5 secret ways your garden helps you destress


DIY and how-to

A high-angle view of a woman lounging in a garden chair reading a book in the shade of a large tree, with grass beneath her.

1. Breathe it all in

When you’re living in densely populated cities like Cape Town or Johannesburg, taking a whiff of less-polluted air in a greenbelt or on the mountain feels like a holiday for your respiratory system. 

Fresh air allows us to breathe easier. Since plants and trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through their photosynthetic process, spending more time around them is naturally easier on our lungs.

When we’re in our gardens, there’s a change of pace in how we move and breathe, which already makes it easier for us to unwind and destress. Our hearts, in particular, love it when we spend time in the garden: our heart rates slow down and our blood pressure also decreases.

2. The power of plants

Lavender, rosemary, peppermint, basil, chamomile, thyme. The list can go on. If you keep even just one of these herbs in your garden, you’re a step closer to inhaling their glorious natural scents and exhaling pent-up tension.

Lavender and chamomile are especially synonymous with calm and restfulness. This is why health practitioners often recommend chamomile tea before bedtime and lavender pillow spray for a restful night of slumber.

Simply brushing your hand through a lavender shrub as you meander through your green oasis and smelling the scent left on your fingertips can be enough to lower stress levels. 

3. A sensory experience

After a long day on your feet, one of the easiest ways to de-stress is to kick off your shoes and pad your way through your lush lawn. There’s nothing quite like the cool feel of soft grass under your tired feet, right? 

Besides the tactile pleasure of walking barefoot through a well-maintained lawn, running your fingers through differently textured leaves or over bark surfaces can create a mental focal point, distracting you from lingering thoughts and grounding you with nature. 

The hushing sounds of wind rustling through the leaves of trees overhead combined with birdsong can be incredibly soothing

4. Mission accomplished!

Tending to your garden lends itself to mindfulness and embracing the moment you’re in, slowing your pace and disconnecting from things that demand your energy and attention.

Something that can be overlooked (but really shouldn’t, given its destressing powers) is the feeling of accomplishment and general self-esteem boost that small gardening wins can bring. 

Whether it’s a successful crop, your strategy to attract bees and other creatures paying off, or bringing your gardening vision board to life, there’s something to be said for the feel-good effect of a successful garden project. The sense of purpose this brings can even help to lower your blood pressure.

5. More (physical) activity = less stress

Pushing a wheelbarrow? Getting down on your knees to plant those new seedlings? All these activities add up to a full-body workout. 

Lugging bags of compost, mulch, or other supplies from one garden area to another builds strength and tests endurance. And working on removing those pesky weeds can practically stand in for “leg day” with all those squats and lunges you naturally find yourself doing.

With gardening, you’re not only channelling time and mental energy into your vision – the physical exertion of bringing all the different elements of your vision to life is a workout. The bonus is that exercise works wonders for stress management. Just be sure to stretch and practise other garden safety habits.

Create an inviting space

Now that you know some of the secret ways your garden can help you destress, you’re probably keen to add more elements to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Tips for adding that extra layer of comfort:

  • A big, strong tree on your property is perfect for suspending an occasional hanging chair.
  • Hang a hammock in a tree or use it as a standalone feature.
  • Install a water feature so that you’re surrounded by the calming sound of nature whenever you venture into your garden.

Help is at hand

To take full advantage of the secret ways your garden can help you to destress, visit our online store or pay a visit to your local Stodels Garden Centre for a range of gardening supplies, furniture, accessories, and expert advice.