The cost of Britain’s gardens

Alick Burnett
Alick Burnett Marketing & Business Development Manager
News

Rejuvenating your garden can be a daunting task, requiring substantial amounts of time, energy, money and imagination. But it’s also hugely rewarding, with great gardens thought to improve our overall wellbeing simply by offering a soothing place to breathe.

For many people, however, the dream of the perfect garden can feel out of reach. Perhaps you spend weekends weeding and planting only to find that unpredictable weather puts paid to your efforts, from late spring frosts to extended summer heatwaves. Or perhaps life keeps getting in the way, and your garden space is being left unloved.

Over the last decade, increasing numbers of gardens around Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been paved over – despite the fact that homebuyers will often spend thousands of pounds more on a home that has a garden. So, why are grey gardens starting to overtake green?

We wanted to find out more about the cost of garden upkeep in the UK, and about what it is that stands between people and their ideal outside space. So, we’ve asked more than 2,000 people around the UK – along with hundreds of professional gardeners and landscapers – questions on the cost of garden renovations, how much people are really spending, and what’s most likely to get in the way.

The results are in

The cost of Britain's gardens survey results 2019

First up, let’s look at the cost of a basic garden makeover. The typical UK garden measures up at around 50 square metres, so we got in touch with professionals from just about every corner of the UK to find out what they’d charge for laying new turf in an area this size and carefully sowing a measured strip of flowerbed within.

Bear in mind that these costs don’t include any ground clearing that may be necessary, though they do include the cost of labour. Unsurprisingly, Londoners are being charged the most from the get-go, with typical pricing around 50% higher than the rest of the UK at £1260.

Scotland, on the other hand, can get a makeover for the lowest price – with the average quote coming in at just £560, 33% below the national average.

Regions in order of average cost are:

  1. London (£1260)

  2. North West (£1150)

  3. South East (£910)

  4. East of England (£820)

  5. The Midlands (£790)

  6. North East (£750)

  7. South West (£735)

  8. Northern Ireland (£690)

  9. Wales (£610)

  10. Scotland (£560)

Yorkshire and The Humber has been omitted due to a lack of data, but it’s interesting to see that every other English region came out markedly more expensive than our neighbours in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

While this gives us a feel for the typical cost of financing a basic green space, we wanted to hear what people have actually been spending over the last three years.

The decline in garden spending

How much do people actually spend on their garden?

Reports in 2015 noted that Great British garden owners were spending, on average, £587 per year on garden upkeep. We asked more than 2,000 people what they’d spend in the last three years combined, and found that there’s been a serious drop-off in garden spending.

Throughout 2016, 2017 and 2018, the majority of our respondents spent £500 or less, in total, on garden maintenance and renovations. That’s less in three years than earlier reports suggested we typically spend in one.

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the much-scrutinised Millennial and Generation Z age groups have been spending the least on gardens in the last three years, with nearly 73% spending under £500 in this time. But across all age groups, this was still the most likely spend.

While over 55s were most likely to have spent between £501 and 1500, only 20% of this age group did so. Just under 10% of over 55s spent between £1501 and 2500, while the biggest spends were made by a small 5% of the population – who have invested more than £8001 in their gardens since 2016.

Amount spentTotal respondents18-3435-5455+
£500 or less64.7%72.9%61.1%58.8%
£501 - £150014.6%11%14.5%19.7%
£1501 - £25006.6%3.2%7.5%9.8%
£2501 - £40003.6%3%4.8%2.6%
£4001 - £65002.9%3%3%2.5%
£6501 - £80002.4%1.8%2.9%2.3%
£8001+5%5.1%6.1%4.3%

What's getting in the way?

For most of us, it isn’t cost that’s stopping us from achieving our garden dreams. It’s finding the time and energy to invest.

85.5% of the people we quizzed stated that time and energy were a barrier to them having the garden they wanted, with 44.5% picking this as the number one hold-up.

BarrierTotal respondents18-3435-5455+
Time / Energy44.5%40.5%45%49.1%
Money14.5%16.9%12.6%13.9%
Both41%42.6%42.5%36.9%

Keeping lawns and flowerbeds weed-free can be seriously time-consuming, and though most of us would love to have colourful blooms to admire all year round, seasonal re-planting is often overlooked in favour of other everyday tasks. Trimming hedgerows, raking up leaves and turning soil are all relatively simple tasks, but ones which may not seem that tempting at the end of a long week.

All over the UK and in every age group, we found that a lack of time and energy are contributing to the increasing grey-ness of British gardens, and to overall dissatisfaction with our outside spaces.

How to keep a green garden without much maintenance

Having a picturesque garden to enjoy doesn’t necessarily have to mean inputting all your free time to plant-related chores. But if you’d rather not be responsible for overgrowth and wilting plant life, it may be time to invest in a few items of fauxliage to bring colour to a grey or neglected outside space.

You could mix a real grass lawn with some easy-care artificial hedgerows, or brighten up a dull patio with pre-filled floral planters that don’t require any watering, trimming or pest protection.

Mix low-to-no-maintenance artificial plant life with corners of living foliage that won’t require constant upkeep, like a single bed of wildflowers penned in with sleepers or stones to stop them from spreading out of control.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, take a look at our wide range of artificial outdoor plants and trees – perfect if you want relaxing greenery that looks like the real thing, but without any of the hassle.