Garden visiting as a meaningful occupation for people in later life

Rosemary Leaver, Tania Wiseman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Garden visiting, as described in this study, involves visiting private gardens which householders have temporarily opened to the public, in support of charity. In the United Kingdom, garden visiting is a popular occupation which attracts 750,000 people each year. The connections between active gardening and wellbeing are well established, particularly for people in later life. This research explores visiting other people's gardens for leisure in order to deepen our understanding of how garden visiting is experienced as an occupation. Method: Seven people aged between 60 and 81 years old who considered themselves fully retired were interviewed whilst walking through parks and public gardens. Thematic analysis with inductive coding was used to analyse the data. Findings: Four themes emerged: time and wellbeing, embodied wellbeing, being part of a gardening community and pondering the creator. Conclusion: Garden visiting is a complex occupation which brings far-reaching benefits to individuals and communities. Garden visiting also has important implications for increasing wellbeing by grounding people in the present and promoting sensory engagement. Keywords: Garden, older people, leisure, wellbeing, occupation, transition
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-775
Number of pages8
JournalBritish journal of occupational therapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Rosemary Leaver & Tania Wiseman, Garden visiting as a meaningful occupation for people in later life, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol 79, Issue 12, pp. 768 - 775. Copyright © The Author(s) 2016. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.


  • Garden
  • older people
  • leisure
  • wellbeing
  • occupation
  • transition


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