Green space makes us feel better, fact. As a society, we're increasingly becoming aware of the impact that nature and green spaces have on our physical and mental well-being - you only have to look at the popularity of nature play groups or the success of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening to see that there is a huge appetite for all kinds of interaction with plants and the natural world, and we see it as an important part of our children's education. We're still very much a nation of gardeners - RHS membership has increased by 100,000 over the past five years.

Despite this, all is not rosy in the nation's front gardens. They're disappearing at an alarming rate - more than 4.5 million of them contain no plants at all, and a quarter of front gardens are now totally paved over. But does this really matter? Despite multiple studies that show the positive effects of green spaces, very little work as been done on front gardens.

Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui, RHS PhD student at the University of Sheffield researched the therapeutic effects of front gardens. Her recent project involved a nationwide questionnaire to both gardeners and non-gardeners, whether they had a garden or not.

The survey forms part of our Greening Grey Britain campaign and Lauriane’s wider research project, which includes greening front gardens that are currently paved over, and monitoring the health and well-being changes of residents over the course of a year. “I aim to give value to the health and socio-cultural benefits of front gardens to residents and the wider community. This is a crucial part of curbing the trend of disappearing front gardens” she says.

The results of the survey have been collected and are being analysed. We will bring you the conclusions in early 2018. 


How can I help?

Whether you have a tiny windowsill to transform with a pot or you’re working on a bigger project – anyone can make a transformation, no matter what size.

To get involved, simply start transforming a grey space in your community or at home with plants. It could be your own front garden, an empty concrete corner, an ugly alleyway or a boring stretch of tarmac that would benefit from new planting. Or it could be a green space that you improve for wildlife by adding more nectar and pollen-rich plants. We have plenty of ideas to inspire you.

Start Greening Grey Britain now!

See also

PhD details

Do front garden landscapes influence health and well-being?
Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui1, Ross Cameron1, Jenny Roe2, Alistair Griffiths3 and Paul Alexander3

1 University of Sheffield
2 University of Virginia
3 Royal Horticultural Society


Join the RHS

With your support, we can undertake valuable research into gardening pests and diseases.

Join the RHS

Get involved

We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.