What Is Residential Gardening? 4 Characteristics (+Its Benefits)

Kendrick Hulse

According to Mike Sutterer, the CEO of Bonnie Plants, 20 million new gardeners joined the hobby in 2020 alone. The vast majority of those people participated in residential gardening.

Residential gardening is any form of gardening that takes place at home. It’s all about location, location, location.

It can be done to beautify an outdoor living space or add curb appeal for the real estate market.

Or it can be used as a main source of fresh produce and herbs for the kitchen. 

Even if you’ve gardened for years, there’s a good chance you never stopped to think about what makes gardening at home special. Let’s find out!

4 Characteristics of Residential Gardening

1. Close to Home

The one characteristic that is always true of residential gardening is that it takes place near the home.

As long as you’re gardening on private property connected to your residence, you’re participating in residential gardening!

2. Done by Anyone

Residential gardening is a very popular hobby. But it’s not always the home’s residents that take care of the beds. 

Many homeowners hire professionals to install and maintain their garden beds.

These services are particularly valuable to gardeners with limited mobility or free time who may not be able to keep up with their garden’s needs on their own.

Even though hiring someone isn’t necessarily what we picture when it comes to residential gardening, this setup is just as valid as tending to the garden yourself. 

3. Designed for Personal Enjoyment

More often than not, residential gardens are designed to suit the personal taste of the homeowner.

This could mean selecting flowers that the homeowner enjoys or planting vegetables that they typically cook with.

Or it could mean landscaping around outdoor elements like a patio or swimming pool.

Of course, the homeowner themself is normally the person making these decisions!

4. Dependent on Climate

Residential garden trends vary greatly across the world. Culture isn’t the only thing impacting these trends. Climate also plays a big role.

Not all ornamental or vegetable plants will thrive in every climate.

As a result, the average residential garden in a desert climate will look much different than one in a temperate climate. 

Some residential gardeners invest massive amounts of water, fertilizer, and other resources to keep their plants alive.

While it’s possible to grow plants not suited to the local climate, it’s neither easy nor sustainable!

How Is Residential Gardening Different From “Normal” Gardening?

To many people, residential gardening is normal gardening. 

With the exception of gardening careers, most gardening takes place in or around the home.

So it’s safe to say that the average gardener participates in residential gardening.

Is Residential Gardening the Same As Urban Gardening?

Sometimes. As we’ve said, the most important characteristic of residential gardening is where it takes place.

So urban gardening is also residential gardening when it’s done in close vicinity to the gardener’s home.

On the other hand, urban gardening would not count as residential gardening if it takes place in a community plot or other area separate from the gardeners’ homes.

Are There Different Types of Residential Gardening?

Ornamental Gardening

Ornamental gardens are beds created solely for their appearance.

The majority of residential gardens include at least some ornamental elements.

Ornamental gardens may also include landscape shrubs and trees.

Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

Growing produce at home has been extremely popular in recent years!

If you’ve grown tomatoes, corn, squash, or other fruits and vegetables in your backyard, then you’ve participated in residential gardening.

These gardens may be cultivated as a consistent source of food or primarily as a hobby.

Native Gardening

Native gardening is another trend gaining more and more supporters in the form of residential gardeners.

Native gardens are filled with plant species that grow natively in the surrounding area. 

Filling your property with native garden beds can help reduce resource consumption — water, fertilizer, pesticide, etc. — and provide a food source for beneficial pollinators.

Pollinator Gardening

Speaking of pollinators, planting a native garden is not the only way to support your favorite insects, birds, and other fauna.

A pollinator garden is specifically designed to include diverse food sources for native pollinators.

While native and pollinator gardens often overlap, they are not necessarily identical.

Pollinator gardens may include native and non-native plant species to provide the best food source possible.

Container Gardening

Container gardens are just like any other residential garden except they are grown in raised containers instead of in the ground.

You can use containers to cultivate an ornamental, vegetable, native, or pollinator garden. 

Container gardening is a great option for renters (who are not allowed to add a permanent garden bed) and those with limited mobility.

Many container gardens are grown where natural soil isn’t available — i.e., patios, balconies, and rooftops.

Indoor Gardening

Growing plants indoors might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to residential gardening.

For many gardeners, though, indoor gardening is the only option. Indoor gardening may occur in the home or in a separate building like a greenhouse.

Indoor gardening can include anything from common houseplants to fruit-bearing species. You can even grow some small trees and shrubs indoors with the right care. 

What Are the Benefits of Residential Gardening?

Curb Appeal

Cultivating a lush garden is an excellent way to add value to your property. It also allows you to — sometimes misguidedly — outshine the neighbors’ properties.

Many homeowners pick up gardening solely to boost their property’s curb appeal.

However, greater curb appeal is a natural consequence of almost any form of residential gardening.

Physical and Mental Health

Better physical and emotional wellbeing is an often overlooked benefit of nearly all types of gardening.

Residential gardening allows you to enjoy these benefits right in your backyard.

Gardening gets the body moving and offers an excuse to spend time outside in the fresh air.

Gardeners are less likely to experience vitamin D deficiency (though you should always take precautions against excess sun exposure!).

Active gardening may be linked to better stress management. Even just observing a well-tended residential garden can put a smile on one’s face.

Food Production

Growing fruit and vegetables in the residential garden is a great way to gain a better understanding of how large-scale agriculture really works.

It can also promote a greater appreciation of the natural world and everything it does for us.

Residential gardeners know exactly what types of chemicals and other potential contaminants their produce has been exposed to. 

Wildlife Support

Many homeowners have caught on to the environmental harm caused by all-grass lawns.

On top of not being suited to all climates, turfgrass is useless to a large number of wild animals.

Converting part of your lawn into a diverse residential garden will almost always benefit the native wildlife in some way.

Flowering plants offer pollen for insects and birds. Countless animal species prefer to graze on garden foliage over plain grass (to the annoyance of many residential gardeners!).

Shrubs and trees provide habitats for insects and other animals like rabbits and ground squirrels.

Even if the local animals don’t choose to call your garden home, your plants will provide a place to take cover on hot days or hide from the rain.

What Are “Non-Residential” Types of Gardening?

Community

Community gardens offer access to plots of land that may not be available to those living in apartments or shared homes.

Community gardens are a popular alternative to residential gardening, especially in densely populated cities.

These gardens serve much the same purpose as residential gardens but are located separate from the home.

Commercial

Private homes aren’t the only buildings that benefit from curb appeal. Chances are most businesses in your area feature some sort of garden around their properties as well.

Commercial landscaping exists to make businesses more appealing to customers.

We’re more likely to patronize a business that looks well-kempt than one that looks neglected and rundown.

Public

Does your town have a bed of rose bushes around its welcome sign? Or is the local park filled with tulips in the spring? These are examples of public gardens.

Public gardens typically exist to beautify a space for the benefit of residents. 

While the financial benefits are not as obvious as in commercial landscaping, public gardens can have a direct effect on people and businesses moving into a municipality.

Attractive public spaces can also affect the value of nearby private properties.

Educational

Large colleges and universities frequently have gardens and greenhouses on the premises.

In many cases, these gardens are open to the public (for free or a small donation).

But the main purpose of these gardens is for students and faculty to study the plant life being grown within.

Educational gardens designed explicitly for children also exist. These gardens may be located at daycares, elementary schools, or zoos.

Children can use these gardens to learn about different plants and practice skills related to their care.

Conclusion

It’s true that most gardens are located near a home of some sort.

But it’s still important to take a step back and understand how residential gardening fits into the hobby as a whole.

Even the most experienced gardeners can learn a thing or two from how other people interact with the plant world. 

By learning about all of the different types of residential gardens that exist, you may discover new ways to cultivate your own beds for decoration, food production, or wildlife support. 

Remember: Nothing’s stopping you from partaking in more than one type of residential gardening at a time!

Also, there’s nothing wrong with participating in a different style of gardening entirely. 

Not everyone has access to plantable land near their residence.

Alternative forms of gardening, such as joining a community garden, are just as valid as residential gardening!

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