Spending time in the #garden is positively associated with health and #wellbeing: Results from a national survey in England

Research has found that natural environments within urban areas are associated with benefits for human health and wellbeing. However, most studies have primarily focused on publically accessible green space. Less is known about domestic gardens, which in the UK comprise a high proportion of land cover in urban areas and could form a resource for health promotion.

This study analysed secondary data from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey, a representative survey of the English population (n = 7,814). We investigated the relationships between garden access and use and: general health; evaluative and eudaimonic wellbeing; meeting physical activity guidelines; and visiting nature in the last week. Statistical models included a range of individual and area-level socio-demographic variables.

Compared to no garden access, access to a private garden was associated with better evaluative wellbeing, and people with access to a private space such as a balcony, yard or patio were more likely to meet physical activity guidelines. Respondents who reported both gardening and using a garden to relax also reported better health and wellbeing, more physical activity, and more nature visits than those who did not.

These findings indicate that domestic gardens are a potential health resource and are not necessarily substituted for by other natural environments, highlighting the importance of their provision alongside green space in urban policy and planning.