Mental Health Benefits of Gardening at Home

Greater Toronto’s population of nearly seven million (2022) makes it the largest city in Canada by population. However, the city is also often considered one of the “greenest” Canadian cities, due partly to Torontonians’ love for gardens and gardening.

Home gardening isn’t only good exercise. It can also provide benefits for improved mental health and wellness. Such benefits are associated with neurotransmitters, the chemical signal-senders affecting mental balance.

Gardening May Improve Mood

If you have the blues, then work with greens! Research shows that outdoor activities may provide cognitive improvements, including improved mood.

One factor is the potential calming effect of “cool colors.” The cool colors include blue, green, purple, and variations of those hues.

Research shows that such colors may create a calming effect in people. For example, blue skies, green grass, and violet flowers may help you keep calm.

Meanwhile, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that research has established a strong link between physical exercise and mood improvements. You may experience a better mood within five minutes of moderate exercise.

Gardening May Boost Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is how much a person perceives the way they describe and evaluate themselves as positive.

Helping a plant grow during its entire life cycle is a major task. So, when you see the fruits of your labor, your self esteem will improve.

Home gardening can be a rewarding experience. However, even expert gardeners with a “green thumb” may experience possible issues including:

● Weeds in the garden
● Over-watering
● Ineffective irrigation system
● Poor drainage
● Insufficient lawn care
● Little grass in shady areas
● Soil-turning and leaf-raking

Newer gardeners may struggle with these possible problems. However, improving their skills and maintaining a positive attitude may help boost how positively they feel about their abilities.

Gardening May Improve Attention Span

Gardening requires people to focus on performing one activity. It can provide a break from multitasking in your daily life. Modern life can require you to focus on multiple goals, tasks, and conversations.

Maintaining a garden requires you to focus on the task you’re doing. So you can limit distractions while growing plants.

A medical study published in the American Journal of Public Health examined how natural or “green” settings may help relieve the symptoms of attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD can make it difficult for children to focus or control behavior. It’s estimated that 2.1% of Canadian children aged six to 11 years old show symptoms of ADHD.

In the study, parents reported the effects of 49 after-school and weekend activities on children with ADHD. The researchers noted the greatest decrease in ADHD symptoms was from the green outdoor activities.

Gardening May Provide Mental Benefits Through Exercise

Home gardening involves various activities such as digging, weeding, and raking. These physical activities may provide physical benefits related to body parts, including the heart, lungs, and muscles.

However, studies also show that physical exercise may help relieve symptoms of various mental conditions. A study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry studied the possible anti-anxiety effects of exercise and physical activity.

The researchers reported that past studies show that exercise may reduce anxiety in clinical settings. They also suggested that further research is required on the possible anti-anxiety effects of exercise on anxiety disorders.

Additional research is also needed on the possible effects of home gardening on people with anxiety disorders.

A study examined the possible effect of exercise to help prevent dementia. Dementia is a group of symptoms that may greatly affect a person’s thinking, memory, and social abilities.

The researchers reported that exercising for one hour, three times per week, for 48 months may reduce worsening memory in people at risk of dementia.

Gardening May Strengthen Social Bonds

Gardening may also include group settings such as community gardening. Research shows that social support may have a positive effect on people’s mental health.

More research is needed on the possible benefit of community gardening on mental health.

Past studies show that home gardening may provide a wide range of mental health benefits. Your mental wellness may benefit whether you’re a new plant-grower or gardening guru.

Interested in purchasing equipment? Be sure to check out our equipment sponsor, GARDENA!

Written by Pamela Foster


  1. Nurtured by nature
  2. Warm and Cool Colors: What Are They, How They Are Used & Psychology
  3. The exercise effect
  4. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed
  5. Anxiety and depression in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic: A
    national survey.
  6. Self-esteem
  7. Self-Esteem and Academic Engagement Among Adolescents: A Moderated
    Mediation Model
  8. A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
    Disorder: Evidence From a National Study
  9. Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety
  10. Physical exercise for prevention of dementia (EPD) study: background,
    design and methods
  11. The correlation of social support with mental health: A meta-analysis
  12. Statistics Canada

Further Reading

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