Gardening is a rewarding and therapeutic activity, it can provide physical, mental and emotional benefits for people of all abilities.

Engaging in gardening creates a connection with the ever-changing seasons throughout the year. Whether you’re acquiring the skill of weaving willow for winter wreaths, delicately sowing seeds during blossoming spring, or simply enjoying nature’s vibrant display of colours in the summer, gardening offers a unique and rewarding experience for each individual.

In this blog, we will explore why we think gardening is beneficial for people with learning disabilities.

Exercise and physical health.

Gardening is a fantastic physical exercise for people with learning disabilities. Whilst it might not seem as intense as other activities like swimming or running, it still encourages you to move your body.

Did you know that completing tasks in the garden such as pulling weeds or watering plants, can elevate your heart rate and keep your body active?

One of the greatest things about gardening is that it can be easily adapted to suit your needs. Whether that is gardening at your own pace, utilising modified gardening equipment, or using a raised flower bed for easier access.

Robyn our Green Spaces Co-ordinator says – “At our community hubs, we have designed our gardens together with the people we support in order to create accessible gardens that provide an easy and safe space. Our gardens are all on one level, with smooth, non-slip surfaces for people in wheelchairs. We have raised flower beds and potting tables for people with physical impairments to avoid them having to bend or lean.”

Sensory benefits.

Gardening offers a safe space for you to explore your creative side, you can design your garden exactly how you would like it whether it is your own garden, a shared courtyard, a windowsill, or a community garden, you can incorporate a variety of plants and flowers with different colours, textures, scents and sounds that bring you joy and a therapeutic sensory experience.

“During our weekly garden sessions, we delve into the world of multi-sensory experiences while tending to the plants and vegetables. Engaging with our gardens awakens every part of our bodies and minds, from the scents of fresh herbs, to the delicious taste of our homegrown fruit and vegetables.” – Robyn, our Green Spaces Activity Co-ordinator


Gardening is a mindful activity that requires you to focus and be in the moment. It is known that gardening can reduce stress, depression and anxiety whilst promoting a sense of purpose. For people with disabilities, gardening offers a therapeutic safe space where you can think positively whilst having a little ‘me’ time in nature. Spending time outdoors and breathing fresh air can raise levels of oxygen in your brain, which boosts your levels of serotonin and improves your mood.          

Gardening encourages us to be gentle and calm, which is soothing in this fast-paced world. 

Learning new skills.

Gardening offers many opportunities for learning and development. It gives you the opportunity to learn about how to look after your garden, the different fruits and vegetables and understanding the patterns in nature and the joy that comes from being outside.

“At Brierley Community Hub, we grow our own fruit and veg. I love seeing our vegetables grow, I make sure to take care of them, by feeding and watering them each day. My favourite part of the process is harvesting. Once we harvest the vegetables, we use them as ingredients in our cookery classes or take them home to share with our family. Sometimes when I eat the freshly grown fruit and veg, I get excited and feel proud knowing that me and my friends have helped to grow it.” – Raymond, a man we support at Brierley Community Hub.

Social interaction.

Gardening can be a great social activity.

“Each week the people we support visit RHS Bridgewater. Here we have our own plot where we plant fruit and vegetables. It is great to see the people we support interacting with fellow gardeners and sharing their stories and experiences. It has been great to watch them work together as team, problem solving and developing new friendships in their community.” – Support Worker at St George’s Community Hub.

Having the facilities of your own garden allows you to host garden parties with family and friends…It is a time where you can present your wonderful garden to family and friends, whilst enjoying one another’s company.

Always remember, no matter your abilities, gardening can be fun and accessible for all!” – Robyn, our Green Spaces Activity Co-ordinator

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