Inspired living

Home gardens can prolong life

Woman gardening

Credit: iStock

A home garden can be your oasis from the outside world. At the end of a day or week it can be a delight and a relief to wander your garden, pull a few weeds, or even sit yourself in a chair with a cup of something warm as you watch the insects and birds play. It is no surprise that a home garden is good for you but a new study has shown that it probably even adds years to your life.

For the new study researchers analysed data on 108,630 women between 2000 and 2008. The analysis involved comparing the risk of mortality with the level of vegetation surrounding the women’s homes. The level of vegetation was calculated using satellite imagery from different seasons and different years. As part of the analysis the researchers accounted for other mortality risk factors including age, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and smoking behaviour.

Lower exposure to air pollution, physical activity and increased opportunities.

The results showed that higher levels of greenness was associated with a 12 per cent reduction in risk of death from any cause. When this was broken down it was found that specifically homes with the most vegetation were associated with reductions in death rates from respiratory disease and cancer. Women living in homes surrounded by the most vegetation when compared to women living with the least vegetation had a 34 per cent reduction in rates of death from respiratory disease and a 13 per cent reduction in cancer mortality.

The researchers believe that these results exist through lower exposure to air pollution, higher levels of physical activity, and increased opportunities for social engagement in greener areas. On top of all that they estimate that 30 per cent of the benefit derived from vegetation around the home comes from improved mental health as measured by lower levels of depression.

It seems that Kermit the Frog was wrong; it is easy being green.


Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.