Gardens are good for you: why gardening keeps you healthy!

Garden love: why gardening is good for your health

Gardening has a great many benefits for our physical and mental health, whether you grow colourful flowers on your balcony or devote all your free time to caring for your garden. Judging by the recent rush on garden centres and DIY stores, gardening in Switzerland seems to be a popular hobby that is not just fun but, as many studies have demonstrated, is also good for you.

“Gardening means doing something that is not just good for the garden, but is good for you too.”

Reasons why gardening is good for our health:

Gardening is physical activity: Regular, moderate-intensity physical activity is important for physical and mental health. Working in your garden is a good alternative to playing sports or other physical activities, such as walking or weightlifting, because of the opportunities to move in many different ways. Varied gardening activities such as hoeing, digging, stooping, watering, planting, sowing and weeding count as moderate to intensive physical activity. These activities strengthen various different muscles and, incidentally, also burn calories. What is more, gardening is often a more attractive activity for many people than cycling or walking, for example.
Studies prove that gardening regularly reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Gardening reduces stress: Various studies show that gardening is very good at lowering stress. This can be ascribed both to the physical activity inherent in gardening, and to being outside in a green space, which is relaxing, calming and beneficial to our wellbeing. Physical work in the garden can banish stress, but just sitting in your garden, or on a balcony with plants or a green terrace, with no physical effort, also has a demonstrably positive effect on our wellbeing. Gardeners frequently emphasised the change of pace when gardening, in line with natural cycles, on top of the physical activity, in various different studies. “Slowing the pace” is something gardeners often talk about.

Gardening boosts your mood: Various scientific studies have proved that gardening every day positively affects your mood and your zest for life. Working outdoors also means working in sunlight, which demonstrably boosts physical and mental health. Sunlight promotes the formation of vitamin D, which is essential for our immune systems and our blood pressure, and also positively boosts our mood.

Gardening brings people together: Working in the garden often has a social aspect. Relationships are frequently formed over garden fences and balcony railings, or in allotments, and social networks are established. Even a conflict between neighbours about the height of the hedge, or a discussion about the noise made by the lawnmower can bear positive fruits if amicably resolved, and even result in a friendship. Because we are social beings, this aspect of gardening is important for us and for our mental and physical health.

Gardening promotes a balanced diet: If you have a kitchen or herb garden, you produce the healthiest foods. According to studies, kitchen gardeners tend to eat more fruit and vegetables, which is good for their health. When children are actively involved in their school garden, they show a greater preference for fruit and vegetables over other sorts of food. If you do not use chemical fertilisers in your own garden or raised beds, your harvest will be generally free of pesticides, which will in turn be better for your health. Furthermore, kitchen gardeners often seem to be more adventurous with different foods and consequently are frequently better able to tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods than non-gardeners.

Gardening is mindful: Gardening is an activity that stimulates all our senses and is therefore likely to help us concentrate on the here and now. The sensory perceptions of seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing and tasting when gardening create a unique awareness of place, which allow us to enter a so-called flow state more quickly than with other activities. People say that time flies by when they work with plants and flowers, and that they can feel their everyday problems fading into the background. Contact with nature seems to be an innate human need and is important for a healthy life.

Off to (raised) bed!

If you are a rookie gardener, here are a few tips for you, so you can escape everyday life for a while and enjoy time in the garden:

  • Gardening guides : Here you will find 30 different gardening guides, designed by experts, with all the important information about gardening that you require – no need to pore over fat books!
  • Helping and supporting reptiles : Promoting and maintaining reptile habitats is important. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps. Would you like to give something back to nature? Then build reptile-friendly structures in your garden.
  • Urban gardening in school: DThe GORILLA school programme provides different documents about gardening with children. If you would like to create a raised bed, for example, and need simple technical instructions, you will find them here here.
  • • 5 tips for accident-free gardening : Gardening is not always entirely safe. According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, approximately 14,000 people are injured while gardening each year. You can avoid accidents in the garden with these few simple tips.


Alaimo, K., Packnett, E., Miles, R. A. & Kruger, D. J. (2008). Fruit and vegetable intake among urban community gardeners. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 40 (2).
Armstrong, D. (2001). A survey of community gardens in upstate New York: implications for health promotion and community development. Health & Place, 6 (4).
Corrigan, M. P. (2011). Growing what you eat: Developing community gardens in Baltimore, Maryland. Applied Geography, 41 (4).
Hale, J., Knapp, C., Bardwell, L., Buchenau, M., Marshall, J., Sancar, F. & Litt, J. S. (2011). Connecting food environments and health through the relational nature of aesthetics: gaining insight through the community gardening experience. Social Science & Medicine, 72 (11).
Sogan, M., Gaston, K. J. & Yamaura, Y. (2016). Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. Preventive Medicine Reports, 5.
Tzoulas, K., Korpela, K., Venn, S. Yli-Pelkonen, V., Kazmierczak, A., Niemela, J. & James, P. (2007). Promoting ecoystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review. Landscape and Urban Planning, 81 (3).
Van den Berg, A. E., van Winsum-Westra, M., de Vries, S. & van Dillen, S. (2010). Allotment gardening and health: A comparative survey among allotment gardeners and their neighbors without an allotment. Environmental Health, 9 (74).

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