Gardening is a hobby that offers a surprising amount of health benefits. It provides stress relief, physical activity, and stimulation of the brain, not to mention that it beautifies your yard and can provide food. It can even be a great therapy for people with depression or who are recovering from addiction because of its built-in, mood-boosting benefits of exercise and fresh air. While some people have ample yard space, some people live an apartment, townhome, or condo. If you’re in the nearly-yardless crowd, don’t fret. You can reap the benefits of gardening no matter what kind of yard you have.
Health Benefits of Gardening
Although it may not seem like it, gardening is considered a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, and putting in 150 minutes of this type of exercise a week improves health in a multitude of ways. Gardening uses the entire body while you dig, plant, weed, prune, and water. As an added benefit, food-producing gardens supply fruits and vegetables to help you maintain a well-balanced diet.
Gardening can also help you relax by relieving stress, and it can improve your overall mental health. As if that weren’t enough, gardening also exercises your brain. “Planning the layout of the garden, researching different plants that thrive in various climates and soils, and learning gardening techniques encourage us to think through problems, devise solutions, and be creative,” says Alive.
If your yard is large, you can plant enough to feed you and your family fruits and vegetables throughout each season. You can also add flower beds and plant trees. While we all know the sky’s the limit if your yard is large, there are tricks to creating a garden in every space, even if you have no yard at all.
Gardens for Small Yards
Just because you have a small backyard doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of a home garden; you just need to be creative about how you plant items and how you utilize your space. If you’ve got an old tree stump in your backyard, it’s a free and easy-to-use planter. Don’t be afraid to create a water feature just because your yard is small. You can also create a small and temporary deck using snap-in deck tiles.
To make your backyard appear larger and add a unique and artsy touch, hang vintage mirrors. If you’re looking for a mini gardening shed, repurpose old doors and windows. It’ll create a shed that’s just large enough for your essential tools, like a rake, hoe, gloves, and potting soil.
Gardens for Barely-There Yards or No Yard At All
Condos and apartments often have concrete or brick patios, which can make you long for the sight of green grass. Adding a faux-grass rug gives you a pop of green and makes your patio appear larger. Terrariums are easy to build, require little maintenance, and can be added to an outdoor garden or kept inside for a mini indoor garden. Stack round planters to grow herbs.
Urban gardening is made easy with rectangular planters, and if you tier the planters, you’ll maximize ground space. You just need to adjust the depth of the planter based on what you’re planting. You can easily grow a vegetable garden in tiered planters. For example, basil, radishes, and lettuce prefer a depth of four to five inches, while carrots, cucumbers, and rosemary prefer a depth of eight to nine. To grow garlic, mint, or onions, you’ll need six to seven inches, and broccoli, potatoes, squash, and lemongrass prefer 10 to 12.
Who says gardens have to be horizontal? Pallets can be turned up and used as a shelving unit for potted plants. Use a trellis, tin cans, and pot hangers to create another unique vertical garden. Utilize fences and walls as well. A rectangular plastic tray can be divided into planting cells for a succulent garden that doubles as artwork. A plank of wood and mason jars create an herb garden that can also be displayed inside in your kitchen.
Don’t forget about hanging plants. While you can use hanging baskets, to add a little creative touch, consider using colorful colanders. Inverted tomato vines are hung as well and can be made from upcycled plastic bottles. If you have old wicker baskets, they can be repurposed as hanging baskets, and different sized baskets can be tiered to save even more space.
While having a large yard opens up the door to endless gardening possibilities, your options are anything but limited if you have a small yard or don’t have one at all. You just have to get creative and think outside the box. Regardless of what kind of yard your garden is in, this hobby will benefit your health immensely.