of getting the necessary chores done so they can sit back and enjoy the space. But do you know just how beneficial the activity of gardening can be for your health and wellbeing?


Without a doubt, gardening keeps us active. Activities associated with gardening – such as planting, pulling weeds, and mowing the lawn – can all boost our cardiovascular health and fitness. Spend enough time digging, weeding and trimming, and you’ll soon work up a sweat. In fact, the calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening are nearly comparable to playing badminton or practising yoga. And because gardening is low-impact, it’s a great form of exercise for people who are looking for less intensive exercise options.


Seeing the success of your hard work in the garden can provide a real sense of accomplishment. Not only are you creating a space for you and your family to enjoy, gardens planted with diversity in mind are incredibly important for local environments. Well-balanced gardens can help ecosystems thrive, which is something you should feel good about.


Gardening is associated with relieving stress and increasing relaxed feelings. The RHS surveyed around 6,000 people and discovered a significant association between gardening more frequently and improvements in wellbeing, perceived stress and physical activity. The research also revealed those who garden every day have wellbeing scores 6.6% higher and stress levels 4.2% lower than people who don’t garden at all.

Family bonding

Why not get your whole family involved in gardening? It’s a chance to spend some time together in the fresh air. Gardening is a very versatile activity – it can be as simple or as complex as you like. If you have little ones, they can help with planting seeds or pulling weeds. Older kids might want to learn how to operate a lawn mower or use a trowel. And everyone can enjoy the satisfaction of watching their garden grow.

The value of spending time outside

If you’re not yet convinced of the joy of gardening, you can still embrace many of the benefits simply by spending more time outdoors. In a government survey, it was found that:

  • 94% of adults felt that spending time outdoors was good for their physical health
  • 82% of adults reported that being in nature made them very happy, indicating high levels of nature connection among respondents

Spending time outside can sometimes help improve our wellbeing, for example a short walk in the park or a short time spent gardening can make a difference.

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