As the stereotype currently has it, landscaping is all about lawn care and maintenance. At Groundscapes we prefer to innovate and inspire, by rethinking landscaping and how it can help you in your daily life. While we have written extensively on how landscaping can save you money, increase your home value, help the environment, and also help you relax and decompress, today we are focusing on something even more interesting: How Landscaping can improve the relationships you have and your overall well-being.

Before diving into the details, it's important to clarify a couple of things: This research is based on a number of scientific studies that have documented the tangible benefits that landscaping possesses for personal well-being, positive attitudes, and the relationships you have with others. That does not make this advice universally applicable or always effective: evidently it will depend upon the situation and the people involved. Nevertheless, the Groundscapes team has found serious benefit from this research, and as such we would like to take the time to share some of the most interesting insights with our customers today:

How Landscaping Improves Well-Being and Self-Esteem

Existing research on the benefits of spending time in nature demonstrates that simply looking at pictures of nature can provide increased feelings of self-esteem and positivity, as well as personal-well being. This effect is actually a process in which nature is able to calm a person down from the constant stimulation of concrete jungles, from which increased feelings of happiness, contentment, and satisfaction arise. As explains very clearly:

“This calming effect has even been observed in EEG tests, which showed a physical response to nature in more stable brain waves and in a blood flow increase to the amygdala, the organ that controls stress and fear.” (Source)

From a more relaxed mental state, further contact with nature increases dopamine levels, and provides less room for worry in the future. As Dr. Strauss explains from a Harvard Medical School study on the benefits of nature:

"Having something pleasant to focus on like trees and greenery helps distract your mind from negative thinking, so your thoughts become less filled with worry." (Harvard Medical School)

Importantly, he goes on to explain how to really benefit from nature and its psychological and mental health benefits, it is important to incorporate such engagement into your weekly routines:

"Anything from 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week, to regular three-day weekends in the woods is helpful," says Dr. Strauss. "The point is to make your interactions a part of your normal lifestyle." (Harvard Medical School)

A virtuous cycle can thereby be created from which less stress and worry correlate with more happiness and contentment, which in turn correlate with better health and overall well being. In fact as goes on to explain, multiple existing scientific studies have demonstrated that “positive emotions can lead to a reduction in the chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, as well as helping improve chronic and inflammatory disease. Other research findings suggest that positive emotions can help boost resistance to illness and strengthen the immune system.”

In short, proximity to nature is a lifestyle choice that has long term implications on your mental health, physical health, and overall attitude towards the world.

The Value of Landscaping for Personal Relationships:

Perhaps even more important is the connection that nature provides for fostering and growing personal relationships. While less scientifically studied than the effects on mental well being, scientists such as Dr. Miles Richardson, speculate that subjective feelings of happiness that stem from nature-based activities, are actually important for sharing experiences and memories with those you care about the most (Positive Psychology).

Building upon this analysis, the Gottman Institute writes in detail about how marriage and family therapists have actually created nature retreats for couples and soon to be married partners to:

“Create intentional experiences in the outdoors, purposefully designed for couples to unplug and proactively tend to their growth and transformation, without the distractions of everyday life.” (Gottman Institute)

Ultimately, by disconnecting from the chaos of the modern world with someone you care about, you both stand to benefit by becoming closer to one another.

One final piece of research that further confirms the belief that nature and landscaping can improve positive and relationships comes from the University of Minnesota. Where they write that:

“This experience of connection may be explained by studies that used fMRI to measure brain activity. When participants viewed nature scenes, the parts of the brain associated with empathy and love lit up, but when they viewed urban scenes, the parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety were activated.” (University of Minnesota)

Overall, the proof is in the research, and your own experience: the more time you spend in nature, the better off you will feel, and the more positive you will likely be. From there it is only a matter of spending time in nature on a consistent basis, with the people you care the most about and wish to develop deeper relationships with.

Groundscapes: The Place to Reconnect in Omaha and the La Vista Area:

At Groundscapes, we pioneer luxury landscaping improvements that are specifically designed to reconnect you with the natural world, and to create lasting memories with your family and friends. Our recent service offering updates have put natural connection and serenity gardens front and center. If you are interested in the benefits of natural landscaping for your home and wish to start building out a project in your backyard don't hesitate to get in touch with us today through our unique design consultation form.