Feeling lonely? The location of your garden could help.

By Meghan Overdeep
January 26, 2020

Gardening is linked to a whole host of health benefits, from a decrease in depression, anxiety, and body mass index, along with increases in quality of life, life satisfaction, and a sense of community.

But now, according to a recent study by the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), where you garden matters too.

New research presented at the Chelsea Flower Show in London over the weekend suggests that tending to a garden in your front yard—as opposed to your back yard—can help improve mental health and reduce loneliness. Why? The front yard is better for interacting with your community.

Horticulturalist Jo Thompson told The Telegraph that gardening at the front of your house rather than the back forces you into conversations with neighbors and creates a friendlier community.

“Being in the front of your garden gives you an excuse to meet people, we need to celebrate the front space,” she explained. “This space can be a social hub and help you connect with your neighbors.”

The study revealed that 39% of Brits turn to their gardens when they feel alone and more than half reported that they "enjoy" being surrounded by greenery, with 53% admitting it boosts their mood.

"A garden is one of those things that can give people purpose and hope,” professor Tim Kendall, the National Clinical Director for Mental Health at the NHS, told The Telegraph.

"Loneliness is a reality for all too many people. Some people can go days, weeks and months without talking to friends and family,” Kendall continued. “People suffer alone, and this can lead to drug misuse, alcoholism, eating disorders, heart disease, strokes and vascular dementia.”

Guy Barker, the Chief Horticulturalist at the RHS, agreed that gardening can go a long way towards improving mental health and combatting loneliness.

"It's a chance to meet new people, but nurturing plants can also make you less lonely and release you from your troubles for a little while,” he noted.