Get the gardening low-down on lockdown

A survey of 2000 people in the UK has revealed just how much the British public has appreciated their gardens, balconies and courtyards during lockdown

The RHS-commissioned survey by OnePoll has revealed that 7 out of 10 of us consider that having a garden has helped our mental health during lockdown with everyday activities such as weeding, mowing and watering cited as having a positive impact. In addition, 60% of respondents felt that their physical health has benefited from the opportunity to garden.

Interestingly, the larger the garden the respondent had, the more positive their response to the value of gardens. In total, 59% of people with 10 sq metres or less felt a garden/outdoor space has helped their mental health during lockdown, compared to 72% of people with 11–50 sq metres and 79% with 301sq metres and more. Regardless of square footage though, just over half of all respondents said they will value their garden more in the future and 57% value their gardens more now than prior to lockdown.

Garden as therapy

In response to the survey results, gardening expert Monty Don said: “We garden to nurture our little corner of nature but just as importantly, to nourish our souls and more and more people are tapping into [gardening’s] healing power.

“Plant a seed that becomes a beautiful flower and your life is immeasurably enriched. Simply sit in a garden and listen to the birds and the world is set in a perspective that is empowering. Gardens are fun and beautiful and rewarding – but much more than that, gardens are desperately important and we need them now more than ever for our physical and mental wellbeing.”

Now that our attention is focussed on home during lockdown, it’s clear that outside space has been balm to many.

Of those who have no outside space, 67% say they would add it to their wish list when they next move home.

Rethinking contemporary housing models

Sue Biggs, Director General of the RHS, said: “Following lockdown one of the biggest concerns in the UK is going to be people’s mental health. With our research showing that 70% of people feel their gardens have helped their mental health during this time, the RHS is urging developers, local planners and the Government to value gardens as much as the public do. 

“Houses are getting larger, but this must not be to the detriment of gardens and outside space. The Government’s target to build 300,000 homes should now stipulate that they must have either gardens – private or communal – or a balcony. This new research shows that any outside space is a valued resource for our mental and physical health. Now, more than ever, we know we need more outside space at home. The Government has a huge opportunity to make a positive difference to the long-term mental and physical health of our nation.”
Houseplants have also proved to be of value too, with 34% of owners saying that they value them more now during this time of lockdown.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.