Manicured, romantic, or wild? The relation between need for structure and preferences for garden styles

van den Berg, A. E. & van Winsum-Westra, M., 2010, In : Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 9, 3, p. 179-186 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

The present research examined individual differences in preferences for three basic garden styles: manicured, romantic, and wild. Building on theoretical insights from landscape preference research, it was hypothesized that preferences for garden styles are guided by psychological needs. This hypothesis was empirically tested in two studies that used Personal Need for Structure (PNS; Neuberg and Newsom, 1993) as a predictor of preferences for allotment gardens in the Netherlands. In Study 1, 150 respondents rated the beauty of 30 photos of manicured, romantic, and wild allotment gardens. Results showed that respondents with a high PNS, as compared to respondents with a low PNS, rated wild gardens as less beautiful, and manicured gardens as more beautiful. Study 2 investigated the relationship between the PNS of allotment gardeners and the actual appearance of their gardens. One hundred and twenty-three owners of allotment gardens filled out the PNS scale and classified their garden as manicured, romantic, or wild. Gardeners with a high PNS, as compared to gardeners with a low PNS, more often owned a manicured or romantic garden, and less often owned a wild garden. In both studies, preference for garden types was also related to demographic characteristics, including gender, education level, and age. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. (C) 2010 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalUrban Forestry & Urban Greening
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Allotment gardens, Landscape preference, Nature experience, Personality, Visual quality, LANDSCAPE PREFERENCE, PERSONAL NEED, WILDERNESS, ATTITUDES, PERSPECTIVE, MANAGEMENT, UK

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