9 years ago


Gardeners are happier than non-gardeners and gardeners are less likely to display signs associated with unhappiness or depression.

Gardeners’ World Magazine, the market leading gardening title, announces the results of a four-month research project and the largest UK consumer study of gardening and mood ever conducted, including an ICM survey of 1,500 people.

The study found that gardeners score better than the average person on all positive measures, including how satisfied they are with their lives nowadays, to what extent do they feel the things in their life are worthwhile and how happy did they feel yesterday. 80% of gardeners feel satisfied with their lives, versus 67% for non-gardeners. The study also included in-depth qualitative interviews and secondary research.

According to Lucy Hall, editor of Gardeners’ World Magazine: “We have long suspected it, but our research means we can definitely say, gardening makes you happy. Part of it comes from nurturing something and also a natural optimism that no matter how bad the weather, there’s always next year. It’s also about passing the seed of knowledge and the pleasure that it gives. It was interesting to note that those who garden with children or grandchildren score more positively than those who don’t. For those who do this regularly, the difference is significant, showing a relationship between frequency of doing so and happiness.”

According to Jules Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex:

“Scientific research at a number of universities, including at the University of Essex, now clearly shows that engagement with green places is good for personal health. We also know that short-term mental health improvements are protective of long-term health benefits.  We thus conclude that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with what we at Essex call green exercise. Gardening falls into this category – it is good for both mental and physical health, and all social and age groups benefit. It provides a dose of nature.”


The formula for happiness lies not just in gardening but in the type of hobby you have. Gardening, visiting gardens, swimming, photography and running consistently score better than having no hobby on all measures of happiness asked, with gardening and visiting gardens the best.

Some of the other key findings were:

  • There is a high correlation between being active and happy. When asked if they were happy yesterday 80% of active people said yes, compared to 57% for people who described themselves as inactive.
  • People with no hobbies are the least happy. Only 55% are satisfied with their lives. Even for those with hobbies, gardeners score more positively on all measures than non gardeners.
  • 93% of gardeners think gardening improves their mood.
  • The more keen a gardener you are, the more positive your outlook is likely to be, 87% well being, versus 80%.
  • Scotland and the North West are consistently more positive than other parts of the country (83% and 79%) versus an average of 72% with the South West least happy (70%).
  • The most popular hobby in the UK is computing/ gaming 52% with any gardening coming joint second with 43% alongside walking/ hiking.

In this month’s Gardeners’ World Magazine, on sale now, priced £3.90, change the way you see your garden, with an 15-page section on how to turn your plot into a wildlife haven.

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