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NC State Extension


See additional research specific to Community Gardening

Research on the Value of Gardening

Benefits of Gardening for Older Adults

Donna Wang & Thalia MacMillan (2013) The Benefits of Gardening for Older Adults: A Systematic Review of the Literature, Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 37:2, 153-181, DOI: 10.1080/01924788.2013.784942 Available on line at

This article systematically reviews evidence for gardening as a beneficial activity for older adults. The authors reviewed 22 articles that assessed the benefits of gardening for both community-dwelling and institutionalized older adults. Through various research designs (quantitative and qualitative) and measurements utilized, the results reveal that gardening can be an activity that promotes overall health and quality of life, physical strength, fitness and flexibility, cognitive ability, and socialization. The implementation of various aspects of gardening as health-promoting activities transcend contexts of practice and disciplines and can be used in urban and rural communities as both individual and group activities.

Impacts of Gardening on the Environment

Varlamoff, S., W.J. Florkowski, J.L. Jordan, J. Latimer, and K. Braman. 2001. Georgia homeowner survey of landscape management practices. HortTechnology 11: 326–331.

However, the cumulative impact of individual homeowners’ fertilization, irrigation, pest management and other landscape practices can lead to environmental degradation of water, land, and biotic resources.

Impact of Gardening on Water Quality

Nielson, Lisa and Courtland L. Smith, 2005. Influences on Residential Yard Card and Water Quality: Tualatin Watershed, Oregon. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 41(1):93-106. Available on line at

Local officials cite residential yard care practices as potential contributors to nonpoint source pollution in the basin. Qualitative and quantitative methods, including observation of yard maintenance styles, suggest behaviors potentially harmful to water quality and conservation. Yard maintenance is influenced by the importance of neighborhood appearance and concern for aesthetics. These concerns stimulate residents to water, fertilize, and apply weed control at more frequent intervals than yard care experts recommend. Better understanding of the effects that relations with neighbors and yard maintenance knowledge have on residential yard care practices can help improve water quality.