Britons trade horticulture for hot tubs

And with 15 million homeowners (85%) having some form of outdoor space around their property, £14billion was spent on gardens in the last year alone.

With the average UK garden now worth £1928, one in 10 Britons admits to spending money on their gardens as they can’t afford to move home, while a third of homeowners say spending a lot of time outside is the main reason for splashing out.

Garden Values is the first part of the bi-annual Britain at Home report from Lloyds TSB Insurance, designed to build a comprehensive picture of British home life and spending priorities by shining a light on how we fill and use our homes and gardens.

It revealed that while luxury outdoor items and garden furniture increase in popularity, sales of outdoor plants have declined, indicating that the nation’s gardens are becoming more about leisure than landscaping.

Britons are increasingly choosing to ‘make over’ their outside spaces, with homeowners buying luxury garden lifestyle items such as hot tubs (10%), trampolines (22%) and summer houses (8%), as well as fixing up their current spaces (4%) instead of putting their homes on the market.

Frances Tophill, presenter of ITV’s Love Your Garden, said: "We don’t often get a chance to peek over the garden fence of the nation, but as homeowners become too time-poor for gardening, features like decking, summer houses and leisure items have moved into prime position in our back gardens. While it is positive that we are valuing our outdoor spaces more, I hope the traditional image of the flower-filled Great British garden is not beginning to wilt."

Yet despite investing heavily in our gardens, nearly half of homeowners aren’t taking appropriate steps to protect the contents within. When it comes to cover for their garden contents, 12.5 million homeowners (44%) either have no insurance or are unsure whether or not they are adequately covered.

Tim Downes, senior claims manager, Lloyds TSB Insurance, said: "While many are now prioritising their outside spaces, it is a false economy to invest in luxury garden items without ensuring they are covered. As our gardens grow increasingly expensive, homeowners are realising that they no longer own just a few pounds worth of petunias, but hundreds of pounds worth of leisure items. Garden-proud homeowners should check their insurance policies to ensure their beloved outdoor luxuries are properly protected."

The report showed that we are a garden-proud nation, with Britons spending just over half an hour outside each day and a third (31%) wishing they could spend even more time outdoors. However, it is clear that this time is not spent planting flowers or pruning rose bushes, with over half of homeowners (57%) using the garden simply as a place to relax.

For one in 10 (9%) homeowners, the garden is where the family spends the most time together, and in a bid to make our gardens more child-orientated, over a fifth of us have invested in a trampoline and playground features such as swings and slides to sit alongside the more traditional flowerbeds.

This penchant for fancy garden accessories would appear to indicate that the trend for al fresco dining and entertaining continues apace. An increasing number of Britons are now adopting a more continental lifestyle despite the chillier climate, with one in 10 households owning a hot tub. According to the British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association, sales have risen steadily every year, with last year’s cold weather only helping to boost the number of hot tubs sold.

As one in five claims to use the gardens for entertaining friends, it perhaps doesn’t come as a surprise that 29% now own a barbecue, with over a third (35%) confessing to using the barbecue in the winter. However, one in 10 has invested in patio heaters to stay warm outside.

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