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HEALTHY GARDENS

by Katrina Welch When most people are asked to describe their dream home, the list often begins with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms desired followed by other special rooms and unique design features. However, unless the person being asked is a staunch plant lover, the landscaping features around the home rarely make the cut for the dream home description. Yet, they should.

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HEALTHY  GARDENS

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Katrina Welch

When most people are asked to describe their dream home, the list often begins with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms desired followed by other special rooms and unique design features. However, unless the person being asked is a staunch plant lover, the landscaping features around the home rarely make the cut for the dream home description. Yet, they should.

Notwithstanding, the beauty which a well-kept landscape adds to the overall appearance and aesthetic of the home; green outdoor spaces are an important but overlooked part of maintaining your physical and mental health. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits:

• A Sanctuary for Relaxation

Have you ever sat in a garden and just taken in nature? Hearing the birds chirping as the wind rustles the leaves and gently caresses you can be therapeutic. A garden at home will afford you the opportunity to enjoy this every day.

During daylight hours, the garden space is enhanced by the warmth of the sunshine. If you are working remotely, having trees and shrubs to provide shade and privacy will make your garden the perfect workspace, as the natural air and sunshine can boost your productivity.

At night, the soft moonlight and slight chill to the air is a great way to unwind after a long day. Alone or with company, being in a garden under the stars is nature’s best gift for quiet relaxation. A place to de-stress at home will help to maintain good mental health.

• An Exercise Routine

Maintaining the landscaping around your home can be a full-time job.

Provided they are receiving an adequate amount of water and sunshine, the trees, grass and shrubs around your home will continue to grow. Therefore, they need consistent care in order to ensure they look nice and do not become an eyesore around your home.

The rigour involved in garden maintenance can offer a full body workout. Tasks such as trimming trees and shrubs, weeding the garden, raking leaves, digging holes and even moving back and forth are just a few examples of the workout offered by gardening.

Thus, much like exercise, gardening has both mental and physical benefits for the body.

• Noise Barriers

Did you know that trees can serve as a noise barrier around your home?

It is easy to become desensitised to the noise which invades your personal space. If you live in an area where there is nearby ongoing construction, an airport, several children and traffic, your home can be constantly bombarded by noise from one or more of these sources.

After a while, some people tend not to register the noise which is invading their space. However, for others who may not be used to the noise, this discomfort can cause sleep disturbances, increase stress levels and become a catalyst for a myriad of other health challenges.

Trees are therefore a good way to reduce these conditions caused by excessive noise pollution because they are able to absorb high frequency noises. It should be noted though that the level of effectiveness of this solution depends highly upon the density of the vegetation.

• Air Purification

Apart from reducing noise pollution, plants can also aid with reducing pollutants in the air around your home. All across the country, whether you live in rural or urban areas, there is always the threat to pure air created by passing vehicles, nearby factories, fires of different natures and a range of aerosol sprays in agriculture and within the household. These pollutants do not only cause discomfort and trigger certain conditions when they are inhaled, but over time they can cause a range of serious respiratory illnesses.

Trees around the home are a way to reduce the toxins in the atmosphere. As with noise pollution, they will not completely eliminate all the pollutants and their effectiveness is dependent on the density of the vegetation. However, trees do absorb chemicals such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide from the air thereby reducing the toxins in your environment.

So a garden around your home will have many benefits for your physical and mental well-being. If you already have one, get out there and enjoy it; but if you don’t, take a look around your outdoor space and identify areas where you can plant some trees and some shrubs. You won’t regret it. Your mind and body will thank you for it! (KW)

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