How the garden space has changed over the years

  • Guest Blog
  • 2 weeks ago

British gardens have been shrinking since the 1920s, and although it’s not clearly noticeable, these changes are beginning to be significant. The British home has decreased in size by 50%, and gardens have also depleted from 168 metres squared to 163.2 metres squared between the years 1983 and 2013. Arbor Deck, retailers of specialist composite decking, take a look at what has really happened to our gardens, and how they have changed alongside our modern lives.

Two million homes did not have a garden in 2010, while 10.5% of homes will not have a garden by 2020. This questions how important our garden is and how we have used it over time. What becomes troubling within these figures is that 38% of children are more likely to become obese if they do not have access to a garden.

Although the space and shape of a garden is always a significant factor, there is also more to a garden than just these factors. During the Second World War, the garden was a space where vegetables could be planted to cope with the demands of rationing. They could also be used as a bomb shelter for those who were in more suburban areas. Now kept in pristine condition, gardens have changed. They aren’t so much about vegetable patches and bomb shelters anymore; they are a space dictated by decoration and ornamentation.

Materials for a garden are usually chosen based on how accessible the space is, and the size of the garden in mind. With the rise of decking and replicating indoor spaces outdoors, the garden has become more than anything else a synthetic space – like the home itself. Some of the most classic changes to the British garden are as follows:

  • Lawn mowers: Things have changed drastically since lawn mowers that were powered by hand. Now, with the invention of more sophisticated technologies, electric powered mowers have meant that gardeners can easily cut their grass without any fuss.
  • Pots and plants: Degenerating back into the natural environment, biodegradable materials are now used in the production of pots, as opposed to clay.

In the 1950s and 60s, Britain began the gardening phenomenon that we see today, with garden centres springing up across the country. The first was in Ferndown, Dorset in 1995, and encouraged gardeners to buy plants from exotic locations. As a result, heathers, conifers and bedding plants became popular in the UK due to their availability.

Moving away from the conservatism of the 1960s into a new age, Britain embraced the counter-cultural ideas of the 1970s. People became more interested in growing their own vegetables at home within sustainable gardening projects. With the availability of colour televisions, gardening programmes could be shown to a wider audience, so that viewers would become aware of how to maintain their garden at its best.

In the 1980s, gardens changed once again – moving on from the trend that saw growing your own vegetables become popular again. The garden was a space that was recreational rather than a space utilised for growing vegetables. BBQs and conservatories were then popularised, making it a space to be shared with friends and family.

In the 90s, the garden received a complete makeover, which was often popularised on television. Usually, this would be done by installing decking, which is a good way of dynamically changing the look and atmosphere of a garden without too much hassle.

Once again in the 21st century, gardens have changed – which is no surprise; as times change and move on, it is evident that the garden will move on and transform as a space. As information is disseminated more freely, and is easy to obtain through smartphones and tablets, growing and cultivating gardens with fruits and vegetables has become easier than ever to understand. With the future of gardening set to become more economically and eco-friendly, the garden can become a space to celebrate the natural world without having to break the bank for ornamental decorations.

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