RHS develop ‘Wellbeing Blueprint’ to Increase the Health Benefits of Gardens

A phto of the wellbeing blueprint garden for the RHS in Wisley, Surrey

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have developed an experimental ‘Wellbeing Garden’ in Wisley, Surrey. They are aiming to help schools and hospitals to landscape their green spaces in a way that maximises their calming impact.

The site is split into multiple gardens which focus on different colours and scents. Some areas have strong smells such as pine and rosemary, while others have flowers that bloom with sweet, calming scents. Some parts are brightly coloured, and others have pale green and white themes.

Later this year, once the flowers have bloomed, an experiment will take place to find out what feelings the garden arouses in people. This will help to influence what plants and designs best improve people’s mental wellbeng.

Dr Lauriane Chalmin-Pui, an RHS Fellow and scientist working on the project, stated: “Part of my mission is to ensure that gardens are recognised as health resources and assets as well as beautiful natural spaces. We’re aiming to guide the design of wellbeing gardens and the use of gardens as health interventions, both as a preventative and therapeutic measure.”

“As there are ever more people on planet earth, living ever closer together, there’s a huge need for evidence on how to make our green spaces as people-friendly as possible. How much shade do we need? In which contexts is a still pool more restorative than moving water? Which fragrances are most uplifting? These are just a few of the questions we need to ask.”

“It’s also important to understand people’s different needs, experiences, and cultural contexts. These matter for design, and will influence what people appreciate and value about a space. You need to be sensitive to all of these viewpoints when creating a wellbeing garden so the most fundamental step in the process is first to listen to what matters to the community.”

The RHS says its aim is to promote the “health, social and cultural value of green spaces for the general population as well as for specific groups of people who may not otherwise have access to safe and private gardens”.

Chalmin-Pui hopes this blueprint can be used in particular in the UK’s health and social care systems to boost health outcomes. For example, in schools that cater for children with special educational needs, as well in hospital gardens and private homes.

At 4th Corner, we create outdoor classrooms for local schools, and we also design and plant beautiful outdoor spaces for further education and public interaction, including wildlife gardens, woodlands, orchard walks, sensory experience gardens, and kitchen gardens.

Click here to visit the RHS website to find out more.

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