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Home > Gardening News >

The UK's Ultimate Dream Garden


A survey of UK homeowners has revealed the UK’s ultimate dream garden – with bird feeders, real grass, pizza ovens and wildflower meadows among the top 25 garden features as voted for by the nation. 

Considering that 77% of us spend up to 20 hours a week in the garden in the summer months, it’s not surprising that we want our gardens in tip-top shape. However, although Brits are not shy on spending when it comes to their gardens, willing to pay an average of £10,333.90 to achieve their garden goals, in reality, a garden with all the dream features would actually cost nearer the £70,000 mark. The survey of 1,000 UK homeowners was commissioned by The Garden Project Co, to shed light on the preferences and trends shaping modern garden design. RHS Chelsea Flower Show award-winning designer, Chris Howkins, designed the dream garden based on the survey results.

Garden spend trends

While on average people would spend £10,333 to get their garden just how they want it, those households earning over £100,000 are willing to spend over £20,000. And, for 38% of people whose houses are worth over £1 million, they’re happy to spend upwards of £50,000 to achieve their garden goals. Gender divide

Achieving the dream garden might cause disagreements in some households, with a distinct difference of opinions as to what should feature in a dream garden. Women voted overwhelmingly in favour of fairy lights (64%) with men definitely not so keen (33%). Spending could be a bone of contention too, with men, on average, willing to spend almost £4,000 more than women on renovating the garden.

Mind the age gap

The survey results also show a big difference between various age groups, with some of the desired features for the younger age groups proving to be not quite so desirable for the older generation and vice-versa. Only 10% of 18 – 24 years olds envisage having shrubs in their dream garden, compared to 74% of the over-65 age group. While only 19% of over-65s would like a pizza oven in their dream garden, this rises considerably to 58% of 24 – 35 year olds. Bringing the indoors outside

42% of us say we spend time in the garden entertaining guests, which perhaps explains why outdoor dining and entertaining features are so popular across the nation. The 25 – 34 year old age group is the most keen to go al fresco when it comes to dining, with 72% listing a BBQ as a key feature of their dream garden, alongside a pizza oven (58%) and an outdoor kitchen (32%). Firepits are popular with all but the oldest generation, liked by up to 59% of homeowners under 65.  It seems summerhouses are popular too, with 58% listing a summerhouse as one of their garden goals.

Nation of twitchers

Overwhelmingly, we’re a nation of bird lovers with 63% insisting on a bird feeder for their dream garden. Not quite as popular but still up there, are bird houses, garnering 45% of the vote. Again, there’s a clear generational gap though, with only 27% of 18 – 24 year olds keen to have a bird feeder as one of their dream garden must-haves, as opposed to 71% of people over 55.

Some unique suggestions

While there is a general consensus on which features should be part of the nation’s dream garden, there were a few more unusual suggestions too. One respondent wants a ‘hedgehog haven’ as part of their ideal garden and someone else listed ‘squirrel feeders’, which probably wouldn’t feature in the dream garden of the respondent whose dream garden contains ‘no squirrels’. On a more magical note, someone requested ‘a fairy bridge and fairies’ for their dream garden, which could be very tricky to come by at the local garden centre.

Toby Brennan, operations director at The Garden Project Co, said: “People are spending more on their gardens, investing in their outdoor spaces to create inviting yet functional environments in which they can relax, entertain and live. To achieve the nation’s dream garden would cost in the region of £70,000, which would pay for a combination of landscaping, planting, outdoor buildings and other fixtures. A great deal of the budget or ‘quick fix’ garden makeovers that we all see on Instagram and TikTok simply aren’t realistic and so it’s important that people in pursuit of their dream gardens get the right advice early on in the process, finding out exactly what’s achievable within their budget.”

Chris Howkins, design director at The Garden Project Co and RHS Chelsea Flower Show award-winning designer, comments: “As we’re seeing with our clients, more and more homeowners are seeking to create outdoor spaces that reflect their lifestyles. That might be with additional dining and entertaining options, or through a variety of different plants and water features. People are spending more time in their gardens and they want to achieve that perfect blend of beauty and function, creating wonderful, inspiring outdoor spaces that are an extension of the home.”

Top 25 garden must-haves:

Patio

Real grass

Pathways

Seasonal flowers

Bird feeders

Summer house

Trees

Shrubs

BBQ

Vegetable/fruit patch

Lanterns

Sun loungers

Hanging baskets

Fairy lights

Raised beds

Bird houses

Firepit

Decking

Dining table

Shed

Wildflower meadow

Rattan furniture

Corner garden sofa

Pizza oven

Pond/Lake

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This story was published on: 26/05/2024

Image attribution: Pexels / Joanna Zdunczyk

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