Front gardens are getting greener as plant-loving Britons break with the trend for paving and gravel, a survey found.
Twice as many people now say the area in front of their home is entirely planted up, compared with five years ago, according to a poll for the Royal Horticultural Society.
If replicated countrywide, almost 40 square miles of plants, trees and grass has been created since 2015.
Plant power: Greenery has benefits
The RHS says greener front gardens can improve mental and physical health, help wildlife, conserve rain water, improve air quality and cool cities during summer.
About 2.1million front gardens were fully planted in 2020, up from a million in 2015. But while the proportion of front gardens with no or little greenery has fallen since 2015, when 44 per cent of survey respondents said they had no plants or less than a quarter plant cover, that is still the case for a third of gardens.
This shows there is ‘still much work to be done’, RHS director of science and collections Professor Alistair Griffiths said.
‘We’re hopeful that after a long period of people paving over their front gardens this shows the trend is changing and there are greener days to come.’
The RHS says greener front gardens can improve mental and physical health, help wildlife, conserve rain water, improve air quality and cool cities during summer
The RHS said it hopes a surge in interest during the pandemic can help fill gardens with plants. Nearly half of people (48 per cent) with a garden said they spent more time in it during the spring lockdown and more than a quarter bought more plants, while visits to the charity’s online advice pages doubled.
Professor Griffiths said: ‘The RHS has been promoting the importance of adding plants to paved-over front gardens since 2015 when we launched our Greening Great Britain campaign.
The RHS said it hopes a surge in interest during the pandemic can help fill gardens with plants
‘Although there is still much to do, we are thrilled to see an improvement, which has been helped by millions of people taking up gardening over lockdown and buying more plants to grow indoors and out.’
The findings come ahead of the opening of RHS Hilltop at the charity’s Wisley garden in Surrey, with a large exhibition space showing the latest gardening science, learning facilities, and four acres of ‘living laboratory’ gardens.
The new garden space, which opens in June, aims to promote the power of plants to improve health and wellbeing, support wildlife and help the environment.
Since 2008, paving or concreting more than five square metres of garden requires planning permission, unless the householder uses a permeable surface that allows drainage into the soil, in which case permission is not needed.