Top Tips for Creating an Asthma & Allergy Friendly Garden

27 May 2011
Children in allergy friendly garden

Outreach horiculturist and garden designer Fiann O'Nuallain from Inspiring Gardens designed the Asthma Society of Ireland's "Treat not Trigger-Asthma and Allergy Friendly Garden at Bord Bia' Bloom. 

Here are some of Fiann's "Top Tips" for creating an asthma & allergy friendly garden:

  • Choose plants that are pollinated by bees, the pollen is heavier and sticky and therefore stays on the bees rather than floating around the garden.

  • Avoid wind pollinated plants which disperse copious amounts of pollen into the air.

  • Avoid plants which are intensely fragrant as they can be a trigger for allergies and asthma.

  • Choose female plants, as they produce no pollen. Sterile male plants are also a good choice.

  • Grass is a major pollen producer so mow your lawn regularly, before it flowers.

  • Wear a mask when mowing lawn or trimming hedge.

  • If possible replace your lawn with gravel

  • Replace organic mulches with inorganic mulches

  • Avoid ornamental grasses in your planting schemes.

  • Remove hedges which harbour dust, pollen grains and mould spores which can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.

  • Planting female and thus fruiting trees will attract birds to feed on insects

  • If space is limited place bird feeders will attract birds to keep insect dander out of your breathable atmosphere.

For more information on gardening with asthma and allergies download the "Gardening with Asthma & Alllergies and Creating an Allergy Friendly Garden" booklet.

children playing with watering cans

About Fiann O’Nuallain

Fiann has been pioneering horticultural therapy since the early 1990s, working with the Cheshire Homes Foundation, The Tower Project, The Carline Centre, several youth projects under CYSB  and community addiction and recovery programmes.Fiann designed the Asthma Society of Ireland's "Treat not Trigger- Asthma & Allergy Friendly Garden" at Bord Bia's Bloom in the Phoenix Park in 2011. He is currently works with Dublin City Council community development officers to introduce horticultural programmes across the city in schools, community centres  and elderly residential homes.

Fiann has lectured on the topics of holistic gardening, ecological gardening and biodiversity for a number of years, including talks at Bloom and his work has appeared on BBC gardener’s world, RTE nationwide and The Late Late Show.  Fiann has written content for several websites and editorials pertaining to gardening for health including Bord Bia’s ‘Gardening Time’.  Currently  a staff writer for ‘Self Build’ magazine with a brief to bring environmental gardening to their readership. He has also published a series of booklets on the benefits of houseplants as air purifying agents to combat fatigue, asthma and insomnia. Fiann is a member of the International Federation of Parks and Recreational Spaces, the International Society of Horticultural Science and the American Association of Horticultural Therapy .