Why is human health and well-being management important?
Studies demonstrate that the contact with nature afforded by gardens can reduce stress and improve overall health and well-being. Our gardens and home landscapes are where many of us have our only daily contact with outdoor, natural environments. This connection to the larger web of life is especially important to the more than 80 percent of Americans who live and work in highly urbanized areas. Even brief interludes in natural settings are mentally restorative, helping people stay focused and positive in their personal and professional lives. Also, physical activity and exercise can improve mental health by reducing feelings of depression and anxiety and promoting psychological well-being.
THE ROLE OF HEALTH IN A SUSTAINABLE GARDEN
Gardens and home landscapes provide spaces that are away from distractions, such as noise from mechanical systems, building and facility operations, and traffic. These spaces create a comforting sense of enclosure, and vegetation can break, guide, deflect or filter the noise and other less desirable environmental conditions, such as excessive winds or prolonged sun exposure. Gardens and home landscapes also enhance a multisensory aesthetic experience — consider the diverse sights, sounds and scents afforded by a grove of trees, a water feature and a patch of blooming flowers, not to mention the textures represented in bark and foliage, fruit and seeds. Gardens can be also be excellent places to display art and sculpture.
- Broad-leaved trees reduce noise more than conifers.
- Creative, meandering pathways maximize on-site physical activity.
- Implementing a food-producing garden can minimize one’s exposure to pesticide residues found on most conventionally grown, store-bought produce.
- Permanent and temporary art installations promote visual and aesthetic interest throughout the garden or home landscape.
More on Health
Home landscapes offer a place to gather with family and friends, a safe place for children to play, and a personal, quiet respite from the stresses of life. They offer opportunities for physical exercise, which can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers, and they provide places for mental restoration, which can reduce the risk of hypertension, mental fatigue and irritability. Plants in a home landscape cleanse the air we breathe, removing pollutants that trigger asthma and other respiratory illnesses and foster habitat for wildlife that provide other benefits.
Unsustainable vs. Sustainable Gardens:
How They Compare
- Often treated with synthetic pesticides and volatile organic compounds.
- Are sometimes designed without opportunities for physical exercise in mind.
- Outdoor fixtures waste energy and create light pollution.
- Use natural resources and materials to create a healthy environment for plants, animals and people.
- Provide opportunities for spending time in nature, which can reduce stress and improve emotional and physical well-being.
- Well-planned lighting and layouts provide better dark-sky environments for nocturnal wildlife.
GET STARTED WITH HEALTH
BECOME A LANDSCAPE FOR LIFE TEACHER!
Landscape For Life includes a complete kit of teaching resources which can be used to conduct classes in sustainable home gardening. New training opportunities coming in 2023!
Landscape For Life™ is a collaboration between Colorado State University Extension and the United States Botanic Garden based on the principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®).