Local aggregates business Decorative Aggregates has released a free ‘green therapy’ guide, including contributions from Sheffield based charity Flourish, after a survey revealed the mental health benefits of gardening and green spaces.

Bakewell-based Decorative Aggregates, specialise in garden gravel, decorative aggregates, cobbles, pebbles, slate, granite, rockery stone, glass aggregates and garden features.

With more and more doctors prescribing non-clinical tactics for mental health management such as green therapy, Decorative Aggregates wanted to create something to help those in the local community to get outdoors and into the garden to help their mind.

They surveyed 1,000 people with a diagnosed mental health condition that is uncontrolled and has a significant impact on their daily life. This revealed that nearly one in three (31 per cent) find green therapy more effective than exercise and sport to manage their mental health difficulties.

Alongside this, the survey found 84 per cent think gardening has mental health benefits but less than half (45 per cent) have tried green therapy to help.

Armed with the knowledge that green therapy can help but also that many have never tried it, Decorative Aggregates have now released an expansive guide: ‘Green Therapy: Why Gardening is Kind to your Mind’.

With the help of case studies from Sheffield based charity, Flourish, the guide shows the easy ways to get involved with green therapy, its worthwhile benefits, and the science behind why gardening is kind to your mind.

Jo Rammell, content specialist at Evoluted, said: ‘There’s increasing scientific and psychological evidence to show gardening has many mental health benefits.

“We worked alongside Decorative Aggregates to create an easily digestible guide to getting started, since many hadn’t even heard of it. With the recent lockdown, promoting something like this in the community seems even more timely. It was amazing to read case studies showing how being outside in nature had turned people’s lives around!’

Ways to get started with green therapy

You can read the full guide here, but here are a few simple ways to begin your own green therapy journey:

  • Take walks in green areas or treks in the countryside
  • Plant seeds that help the environment – flowers for bees, berry bushes for birds
  • Create animal-friendly habitats such as log piles for a hedgehog-friendly garden, butterfly spas or a pond
  • Create an edible garden – try easy to grow fruit and vegetables such as courgettes, tomatoes, runner beans, carrots, onions, strawberries and apples.
  • Read in a green space
  • Prepare hanging baskets and planters
  • Go litter picking
  • Go dog walking
  • Plant fast-growing plants such as wheat grass and marigolds
  • Learn flower arranging
  • Begin birdwatching
  • Simple gardening tasks – digging soil, weeding, watering plants, trimming plants, mowing the lawn
  • Volunteer for a conservation project
  • Partake in a nature survey such as counting species
  • Get involved with geocaching
  • Join a local walking group
  • Try nature meditation