Gardens For Health, Wealth, And Happiness

Ilona Erwin

Those of us who garden don’t have to be convinced about the benefits of making and having a garden. But for the rest of those who might be sitting on the fence and doubting whether the effort and time spent on landscaping is worth it, here are a few ways that your yard might just contribute to your own better health, greater wealth, and the general happiness levels.

Gardens Promote Good Health

All that work, which can be satisfying and invigorating in itself, goes towards the exercise recommendations that promote your health and longevity. For the general adult population that adds up to about 2 hours and thirty minutes of moderate aerobic activity plus 2 or more days that include muscle strengthening activity. So say the guidelines from the Centers For disease Control And Prevention.

Gardening can easily accommodate the fulfillment of those goals with regular mowing, carting a wheelbarrow full of amendments to your flower beds, and hauling a load of weeds back to the compost pile. Give the compost some turning with a compost fork, dig or hoe a bit and you will find you have had a great workout. All while enjoying fresh air and a bit of sunshine! Gardening is rated as “moderate exercise”.

Photo credit: puravida

Tips to get the most health benefit from your garden activities:

  • Stretch before you garden, this is a good idea to warm up muscles and generally increase flexibility, no matter what physical activity you embark upon.
  • Lend concentration to the act of breathing deeply. This should not be difficult when surrounded by the fragrance of sweet flowers and the good earth.
  • Use simple actions of digging and raking in a way that increases your range of motion… stretch a little further, switch legs and arm movements.

One thing I learned about exercise from my workout videos is that if you purposefully maximize the motion ( “put your back into it”, etc) you can burn up to 500 calories an hour. Normal garden activities at the usual pace will burn more around 100-200 calories per hour. No matter how you do it, you are working out for physical fitness; the beautiful yard you are creating is part of the reward too. And that has its own rewards.

Gardens Add Wealth

I’m not talking just about a few tomatoes, although trimming your grocery bill while bettering your diet has its assets. The curb appeal of a well landscaped yard can increase the value of your home, making more attractive to buyers and often garnering a higher selling price. Tips for increasing your home’s curb appeal are easy enough to follow.

curb appeal

Charming home accented with plantings
Source: photo by jade

A Few Quick Ways To Improve Curb Appeal:

  • Prune trees and shrubs, don’t let things look overgrown.
  • Edge walkways and garden beds, a clean cut edging works wonders for the appearance.
  • Pick up trash, toys, and tools. don’t let your stuff clutter up the way a potential buyer, or visitor, sees your place.

Trees add more than mere wealth in your bank account, but they will pay their way in reducing utility costs and adding comfort to a home. Trees reduce the costs for air conditioning while sheltering from windy blasts in winter. Deciduous trees are best for their cooling effects, while evergreens are best for their winter wind blocking ability.

Proper landscaping can save the average household $100 to $250 annually in heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A landscaping investment of about $1,500 could pay off in six years.

Backyard Garden

Add Happiness To Your World

Even though happiness is a difficult result to pin down in facts and figures, correlations have been found between human happiness and horticultural havens. Just a view of trees is useful in reducing stress, while there is new evidence that tree loss, such as we experienced with the Emerald borer, is linked with greater cardiovascular events and respiratory problems.[1]

Gardening led to greater reductions in the stress hormone cortisol. – a 2011 study

Tending plants is therapeutic, and not only in a perceived way, but in real measurable results. The garden can be a place of calm and repose for helping the mind rest amid the restorative powers of nature. Some gardens are created just for such places of serenity.

Circular garden pool

What my garden means to me

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.