10 Benefits of a Healthy Yard

You can reduce stress, improve your mood, and increase your bottom line by creating a healthy yard. Here are 10 reasons to maintain and use yours.

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When you need some rest and relaxation, you don’t need to go far. Your yard can be the perfect place for you and your family to play or chill, and it can offer so much more if managed well. Here are some of the many benefits of a healthy yard.

It Extends Your Living Space

Your yard has the potential to become a true extension of your home. Take a look at how you can add seating areas and/or an outdoor cooking area. Create “rooms” that divide areas that have purpose, using landscaping plants, walls, or simple yard ornaments to mark the space.

It’s a Safe Place for Kids to Play

Kids need a place where they can have fun and feel safe. A recent study indicated that when children have a connection to nature, they tend to be happier while behaving in a more sustainable and altruistic way. Make sure your yard and garden are secure by inspecting fences and gates, especially around pool and storage areas. Give children lots of room to play, keep the areas clear of any hazards and supervise them at all times.

You Can Create a Wildlife Habitat

Instead of going to a zoo or park to view wildlife, create a healthy yard that attracts songbirds, rabbits and other wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation suggests choosing wildlife-friendly plants, seeds and trees that do well in your planting zone and terrain. Don’t forget the tiny communities: toads, salamanders and snails enjoy rotting logs and moist areas under trees. Pollinators like butterflies and honeybees love having a variety of blooms throughout the growing season. Are you familiar with the concept of agrihood? The main reason to move to an agrihood, or help establish one where you already live, is to gain access to fresh, organic produce.

You Will Help the Planet

Healthy mature trees help clean the air of greenhouse gases. They also provide cooling shade that reduces energy consumption. And healthy lawns require fewer, if any, chemicals that can be harmful to people, pets and the planet.

You Can Become More Sustainable

If you plant a fruit- or nut-bearing tree or plant an edible garden, you’re promoting sustainability. Instead of going to the store for apples or beans, pick your home-grown produce at the peak of ripeness. Designate a part of your yard for a garden, or plant vegetables and fruits among flower and landscaping beds. Vegetables like spinach can be harvested more than once in a season if maintained properly. And several studies show that children who are involved in growing vegetables are more willing to eat them.

You Can Keep Your Pets Safe

The yard and garden can also be a safe place for your pets to exercise, play and interact with humans and other pets. Create a yard that’s free of plants and supplies that are toxic to dogs and cats, and check fences and gates to make sure they are secure. Add shade and water features, space to exercise, paths, and nooks and crannies for pets to explore.

It Can Improve Your Physical and Mental Health

Getting your hands dirty is good for you!

A stress-busting microbe that lives in the soil has been found to regulate the human immune system and suppress inflammation, as well as improve mental health. Researchers at the University of Arkansas also found that regular yard work can increase bone density, which can help prevent osteoporosis.

Sitting or walking in your yard for as little as five minutes can alter your mood, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Create seating areas and places to pause so you can ground yourself and reduce stress.

It Could Help You Remember

We all forget where we put the keys, or when we are supposed to be in that meeting. But spending time in your yard could benefit your memory. A study from the National Institutes of Health showed that nature walks improved memory in participants who suffered from impairment connected to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

You Will Work Smarter, Not Harder

Once you’ve created a healthy, planet-friendly yard, you shouldn’t need to work so hard to maintain it. You’ll spend less time weeding and trimming, or replacing struggling and unhealthy plants. That gives you more time to enjoy the landscape with your family.

It Can Increase Your Property Value

By managing and using your yard regularly, you benefit from its beauty. A lovely yard and garden can also increase the value of your home. Landscaping improvements have an average return of 109 percent for every dollar spent, and potential home buyers are drawn to and value well-landscaped properties. And if you decide to move, it may help you sell your home faster.

Look out your window. Your increased health and happiness is waiting for you — in your own backyard.

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Rosie Wolf Williams
Rosie Wolf Williams is a Vermont-based writer with credits in business profiles, veterinary and agriculture, natural health, general interest, automotive, hardware, DIY, innovation and trends. Her work has appeared in USA Weekend, Energy Times, Costco Connection, Next Avenue, and many other local and national publications. She is the author of "The Thought of You: The Art of Being Alive!" and is an award-winning speaker.