Why landscaping is important for your wellbeing

 In Garden Design, Landscaping, Uncategorised

One of the benefits of landscaping your garden is that it will work wonders for your wellbeing. Find out more in this blog.

Rather than spout on about pretty flowers and forest bathing, I’m going to start this article with a bit of science.  Psychology to be precise.  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is one of the theories used by psychologists to explain how fulfilling basic needs helps you to achieve a feeling of wellbeing – happiness.

The theory is usually presented in a pyramid shaped diagram.  The things that Maslow considers most important for survival form the base of the pyramid. And the thing that we all strive for in some shape or form – peace and happiness – is at the pinnacle of the pyramid.

Gardens, landscapes and outdoor spaces fit onto every level of the diagram. At least I think they do.

rainbow coloured diagram showing Maslows hierachy of needs

 Landscaping For Your Physiological Needs

The bottom line of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – the bit that supports everything else in life refers to our physiological needs.  Basic food, water, fresh air, exercise etc. The next step up is safety.

Whilst not everyone uses their garden as a source of food, we all benefit from being able to get outside and breathe fresh air.  Plants play an enormous part in improving air quality and a landscaped garden enables each and every one of us to grow aesthetically pleasing plants that are easily managed.

We tend to associate exercise with strenuous activity – pounding the streets, hitting the gym or stretching our bodies into weird and wonderful yoga poses. But when it comes to wellbeing. A gentle stroll around the garden can be really beneficial.  

Filling your lungs with fresh air and moving your limbs will help to circulate oxygen to every cell in your body – from your brain and your gut to your fingers and toes.  A well thought out garden will entice you out of the house to breathe, stretch and use your body the way that Mother Nature intended.

Anyone who suffers from SAD (seasonal affected disorder) can tell you that spending time outdoors in the winter time is crucial to combat the symptoms of this awful condition.  If you have a lovely landscaped garden, perhaps with a shelter to retreat into on cold wet days, then you are more likely to head outside. Even a few minutes a day can make a big difference to your winter wellbeing.

garden doorway inviting visitors to explore more

This garden feature frames the view over the countryside and also invites you to walk further into the garden and enjoy spending time outdoors

Safety And Security

I think that COVID has all made us much more aware of safety issues.  Of course a good, strong boundary fence can’t keep viruses out. But it can make you feel more secure.  It’s a buffer between you and the outside world.  And if you are privileged enough to have pets – you’ll be needing a fence to keep them safely in the garden and away from potential thieves.

According to Maslow, people want to experience order, predictability and control in their lives. Which is possibly why we arrange our homes and gardens in a way that feels comfortable to us. A neglected, out of control garden, goes against our need to manage our surroundings.  Even if ‘management’ involves re-wilding areas to support wildlife, we all have a level of tolerance. There’s a fine line between “windswept and interesting” and “horrible mess”

Use landscaping and garden design to create a space that makes YOU feel safe and contributes to your overall wellbeing.

A Sense Of Belonging

Maslow feels that it’s important for each and every one of us to feel as though we belong in the world. Again, how we achieve that is different for each and every one of us.  Some like to party, be part of a crowd or flock to busy places. Others prefer smaller, more cosy gatherings.

Your garden can help you to feel part of the wider world.  Invite friends and family to share a coffee or a meal with you in the garden. Post pictures of your plants etc on social media, Use your garden as a topic of conversation – there are more gardener’s out there than you can ever imagine.

summerhouse with patio

An outdoor shelter means that you can enjoy the garden whatever the weather. Pop a heater in here and it could provide a wonderful antidote to the winter blues

Self Esteem

When we think about wellbeing, we’re often referring to self esteem.  How we feel about ourselves affects confidence and can be a factor in mental health issues too.

Maslow classified esteem needs into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).

Interestingly, Maslow also indicates that the need for respect or reputation is most important for children and adolescents and precedes real self-esteem or dignity.

How would landscaping your garden benefit your (of your family’s) self esteem? Will it add value to your property and therefore your own self-worth? Would a landscaped garden make you feel more confident to invite people to your home?

sloping garden with broad steps and ballustrades

Broad steps,sturdy hand rails and resting places mean that your garden feels safe who are less confident in their mobility

Self Actualisation

Maslow (1943) describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. It’s a difficult concept for some to grasp – it’s not arrogance or a desire to show off….those could be perceived as a symptom of low self esteem – but self actualisation is the pinnacle of wellbeing.  It’s feeling comfortable in your own skin, confident that your goals are achievable and – well – happy.

In summary: Landscaping IS Good For Your Wellbeing

Wellbeing is something that we all strive for in our lives. And it’s something that we want for our loved ones too.  Could landscaping your garden help improve wellbeing amongst you, your friends and your family? Absolutely it could.

Take a look at some of my garden designs. They are all created with practical considerations in mind (easy access, manageable maintenance etc) but I also try to think about my clients’ needs for wellbeing.

By including features such as beautiful planting, sturdy steps and/or ramps, resting places, points of interest and sensory experiences, I try to make sure that each and every SilverBirch garden will become a little piece of paradise for its owner.

beautiful garden to look forward to

Outdoor lighting makes for a unique place to entertain friends and family

Need help landscaping your garden to improve your wellbeing?

Call me today to discuss a garden design that will help you to reach the Self Actualisation level on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Check out some of my past garden design and build projects here.

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spring flowers3d render of a garden design with pond in the foreground then a series of circular lawns leading to a pergola