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Brits long for alfresco living

However, not all the uses for our gardens are strictly sociable. Many people use it for more practical reasons such as drying laundry (63%), growing fruit and vegetables (33%) and exercising pets (17%).

Top 10 uses for British Gardens
1. Relaxing (76%)
2. Drying laundry (63%)
3. Dining (54%)
4. Growing plants, flowers, and trees (48%)
5. Sunbathing (47%)
6. Entertaining guests (45%)
7. For children to play in (33%)
8. Growing fruit or vegetables (33%)
9. To attract birds and wildlife (31%)
10. Exercising pets (17%)

It appears that privacy is an important factor when it comes to Brits relaxing in their gardens. Owners of terraced houses whose gardens are usually overlooked are significantly less likely to eat in their garden (35%) compared to those with detached properties (53%) and are less likely to sunbathe (23%) than those in detached properties (46%). In fact, owners of terraced houses use their garden far less than those in detached properties for all activities.

The research also found a contrast in garden usage among the generations – older people spend more time making it look appealing, whereas younger people use it to for sociable activities. Indeed, while more over 65s spend their time growing plants and flowers (66%) than any other age group, they are the least likely to use the garden for entertaining (14%) and second least likely to use it for dining in (29%).

Women also seem to make a greater use of their garden. Fifty seven per cent of women use it for eating, compared with 49% of men whilst 49% of women sunbathe in their gardens in comparison to 43% of men.

Stuart Beattie, Head of Lending at HSBC said;

‘Given our notoriously unreliable weather, it is perhaps surprising that we are using our gardens for such traditionally European pastimes such as alfresco dining, entertaining guests and even sunbathing. However in times of austerity, with many people looking to save money, enjoying dinner or parties in the garden offers a cost effective social alternative to spending money in bars and restaurants. It is interesting to note however that while we are using our gardens for these European style activities, it seems that we haven’t yet shaken off our British sense of privacy.’

Regional Findings
• Dining in the garden is most popular in the South East (61%) followed by London (58%), and for entertaining, this trend is reversed with London the highest (54%) and South East second (48%).
• While not famed for its sunny weather, Wales has the highest proportion of sunbathers (57%), and perhaps unsurprisingly, Scotland has the lowest proportion (39%).
• The region most likely to use the garden to dry laundry was the South East (71%), closely followed by the North East (69%).

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