Therapeutic Gardening

What is Therapeutic Gardening


Therapeutic Gardening (also known as 'Social and Therapeutic Gardening') is the use of garden space and/or activities to help people enhance their health and well being. Gardening can be an enjoyable medium through which to promote physical, social and emotional health. Gardening can also offer education and training opportunities, not only in horticulture skills but life skills, literacy and numeracy. In turn these can lead to improvements in confidence, pride, quality of life and self-esteem.

Formal definitions of therapeutic gardening include:

‘The use of plants by a trained professional as a medium through which certain clinically defined goals may be met.’

‘… the process by which individuals may develop well-being using plants and horticulture. This is achieved through active or passive involvement.’
Journal of Social & Therapeutic Horticulture, 1999.


Social and Therapeutic Gardening in Scotland


There are 425 projects in the Trellis therapeutic gardening network. They can be found in big cities and on tiny islands, operating in care homes, hospitals, colleges, schools and nurseries, prisons, hospices and community plots. Together we support over 10,000 people each week. We welcome between 30-50 new projects to the network each year.


Who Takes Part in Social and Therapeutic Gardening

A survey of the Trellis network of therapeutic gardens shows they support a range of gardeners from children in hospice care to older gardeners living in sheltered accommodation. For a more in-depth description of therapeutic gardening click on these factsheets;

What is Therapeutic Gardening?
Therapeutic Gardening: theory and evidence - A summary of the main studies relevant to gardening therapy 

Please contact us if you have any specific questions about therapeutic gardening. We can research information for you and also call on the expertise of over 420 therapeutic gardening projects already established in Scotland.

Email Use the online form to send us your questions and contact details. This will ensure you receive our eBulletin and advance notice of events. We can also put you in touch with other projects and individuals with common interests. Your information will be held securely on the Trellis database and not divulged to third parties without your permission. 

If you wish to remove your details from the database at any time, please drop us an email with your reference details. 

The Benefits of Social and Therapeutic Gardening


Social interaction or solitude as required. An antidote to loneliness or a place to escape.

Mentally stimulating - can provide opportunities for initiative taking, decision making, creativity and switching off.

Can improve physical health and fitness in many different ways.

Increased self esteem and confidence.

Builds skills - gardening skills, general life skills, literacy and numeracy and communication skills

For more information take a look at some of the stories from the network and our pages about The Difference Gardening Makes and Research.



Therapeutic Gardening is underpinned by research studies concerning gardening nature, greenspace and human health and well-being click here to visit our research page.

We also have a page of recommended reading to visit it click here



Trellis Network by Client Group

Click on the pie chart to see an expanded version