What is Green Space and Why is it Important?

January 5, 2022

Since we are called Magnolia Gardens, it only makes sense that we talk about nature and green space from time to time. After all, it has a tremendous impact on our residents so we’d love to share this information with you.



What is

Green Space?

Green space is land that is partially covered with trees, flowers, and all other types of vegetation. Examples of green space include:

  • Parks

  • Community gardens

  • Forests

  • Meadows

  • Backyard gardens

  • And much more…

Exposure to natural spaces is beneficial in different areas of our loved one’s overall health.  It can help lessen anxiety, promote a sense of calm, joy and creativity while helping to improve concentration.

Our Vancouver assisted living home, Magnolia Gardens, boasts a beautiful green space filled with large trees, flowers, and our own personal garden. We even grow vegetables which are used in our home-cooked meals!

Gardening for Physical and Mental Health

Working in a garden is known to help lower cortisol levels, which lowers the feeling of stress and anxiety.  This is just one of many great reasons to include your loved one in gardening

  • Choose easy-to-grow plants that will thrive in difficult conditions.

  • Build or purchase raised beds, so they don’t have to bend or stoop over.  You can put their flowers, herbs, or even certain veggies in pots that you can place on a table, bench, or other raised areas for easy access.

  • Place stools or benches throughout the garden space for frequent resting.

  • Keep it simple. Just a few plants will do depending on their health or needs.

Gardening for physical health is the perfect way to get exercise, improve mobility, and strengthen and lubricate joints.  Regular moderate exercise is essential for decreasing the risk for obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other health conditions.  The CDC describes gardening as a moderate intensity workout.  2.5 hours per week will help decrease these health risks.

Gardening for mental health is beneficial in many ways, as well. Gardening encourages your loved one to be mindful.  It helps them focus on the task at hand.  It engages all the senses: they will enjoy the smells, touching the soil and plants, the sounds of the environment around them and the beauty of flowers blooming around them!  The added bonus of planting vegetables or herbs is the joy of tasting their work after harvesting.

Tools for Gardening

The right tools are crucial for your loved one’s enjoyment of gardening.

It’s important to think about any physical needs your senior may have.  These may include:

  • Long handled or curved tools for leverage and maximizing their grip. Tools that are ergonomically designed will fit comfortably in their hands to help avoid pain and stiffness.

  • Protective knee pads for comfort when kneeling

  • Stools for resting

  • Lightweight materials such as tools made with carbon steel, aluminum, or fiberglass.

When your loved one is gardening, make sure they understand the importance of staying hydrated, as well as limiting sun exposure and heat.  Encourage them to garden during the morning or evening hours to avoid the peak sun hours between 10 am and 4 pm (depending on where they live.) Provide them with sunscreen and wide brimmed hats for protection.

If they don’t want to do the gardening themselves, encourage them to sit outside regularly just listening to the birds, smelling the flowers, or watching others garden. They may even like the idea of reading outside!

Magnolia Gardens understands the importance of outdoors for your loved one’s health as a whole. We are pleased to offer beautiful areas to just relax, take a nap, or socialize with others.

Your mental and physical health is just as important as it is for whoever you are caring for. Gardening is a perfect way for you to de-stress and feel productive while encouraging the same for your loved one.  Remember to keep it simple so as not to add another task you are tied to.  Taking care of YOU allows you to care for others.

So what are you waiting for? Get outside and enjoy the beauty around you.