Gardens play a crucial role in urban and suburban areas, and potentially will become even more important in the future as our climate changes. From helping protect us against flooding and extremes of temperature, to supporting wildlife and helping gardeners to be healthy, gardens can provide an amazing range of benefits.
The phrase ‘greening' simply means growing plants wherever possible in towns and cities. Each individual may only have a small garden but, together, the amount of green space we look after really adds up – it’s about 25% of the land in most cities. We really can make a difference by ensuring that every available space in our front and back garden contains planting.
Benefits of Greening Grey Britain
The benefits of greening urban areas include:
Improved air cooling, making it more bearable in towns and cities in hot weather
Insulation of buildings by garden vegetation
Improved air quality
Storm water mitigation which helps to reduce garden flooding
A source of habitats for wildlife
Improved health for plants and people who garden more
What can gardeners do?
Discover four straightforward things you can do – including growing plants against walls, or on roofs; welcoming more wildlife; or considering the materials used when paving your drive or patio.
We are helping by supporting research into how to maximise the part plants can play and we have produced a number of reports exploring the issue. Read more about our scientific review of urban greening.
We are also involved in many urban greening projects that can help gardeners have a greater understanding of the environment around them, and how to get the best out of their plants.
A fully peer-reviewed version of the urban greening science review was published in 2012 (R Cameron, T Blanusa, J Taylor, A Salisbury, A Halstead, B Henricot, K Thompson, 2012, The Domestic Garden - Its Contribution to Urban Green Infrastructure, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 11 (2), 129 - 137.)
Greener Streets: Better Lives community projects
There are thousands of community groups already ‘greening’ their local environment around the UK. Participants in the RHS Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood campaigns, make positive changes to the places they live and work. This means everything from establishing and caring for community gardens, to renovating run-down patches, tackling litter and introducing neighbourhood recycling. There are also more than 2,800 gardening clubs and societies affiliated to the RHS who organise gardening activities in their area.
Find out more about community campaign Greener Streets: Better Lives.
Find an RHS Britain in Bloom and It's Your Neighbourhood group near you.