Green space makes us feel better, fact. As a nation, we're becoming aware of the impact nature and green spaces have on our physical and mental well-being but it's not all rosy in our front gardens. They're disappearing at an alarming rate - more than 4.5 million of them contain no plants at all, and a quarter of front gardens are now totally paved over.
Despite multiple studies that show the positive effects of green spaces, very little work as been done on front gardens - until now. Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui, RHS PhD student at the University of Sheffield is researching the therapeutic effects of front gardens.
You only have to look at the popularity of nature play groups or the success of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening to see that there is a huge appetite for all kinds of interaction with plants and the natural world, and we see it as an important part of our children's education. We're still very much a nation of gardeners - RHS membership has increased by 100,000 over the past five years.
Recently Lauriane asked the nation whether they had a garden or not and the responses went on to form part of our Campaign to green Great Britain and Lauriane’s wider research project, which includes greening front gardens that are currently paved over, and monitoring the health and well-being changes of residents over the course of a year.
Thank you to everybody who took the time to respond to Lauriane's questionnaires. The results from the questionnaires and the wider project will be shared when they have passed through the scientific peer-review process for publication.
“I aim to give value to the health and socio-cultural benefits of front gardens to residents and the wider community. This is a crucial part of curbing the trend of disappearing front gardens” she says.
How can I help?
Whether you have a tiny windowsill to transform with a pot or you’re working on a bigger project – anyone can make a transformation, no matter what size.
To get involved, simply start transforming a grey space in your community or at home with plants. It could be your own front garden, an empty concrete corner, an ugly alleyway or a boring stretch of tarmac that would benefit from new planting. Or it could be a green space that you improve for wildlife by adding more nectar and pollen-rich plants. We have plenty of ideas to inspire you
Start greening your outdoor space now!
Do front garden landscapes influence health and well-being?
Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui1, Ross Cameron1, Jenny Roe2, Alistair Griffiths3 and Paul Alexander3
1 University of Sheffield
2 University of Virginia
3 Royal Horticultural Society