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Average garden spend for younger homeowners reaches 747 a year

A passion for gardening usually takes root in middle age, but younger homeowners are fast developing a taste for horticulture. According to a new study by Lloyds Bank Insurance, people in their twenties and thirties are spending more money on making their gardens beautiful. The research reveals that homeowners aged 25-34 spent an average of £747 on their outdoor spaces in the past year, more than double the average UK spend of £366. For almost a third this expenditure was driven by a love for gardening, while a quarter wanted to entertain their guests outside.

Frances Tophill, a horticulturalist and presenter of ITV’s Love Your Garden, says: “Recently we’ve witnessed a real throwback to ‘homeliness’, with gardening, among other home-making activities, coming back into popular culture. Entertaining friends at home and in the garden is a welcome alternative to expensive restaurants or crowded parks, and by going for low-maintenance garden options like decking [or] plant pots, they can have the look with minimal effort.”

People are also keen to boost the value of their homes. According to the Lloyds report, Britain at Home, one in six is hoping to increase the value of their property by upgrading their outdoor space, whether it be new decking or a new bed of roses. Investing in your garden can indeed reap financial rewards, according to Lindsay Cuthill, head of the country department at Savills estate agency: “A beautiful garden provides considerable value, as a much sought-after and aspirational safe haven for family life. When viewing a property, first impressions are hugely important and a beautifully presented garden is a crucial part of this. Some people can be daunted by a garden that is heavily manicured, which might look like a lot of work.”

Nick Barnes, head of research at Chesterton Humberts estate agency, says: “Many buyers decide to increase the value of their property by investing in some sort of outside area rather than an extra bedroom or a further 150 sq ft of internal floor space.”

It seems people are spending more on making their gardens beautiful. The research reveals that homeowners spent a total of £8.6 billion on their outdoor spaces in the past 12 months, including £6.1 billion on their gardens and £2.5 billion on balconies, roof terraces and allotments.

As gardening programmes and the trend for “growing your own” undergo a renaissance, a third of all homeowners say they are spending more time and money improving their outdoor spaces compared with five years ago. The volume of bookings for tradesmen to improve gardens is up, according to Ratedpeople.com, the trade recommendation website.

Marek Mossakowski of Ratedpeople.com says: “We have recorded a seasonal rise of 64 per cent in the number of home-improvement jobs in the first three months of the year. It is clear that the tradesmen industry in the UK is experiencing a period of revitalisation. We have seen a huge surge in gardening jobs, which has become the most consistent trend through the May bank holiday season.

“Garden renovations have topped the list as the most in-demand home improvement for the past two years running. Requests for professional gardeners and landscapers have taken a dominant share of jobs posted — marking an increase of 11 per cent year-on-year.

“As the home improvement industry once again begins to thrive and a fleet of young first-time buyers snap up homes, it’s fantastic to see many younger first-time gardeners picking up the trowel. A good garden has the potential to add thousands of pounds to [the value of] your property, as well as offering more living and entertaining space. Who wouldn’t want that?”

Source : Holly Thomas - The Times
www.thetimes.co.uk

19 May 2014
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