A Dose of Nature

Nature is good for us. I know if I don’t get my regular fix I feel disconnected and not at all centred. My mind becomes unclear and my body will be tense.

It’s not just in my head. Medical people are doing the research and applying the results. Last year Scottish doctors began to prescribe nature to patients with chronic illnesses, including mental health.

A recent study at the University of Exeter showed that a two-hour weekly dose of nature is the minimum required to boost health and wellbeing. But many of us don’t seem to be getting it.

“…think of your outdoor space as a collective system that connects humans, plants and animals…”

Nature deficit disorder is a ‘thing’. It’s been coined to explain rates of anxiety and depression in kids who spend limited time outdoors and lots of time attached to screens.

Many adults share these behaviours; living stressed lives detached from the natural world.

Part of the problem is that it’s getting harder to find green spaces in developed urban areas. But wherever you live you can create ways to bring nature home. A few natural landscape design ideas can deliver you a daily dose.


The underlying principle is to consciously think of your outdoor space as a collective system that connects humans, plants and animals – both pets and local wildlife.


Incorporate elements that draw people and place together. This can include an alfresco dining area or nourishing edibles to eat at your table. Seasonal growing is a great way to immerse yourself in nature and appreciate harvest cycles.


What you do in your backyard can make a difference to bigger picture conservation. By creating spaces that welcome native birds or animals you can offer a safe habitat thoroughfare that connects them to broader nature corridors.


Attract birds and insects to encourage biodiversity in your own little ecosystem. Australian flowering natives – such as callistemon or waratah – are good options. Large gums provide shelter or nesting places, and ponds rate highly with frogs.


The research indicates that you don’t have to be physically active to get those nature benefits. There’s something about the tranquillity of just being in it. Create a garden sit spot to watch the birds, have a cuppa and breathe deeply.


Trees offer shade, texture and privacy. They purify our air and can cool down temperatures. Plant trees to suit your location and long-term plans for the space. Consider local and indigenous; deciduous to the north, evergreen to the west.


If you’re not sure what’s right for your area or if you want to test a few ‘nature at home’ ideas, we can have a conversation to design a down to earth garden that is good for your life. Get in touch to book a Gary Winter Landscape Design consult service.