Having an outdoor space to tend to can be an exciting addition to any home. Whether that’s a garden, patio, allotment or hanging baskets, having a small bit of nature can be a rewarding hobby that will provide you with enjoyment for many years to come.
Whilst many of us will consider gardening to be the pastime of more mature adults, the truth is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Children might not appreciate the nuances of propagation, but they can enjoy digging up the soil, and help you collect any fruits or vegetables that you manage to grow.
But if you’re not already green-fingered, is taking up gardening worth the effort? We think so. In this post, we explain why it can positively affect your family, and hopefully encourage you to pick up your spade and start.
Firstly, there’s something to be said for sharing an interest in gardening with the rest of your family. We’re all individuals, so it’s normal to have separate hobbies and interests, but sharing one or two can help with family bonding, and give you something to talk about around the dinner table.
There’s something satisfying about working together to make something beautiful, or being able to serve homegrown veg to friends and family. Why not take the little ones outside with you to help with smaller tasks? You can give them a kid’s size tool to help you dig, or get them to help pat the soil down when you’re planting. If you’re feeling brave, give older children their own patch to tend, and talk with them about what they want to grow.
Whilst you might not end up with a garden fit for the Chelsea Flower Show, they’re sure to be proud of all their achievements, and it’s a great exercise in taking responsibility and learning a new skill.
Gardening is amazing for getting you moving, without it even feeling like hard work. Unlike slogging away on a treadmill in the gym, physical outdoor tasks keep your brain occupied at the same time, so that you’re keeping fit and healthy without even really thinking about it.
This healthy hobby boosts your cardiovascular fitness, as well as your strength – and is a low impact option, making it accessible to many people who might otherwise struggle. Especially for children who don’t want to participate in organised sport, or dislike long walks, gardening can be a way to ensure that they’re getting in some activity time towards their weekly recommended exercise time of 60 minutes.
An understanding of the natural world and a big dose of fresh air is a vital part of keeping mentally healthy, and therefore physically healthy as a result. In fact, 82% of adults reported that spending time outside made them feel happy, and in turn this will likely result in reduced stress levels, lowered blood pressure and an improved mood.
In a world where we are increasingly relying on technology, taking time to be away from screens and be more present in the moment can also leave us with a sense of calm. Nature can also remind us that we are a small part of a wider world, and help us process or get perspective on difficult situations. Especially if you have teens in your family who are sitting exams, or children who struggle at school, gardening can offer a change of pace that can help them relax.
Additionally, those who find their work or academic life difficult might just find that they’re good at practical tasks like growing vegetables and tending to flowers. This can boost their confidence and sense of self-esteem, and show them that not everyone needs to be book smart to enjoy life. Who knows – you may even inspire your child to make their newfound hobby their career one day!
Gardening is a beneficial activity for any family to take up, whether that’s growing herbs in pots, or tending to an allotment year-round. This shared hobby can instil a sense of achievement and pride, as well as allowing everyone to take a break from their screens and get back to nature.