The South West London Gardener

The Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening in the City

garden bench inbetween trees

Living in a built-up city such as London can often feel like a whirlwind. With its constant movement, bustling streets, and never-ending noise, it can be hard to find a tranquil spot to relax.

Yet, amidst the towering buildings, a growing number of London residents are turning to the practice of gardening to find a bit of peace.

Not just a hobby, gardening in a city offers a multitude of therapeutic benefits that can significantly improve the quality of life.

Here at the Southwest London Gardener, we have seen first-hand the wonders that gardening can do, and we’ve created this blog to tell you more.

Let’s take a look.

Gardening as a Therapeutic Activity

Humans have an innate need to connect with nature, a concept known as biophilia.

This connection is often compromised in urban environments, leading to what some researchers call “nature deficit disorder.”

Gardening offers a remedy to this by bringing a piece of nature into the heart of the city.

The act of gardening immerses you in a natural setting, even if it’s just a small balcony or rooftop garden, providing a break from the urban grind and a much-needed breath of fresh air.

This can have profound therapeutic effects, enhancing both mental and emotional well-being.

Mental Health Benefits of City Gardening

Gardening has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The repetitive, mindful activities involved in gardening, such as planting, weeding, and watering, can be meditative, helping to calm the mind and reduce anxiety.

Additionally, the sense of accomplishment from seeing plants grow and thrive can boost self-esteem and combat feelings of depression.

Imagine you’re standing in a garden, enjoying the fruits of your labour burst into colour around you. Or you’re sitting in the sun on a lovely new patio that you installed.

Feel relaxed yet?

Being out in a garden is your own slice of peace, no matter how built up the area around you is, so spending time tending to it and making it just right is essential for boosting mental health.

Physical Health Benefits of City Gardening

Gardening is not just beneficial for mental health; it also offers numerous physical health benefits.

The physical activities involved in gardening, such as digging, planting, and pruning, provide a form of low-impact exercise that can improve overall fitness.

In fact, calories burned doing common gardening tasks such as pulling weeds and planting flowers, can be as high as 200 – 400 an hour.

It’s a great way to keep fit that is both enjoyable and advantageous.

It’s also great for building muscle.

Activities like turning soil, weeding, and carrying water cans or bags of soil work various muscle groups, enhancing strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Moreover, spending time outdoors in natural light helps the body produce vitamin D, essential for bone health and immune function.

And the benefits don’t stop there. Regular exposure to fresh air and sunlight can also improve sleep patterns and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

So, what has this got to do with living in London?

Well, most people who live here find it hard to squeeze in workouts or don’t enjoy commuting to and from a gym.

Gardening is your own workout zone that is handily attached to your London home, making it quick, convenient, and most importantly, fun to exercise.

vertical gardening

Social Benefits

Beyond individual benefits, big city gardening fosters social connections and strengthens community bonds.

Community gardens, in particular, serve as social hubs where people from diverse backgrounds come together to share resources, knowledge, and a love for gardening.

There are plenty of these throughout London, and we’ve even highlighted some of the best places to visit in Wandsworth, Wimbledon, London, Teddington, and beyond in our blog.

These spaces encourage collaboration, create a sense of belonging, and help combat the social isolation often experienced in large cities.

Stories from gardeners that we speak to who are based in and around London often highlight the friendships and community bonds formed through gardening, and we love meeting like-minded people who love nothing more than spending a weekend tending to their outside space.

Practical Tips for Urban Gardening

Starting an urban garden may seem daunting, but with a few practical tips, anyone can turn even the smallest space into a thriving green oasis. Here are five great ways to get gardening, even if you live in London and have limited space:

  • Container Gardening: Use pots, planters, and other containers to grow plants. This method is ideal for balconies, patios, and windowsills which are bathed in sunlight and ideal for growing.
  • Vertical Gardens: Maximise limited space by growing plants vertically using trellises, wall-mounted planters, or hanging baskets. Not just a handy way of getting more plants into your garden, but also great for decoration.
  • Rooftop Gardens: If you have access to a rooftop, consider transforming it into a garden space. Ensure the roof can support the weight and use lightweight soil mixes.
  • Community Gardens: Join a local community garden if you lack space at home. These gardens offer shared plots and resources and can be a great way of meeting fellow gardeners.
  • Herb Gardens: You don’t have to start big. Something as simple as a herb garden, which requires minimal space and provides fresh herbs for cooking, is a great introduction to gardening.

London Gardening with The Southwest London Gardener

Urban gardening is more than just a trend; it’s a powerful tool for enhancing mental, physical, and social well-being.

By cultivating green spaces in the heart of the city, urban residents can find a much-needed refuge from the stresses of urban life.

So why not grab a trowel, plant some seeds, and start reaping the rewards of big-city gardening today?

Or, if you simply want a fresh renovation to your outside space, then contact our team today, who will be happy to help transform your garden.