£7.7billion cost of maintaining British gardens

In fact it is the items that we buy to keep in our gardens that add to our overall outdoor spend, with the five most popular items of garden furniture costing an average £3,480. The most expensive item in the British garden is a shed, present in more than half (53%) of gardens and costing an average £1,340. This is followed by a greenhouse, owned by 13% of gardeners and worth an average £1,310 and a BBQ, a feature in 40% of British gardens and costing an average £512.

Top 5 most expensive items in the average British garden

1. Shed (53%) £1,340
2. Greenhouse (13%) £,310
3. BBQ (40%) £512
4. Lawnmower (49%) £265
5. Sprinkler (40%) £53

The popularity of British garden events like this week’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show further highlights our love for all things green. Two thirds (66%) of Britons, inspired by popular TV gardeners Alan Titchmarsh and Diamuid Gavin, like to get their hands dirty and design and maintain their gardens themselves. In comparison just 3% of Britons have a regular gardener while 6% of house proud Brits have used a landscape designer, paying an average £3,904 for their services.

Despite splashing the cash on their gardens, Brits use their outside space for just under a third of the year, or 120 days on average. Conversely, almost a quarter (24%) of those with a garden admit that they do not spend any time at all in it, rising to 61% of people in the winter months. Unsurprisingly the over 65’s spend the most time outdoors each year, an average 137 days a year, while those aged under 25 spend the least (105 days).

Stuart Beattie, Head of Secured Lending at HSBC comments:

“While we have recently experienced a dry spell, unfortunately the UK’s unpredictable weather means that homeowners do not necessarily spend as much time as they would like in their garden, with one in four admitting they don’t use their garden at all and those who do, are using it for less than a third of the year.

“While having some outside space is obviously desirable among UK homeowners, it is worth considering the time and cost of maintaining a garden and being realistic about your usage before choosing a property that has a price premium attached for the additional space.” 

The survey of 2000 adults revealed that while 72% of us currently have a garden, 96% say outside space is important to us when we are viewing a new property.

Nicholas Leeming, business development director at zoopla.co.uk added:

“It may be a cliché to say the British are obsessed with their lawns but the presence and maintenance of a garden can often make or break the decision to buy or rent a property. Sellers must remember that first impressions are everything and a well tended garden – particularly at the front of a house – can greatly increase the appeal of a property and help maximise the price.

“Despite the additional costs of maintenance, the appetite for gardens from buyers and renters is still strong. In May, the term ‘garden’ was the third most searched criteria by people looking to buy property on Zoopla and for renters it was the single most searched attribute, a signal that the British obsession with gardens is alive and well.”  

“The garden adds another dimension to a house,” says RHS Gold Medal winner Julian Tatlock  of Julian Tatlock Garden Design*. “People have started to see their garden as an integral part of their living space which they enjoy spending time in, whether it’s for relaxation, entertaining or tending their own home grown produce. They have become much more interested in what goes on in their garden, for example, they want ponds and flowers which will attract wildlife and areas to ‘grow your own’.

“Even in the current economic climate we tend to buck the trend as people still want to spend money on their outdoor living space,” adds Julian. “Economic uncertainty has led to people staying put and doing more with what they already have and the garden has become an important part of their plans.”

The Welsh are the biggest garden spenders, forking out an average £466 a year on garden maintenance while surprisingly it is those in the South West who spend the least, at £212 this is less than half their neighbours across the Severn Bridge. However, while they spend the least maintaining their outside space, people in the South West spend the most time in their gardens of any region, an average of 133 days. This compares to just 100 days for those in the North East who spend the least time outside of any region.

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