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Investing in your outdoor space is an investment in your wellbeing

February 5, 2021 | Mariel Roe

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Investing in your outdoor space is an investment in your wellbeing

Be it a windowsill, balcony, or garden – make a big deal out of your small space

 

The recent weeks have really created a stark contrast between those with gardens and those without; between those living in urban areas and those within walking distance of more rural spaces. We have all been united by our longing for access to some green and pleasant land – of any kind

 

Our access to outdoor space has become intrinsically linked to our well-being, with daily walks acting as a mental and literal breath of fresh air for so many of us. Here in London, situations vary widely. Outdoor space can be a real lottery and totally dependent on your area. For the most part, we have had to make do with what our property allows. For some of us, that could be a decent-sized garden. For others, it’s the potted plant on the windowsill.

 

Whatever your situation, we have some tips for you…

 

Small garden? Get planning & create zones

Maximise a small space with some careful planning. Creating small zones in your urban garden will add variety and the illusion of more space. As an example, you could section off a small patch for veggies, a pebbled miniature zen garden and a seating area.

 

Just a terrace? Use planters & plant pots

If all you are working with is a concrete terrace – fear not. Stock up on as many planters and plant pots that will fit in your small area. They tend to be cheap, portable and do not take up much room.

 

Not even a balcony? Invest in indoor plants

In a less-than leafy urban area, sometimes you must bring nature to you. My personal favourite house plants include the peace lily (cheap, cheerful, low-maintenance), the bonsai (elegant, mysterious, zen), the pothos (fast-growing, unfussy, bright) and some plain old ivy – it looks beautiful in a hanging pot, left to grow and dangle downwards.

 

Brighten up concrete areas with colour

If your outdoor space is more concrete than leafy, inject some colour into it with flowers. Again, if you do not have space for an actual flower bed, invest in some cheap and cheerful flowerpots. Peonies are bright and perky and have the bonus of being drought and slug resistant.

 

Start your own herb garden

As well as being inexpensive, plentiful, and low maintenance, growing herbs gives you the chance to vary up your cooking and use some of your own home-grown produce! Grow your own mint and enjoy fresh mint tea; grow lavender and create homemade perfumed parcels for friends; grow the classic flavours of rosemary and thyme for use in many meals.

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Sue-Anne Hilbre Biggs, the director of the Royal Horticultural Society, says that the link between greenery and mental health is huge:

 

‘We know for sure that plants and gardening are vital for our mental health. There is nothing quite like being around and interacting with nature to relax and help ease the mind. Ninety percent of us say we feel better just by being around plants and evidence continues to stack up around the positive impact of gardening and having access to green space has on our mental health.’

 

Whatever your outdoor space, make the most of it. Even the addition of a new houseplant indoors can be a mood boost. In the next few weeks and months, uncertainty will be high, and anxiety will surely continue to be rife. Consider investing in your outdoor space as investing in your mental health.

 

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