Gwynedd Tops UK Garden League - City of London is Bottom

August 8, 2004

CSP publishes golden rules for avoiding gardening injuries


97.2 per cent of dwellings in Gwynedd have gardens. This puts the Welsh town top of the UK garden league, according to new statistics from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). The City of London, where only 2.2 per cent of dwellings have gardens, is bottom of the league.


The regional picture puts Northern Ireland at number one, with 91.2 per cent of all dwellings listed as houses with gardens. The East Midlands (90.1 per cent) and Wales (89.3 per cent) also scored well in the garden league. The figure for all other regions is 80 per cent or above, except in Scotland (63.4 per cent) and London (51.4 per cent).


The survey, prepared for the CSP by Nomis at the University of Durham using information from the 2001 census of population, coincides with the publication of a new CSP guide to safe gardening.  These Golden Rules for Safe Gardening (attached below) have been prepared to help cut the number of people needing to visit accident and emergency departments as a result of gardening mishaps, which last year stood at 337, 000*.


Chartered physiotherapist and regular media commentator, Sammy Margo helped draw up the CSP's Golden Rules for Safe Gardening. She said:

'The figures show that most of us have access to a garden. And because all gardens require some level of care and attention, this leaves a huge proportion of the UK population open to all sorts of garden-related injuries.


'Many people overlook the tough physical labour involved in maintaining their gardens and become injured as a result. Stretching, lifting, twisting and bending while tending the garden can force the body into awkward postures. These actions pose a real threat to muscles and joints - especially if they have been neglected through lack of exercise and sedentary living.

'The good news is that many gardening injuries are preventable. By following the advice in the CSP's guide to safe gardening, people can reduce their chances of sustaining an injury in their garden this summer.' For Golden Rules, see Note 2 below.


* The Parliamentary Group on Gardening - April 2003

Media information:

Note 1: For more information or to arrange an interview with Sammy Margo, please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616 / 28 or 020 7306 6163


The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the country's 42,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. A full archive of earlier CSP press releases can be found by visiting


Note 2: CSP Golden Rules for Safe Gardening

1. Gardening isn't a sport - but it is hard work. Warm up before you start with a few simple stretching exercises. Exercises available at:

2. Tools are designed to take some of the strain off you. Look for tools that suit your height and build. Ask for advice when purchasing new equipment

3. Bring your garden to you with raised flowerbeds to reduce the distance you'll need to bend and stretch. Ensure you bend at your knees to minimise stress on your lower back

4. Move heavy items such as paving stones or topsoil a little at a time to reduce the demand on your back, neck and shoulder muscles. Use a wheelbarrow where possible. Your barrow shouldn't be difficult to push - use light loads and make several trips. If you don't have a barrow, try and share the weight with another person

5. Take regular breaks and vary your activities.  Staying in one position too long can cause muscles and joints to strain. Garden a 'little and often'.  Plan ahead and set realistic goals - aim to do a little each day to avoid over doing it on the weekend

6. When lifting, keep the load close to your body. Bend from your knees (not from your back) and push up with your legs

7. Design flower beds in manageable sizes to avoid over-stretching to reach the middle or far side when tending. Plant low maintenance shrubs and bushes to reduce the amount of time you spend digging, potting and weeding

8. Plant from a kneeling position (use knee-pads, or a kneeling cushion) and don't strain yourself by over stretching

9. Move with your tools and use them correctly. When raking, digging or weeding, move to the areas you are tending instead of stretching with the tools. Don't swing your lawn mower from side to side. Turn your body in line with the mower and keep an upright posture

10. Go with the flow.  To water the garden, use a sprinkler or watering hoses that can be put around the garden and left in place all summer

11. Beware of uneven steps, slippery paths and broken paving slabs. Wear suitable clothes and sturdy footwear

12. Accept that if a job is too demanding, it would be safer to get help

13. Don't overdo it. Listen to your body and stop work immediately if you feel any discomfort. Give your body a chance to recover by taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of water

14. Tidy up at the end of the day. Tools left lying around can cause serious injuries. Be especially vigilant if there are children or pets in the garden. Store tools in an orderly way so that they are easy to retrieve

15. When your work in the garden is done, try a little mild, non-impact exercise such
as walking or swimming. This will help your body cool down and can help ward off post exercise muscle soreness. When relaxing, place a cushion between your lower back and a chair, which will help support the natural curve in your spine and relieve tension

If you sustain an injury and don't see an improvement within 48 hours, seek a referral to a chartered physiotherapist from your GP. Alternatively, you can make an appointment to see a physiotherapist privately. Visit for a list of chartered private practitioners in your area.

Note 3: Tables 

                                                       Numbers           %of all household spaces

1 Gwynedd/Gwynedd                         50,976                         97.4
2 Strabane                                        12,863                         96.6
3 Ballymoney                                     9,540                          96.4
4 Isle of Anglesey/Sir Ynys Mon         28,788                          96.3
5 Magherafelt                                    13,026                           96.2
6 Cookstown                                        10,916                        96.1
7 Dungannon                                     16,421                          95.7
8 Moyle                                              6,005                          95.2
9 Limavady                                        10,545                         95.0
10 Armagh                                         18,522                          94.9
11 Durham                                        205,198                          94.8
12 Omagh                                          16,130                          94.6
13 Newry and Mourne                      29,041                            94.5
14 Fermanagh                                  20,497                          94.3
15 Banbridge                                    14,935                          94.3
16 Down                                            21,882                          94.1
17 Flintshire/Sir y Fflin                        58,301                          93.6
18 Rutland UA                                    13,158                         93.6
19 Barnsley                                        89,495                         93.5
20 Pembrokeshire/Sir Benfr    o            47,567                         93.3

Bottom 20 places with the fewest houses with gardens as a proportion of all dwellings

210 Brighton and Hove UA                   62,475                         52.9
211 West Dunbartonshire                     22,500                         52.2
212 Inverclyde                                    19,074                         49.2
213 Aberdeen City                                50,113                         48.2
214 Lewisham                                      51,721                         47.3
215 Dundee City                                   32,183                         45.9
216 Haringey                                       42,015                         44.5
217 Edinburgh, City of                          84,751                         39.7
218 Wandsworth                                  43,359                         35.8
219 Glasgow City                                 83,348                         29.6
220 Hammersmith and Fulham              22,609                          29.2
221 Lambeth                                        34,880                          28.8
222 Southwark                                     27,599                          25.8
223 Hackney                                        21,443                          24.3
224 Islington                                        16,524                          19.7
225 Kensington and Chelsea                 14,449                          17.4
226 Tower Hamlets                              13,133                          16.4
227 Camden                                        13,455                          14.3
228 Westminster                                  11,163                          11.4
229 City of London                                   102                            2.2

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