Stress Management Management Techniques Why Yard Work Is Good for Your Mental Health 5 Reasons to Spend More Time Grooming Your Yard By Wendy Rose Gould Wendy Rose Gould LinkedIn Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated on June 20, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Halfpoint Images/Moment/Getty Images On the surface, yard work can appear nothing more than a chore. You’ve got to pull the weeds, mow the lawn, prune flowers, pluck fruit and veggies, and till the soil in the garden. But as tedious as it can be at times, doing yard work can actually have positive impacts on your overall well-being. Ahead, we’re outlining five reasons why spending time nurturing your garden and making your yard a beautiful space can be a true boon to your mental health. Top 10 Stress-Relieving Hobbies 1 Gives You Time to Yourself Having some quality alone time throughout the week is important. Gardening and yard work allows you the space to step away from it all and sit with yourself. “Yard work allows us time to not think and focus on the task at hand,” says psychotherapist Kathryn Smerling. “You don’t have to talk or worry about others for a bit, and can focus purely on you.” Interestingly, spending time alone can also ramp up our creativity. A 2020 study published in Nature Communications found that when people were alone they experienced an increase in imagination. The idea is that reduced social stimulation allows the brain to hone in on creative energy. How Important Is Alone Time for Mental Health? 2 Promotes Physical Activity Moving our bodies is important, and yard work definitely qualifies as exercise. Whether you’re pushing a lawn mower across the grass, moving through your garden to keep it looking beautiful, or trimming bushes and trees, there’s no doubt you’ll get your steps in and increase your heart rate. Science tells us that exercise doesn’t just offer a quick “runner’s high,”. It can also help manage feelings of depression and anxiety over the long term. Of course, exercise is important for our physical health, as well. When we feel better physically this can help us feel better mentally. The Mental Health Benefits of Physical Exercise 3 Reduces Stress & Anxiety Immersing ourselves in nature has numerous health benefits. For instance, we know that sunshine boosts our vitamin D levels. This vital nutrient plays a role in serotonin and calcium levels, which can help reduce feelings of stress and depression. Research also tells us that spending time outside can reduce stress levels, improve our sleep quality, and minimize symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even if you don't have access to a full yard, you can still reap the benefits of nature. A 2018 study found that indoor plants positively impact health by reducing stress and improving focus. Nature Can Improve Mental Health During the Pandemic, Study Finds 4 Yard Work Has Meditative Aspects Though it’s not a traditional approach to meditation, doing yard work certainly has meditative aspects. “Being outside is a sensory experience. It allows you to focus on your breathing and the simple things in life,” notes Dr. Smerling. “It also gets us away from everyday triggers of stress, including work, screens, and anything that could be causing you anxiety.” The Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management 5 It’s Highly Rewarding With yard work, the fruit of our efforts are quite clear (sometimes literally). Our hard work pays off via a flower bed filled with colorful blossoms and mozying bees, a bountiful herb or veggie garden ripe for the picking, and a private, beautifully kept respite where we can rest tired feet and enjoy the earth around us. “With gardening or other yard work, you can help things grow and see something you’re directly impacting,” says Dr. Smerling. “It can be very healing.” Generally speaking, creating and working toward goals has a positive effect on our mental well-being. Maintaining a beautiful yard is a goal in and of itself, and watching that goal come to life in front of us can feel very rewarding and empowering. Community Gardens Benefit Those with Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Health Issues A Word From Verywell While it might seem strange to think of yard work as a method of fostering good mental health, this everyday task boasts many benefits. Cultivating a beautiful yard doesn’t just give you a pretty place to spend time—though that’s nice, too—but it also feeds our need for alone time, quiet meditation, and spending time with nature. If you live in a city setting or don't have access to a yard, you can still reap the above benefits by working in a community garden, cultivating plants within your home. or offering to help a friend with their yard. Or you can simply take regular strolls through the nearest park or green space, which can promote many of the same mental health benefits as yard work. How to Use Gardening for Stress Relief 6 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Spreng RN, Dimas E, Mwilambwe-Tshilobo L, et al. The default network of the human brain is associated with perceived social isolation. Nat Commun. 2020;11(1):6393. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-20039-w Budde H, Machado S, Ribeiro P, Wegner M. The cortisol response to exercise in young adults. Front Behav Neurosci. 2015;9:13. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00013 Aylett E, Small N, Bower P. Exercise in the treatment of clinical anxiety in general practice - a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018;18(1):559. doi:10.1186/s12913-018-3313-5 Wacker M, Holick MF. Sunlight and vitamin D: A global perspective for health. Dermatoendocrinol. 2013;5(1):51-108. doi:10.4161/derm.24494 Bratman GN, Anderson CB, Berman MG, et al. Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective. Sci Adv. 2019;5(7):eaax0903. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax0903 Deng L, Deng Q. The basic roles of indoor plants in human health and comfort. Environ Sci Pollut Res. 2018;25(36):36087-36101. doi:10.1007/s11356-018-3554-1 By Wendy Rose Gould Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.