You’ve heard that gardening is good for the soil and the soul, but did you know that gardening can actually help heal some of the common ailments we all face?
Gardening is a healthy activity to participate in for a variety of reasons, some are obvious but number 10 will really surprise you!
It wasn’t until I made it my goal to get myself in the garden daily that I really started to see a change in myself. All of a sudden I felt strong, and able to deal with the depression and anxiety I had acquired from having children, leaving my career and in dealing with the pandemic.
Stress is a common issue we all deal with at different times of our lives. It comes to no surprise that gardening can actually help us deal with this stress. But you may be shocked at the amount of benefits your garden can provide for you.
In this post, I’ll share with you the power of healing gardens and small changes you can make to reap the benefits yourself!
The Healing Power of Gardening
Healing gardens have become really popular in recent years. Largely used in hospital settings and rehab facilities, homeowners have started to realize the benefits these therapeutic gardens can deliver.
If you’re considering creating a healing garden of your own, below you’ll discover some of the great benefits you can experience.
1. Gardening is an Instant Stress Reliever
One of the biggest benefits of healing gardens, is that they can instantly reduce stress levels. When you’re experiencing stressful times, it can have a dramatic impact on your health and wellbeing. So, having a place you can go to instantly relax can prove invaluable.
Many studies have shown the stress-reduction power gardens can produce. With a healing garden, you’ll benefit from the stress-reduction of actually viewing an experiencing the garden, alongside the stress busting benefits of gardening.
2. Gardening can Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Did you know gardening and relaxing in a healing garden can also help you to combat anxiety and depression? The fresh air alone is great for easing the symptoms of mental health issues. However, the way these gardens activate your senses is where their real power lies.
Spending a little time in your healing garden each day can have a significant positive impact on your wellbeing. It is known to have an impact on your outlook on life and can provide a real haven away from your daily stresses.
3. Gardening Enhances Self-Esteem
One of the more surprising benefits of healing gardens, is that they can enhance self-esteem. Studies have shown that those who partake in regular gardening are much more confident within themselves.
Taking care of the garden gives you a sense of purpose. It also leaves you with a sense of accomplishment which helps to build self-esteem.
4. Gardening can lower Blood Pressure Levels
It isn’t just your mental health that benefits from healing gardens. Your physical health can be improved with the right type of garden too.
If you are involved in the upkeep of the garden, it can help to lower your blood pressure. Studies have shown spending just 30 minutes working in the garden can control as well as prevent high blood pressure.
As an additional health benefit, if you are maintaining the garden yourself, it also helps to burn lots of calories. This can aid in wight loss or weight management.
5. Provides a Powerful Dose of Vitamin D
We all need good levels of Vitamin D to stay healthy and happy. However, as you largely only get this crucial vitamin outdoors, instead of in your daily diet, it can be difficult to make sure you’re getting enough. Spending time in a healing garden can help to top up those vitamin D levels, leading to a range of health benefits.
Vitamin D helps to strengthen the bones, boost the immune system and keep the muscles healthier too. This makes healing gardens especially useful for the elderly and those with weakened bones.
6. Gardening helps to Boost the Mood
Finally, healing gardens can help to boost the mood. There is something soothing and healing walking around nature, hearing, smelling and seeing the different colors and textures it produces.
Alongside the great Vitamin D levels, just getting outdoors into a nice picturesque space can make you feel a lot happier in general. Sit outside in the garden for just a short period each day and you’ll soon start to feel the benefits.
As you can see, there are lots of awesome benefits that come from healing gardens. When done correctly, they can have a positive impact on both your mental and your physical health. In order to ensure you are creating a garden to maximize your health and wellbeing, it’s worth being aware of the different types available. Each will offer differing benefits.
The Different Types of Healing Gardens
Thinking of creating your very own healing garden? Before you dive right in, you’ll want to understand the different types of healing gardens you can design.
Each type of healing garden offers its own unique benefits. So, let’s take a look at the different types on offer and how you can decide which one is right for you.
7. Provide Respite
Respite gardens are the most common types associated with healing gardens. These are what are used in healthcare settings such as hospitals.
Their main goal is to provide respite, encouraging faster healing and recovery. These types of healing gardens don’t require individual maintenance. Instead you’d pay someone to keep up with the garden for you so you can simply enjoy the aesthetics.
Healing gardens for mobility
Some types of healing gardens are designed to aid mobility. Those who have limited mobility can find it difficult getting around and keeping up with standard gardens. A healing garden designed to aid mobility however, is much easier to use and enjoy.
Edible gardens are especially well suited to those with mobility issues. They are easy to maintain and also provide delicious produce you can add to your daily diet. Not everything in the garden has to be edible, but mostly it will contain fruits and vegetables.
8. Sensory Gardens
A popular type of healing garden is the sensory variety. As the name suggests, these are specifically designed to trigger all of your senses.
They make use of taste, touch, light and smell. These too are great for those with low mobility, alongside children with learning difficulties. They contain things such as water features, sand pits and brightly colored flowers. Wind chimes are also an excellent feature to add to a sensory garden.
Educational gardens are a great type of healing garden for children. They help to teach your kids about different plants and wildlife. If you include a small vegetable patch in the garden, you can teach your kids all about growing your own produce. This also provides an additional benefit that they will be more likely to eat veggies they have helped to grow themselves.
These types of gardens also tend to include things such as bird houses, mini beast hotels and wildlife feeding stations.
10. Unleash the Magic of Healing Gardens in your own Backyard Vegetable Garden
Did you know that by incorporating specific plants into your garden landscape and design can actually really aiding in healing? It’s true. Grab our checklist below to discover which plants have these powers including my favourite, lavender!
How will you create your healing garden?
So, now you know some of the different types of healing gardens available, the question is how can you choose the best one for you?
Think about who the garden is for and what its purpose will be. Is it simply going to provide a place you can escape during stressful times? Or, are you hoping it might improve certain aspects of your health? Understanding the purpose of the garden will help you to identify which one to use.
Most healing gardens tend to feature the same kind of elements. If you want to create one specifically for you, don’t be afraid to mix and match the elements featured in differing types of gardens. For example, you could add sensory elements to dementia and educational style gardens.
The above are some of the most common types of healing gardens you can create. Don’t forget, you can also tailor the design to match your individual preferences. A healing garden can be whatever you want it to be. Focus on including elements which spark calm and happiness.
All of these claims are backed by proof from doctors. If you’ve been a garden long enough you notice the effect nature has on your mental health. To learn more about the science behind this feeling, or as I like to think of it, a magical power that keeps luring me in, I recommend reading this article from Oliver Sacks from the New York Botanical Gardens.