Richmond in BloomGardens 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

front garden

What can gardeners do?

Discover straightforward things you can do – including growing plants against walls, or on roofs; welcoming more wildlife; choosing appropriate plants for your driveway or considering the materials used when paving your drive or patio.

RHS research

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.)

RHS Front Garden Summit

A key part of our Greening Grey Britain Campaign is about transforming paved-over front gardens into beautiful, planted areas. Our Front Garden Summit focused attention on the negative effect this has on the environment and our welbeing, and asked: how we can turn our front gardens green again?

See videos of our Front Garden Summit debate at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on 24 May 2016.

Greening Grey Britain community projects

Volunteers planting roses in Kings Heath in BirminghamThere 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 Greening Grey Britain

Find an RHS Britain in Bloom and It's Your Neighbourhood group near you.

For more information see #greeninggreybritain or email

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We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.