Green neighbourhoods are healthy neighbourhoods! Studies have shown that just looking at scenes of nature can reduce stress and can support good mental and physical health. Of course not everyone has access to a high amount of green space or the open space needed for creating them, especially in densely populated areas. However for those schools short on space, vertical and mobile gardens provide an opportunity to increase green spaces.
What are vertical gardens? Vertical gardens are grown upwards! They can be grown against a wall or fence, or around an existing post (such as around a pergola or verandah post).
What is a mobile garden? A mobile garden is grown in an object that can be moved, such as a trolley or old wheelbarrow.
What are the benefits of vertical and mobile gardens?
Planning your garden
There are a number of different types of gardens you could plant:
What type of garden you plant will depend on the space you have available and what you want from your garden – is it educational, aesthetic, for an environmental purpose (i.e. to increase biodiversity) or all three? Visit your local nursery to find out what plants will be most suitable to your needs and to the conditions in your area.
As part of your planning process you will need to identify how gardens can be watered during holiday periods. Many native plants tolerate dry conditions very well so planting these plants is sensible if watering during holidays will be difficult. Bear in mind though that these plants will thrive when watered regularly (at least once a week).
You may also want to have a look at our guide to building a vertical garden. Mulching will reduce the need for watering, fertilizers will provide nourishment for plants and even talking positively to your plants can help them grow strong and healthy!
Quick tip: Teachers, parents and students can collect and donate materials and cuttings for the garden. How to cultivate plants.
Whole school tips
A mature tree absorbs an average of 267kg over its lifetime (30 years). Each year a tree absorbs 8.9kgs of CO2-3 (267kg divided by 30). These savings are based on planting and looking after one tree. All plants benefit the environment. Plant more, save more!
A US study found that stress levels were reduced for children through high levels of nearby nature (nature close to their homes) compared to those with little nearby nature. Learn more at Planet Ark.
The same US study found that children with higher levels of nearby nature had a higher sense of self-worth. High self-worth in children makes them more resilient during life’s stressful times. Learn more at Planet Ark.
Children with ADHD and ADD concentrate, complete tasks and follow directions better after they play outside in green settings. The greener the setting, the more improvement they show. Learn more at Planet Ark.