Forum home Wildlife gardening

The demise of the front garden.

I do worry about the vanishing front garden, it seems the passion for gardening is dying and being replaced with gravel, mounds and mounds of the stuff. Around here 95% of  front gardens have being paved or gravelled. The big front lawns of houses are disappearing even thou they have big drives .I can understand small gardens and where you need off road parking but this is more than that. It strikes me as a lazy mans answer to not mowing the lawn but begs the question why buy a house with big garden if your going to concrete it over ?have we a love for hard core gravel more than grass?  I have thou one ray of hope thou, its not one of manicured lawns but of a wild life return as the weeds pop up amongst the gravel and the bushes over grow with brambles showing their fruit and I saw some lovely rose hips in a un loved garden a feast for the birds .I have seen some delightful small front gardens with displays of flowers and shrubs although  no lawn  but they are but a few amongst disappearing gardens.image



  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    Rose, my front is lawn, or should I say green stuff, the boundry to the road is a beech hedge. It doesn't get much sun, but in time I will plant some things.

    My previous house had a nice front garden, if small. I took a lot of ideas from "More front gardens" a book by Gaye Search..I think. I've just been to check and I don't seem to have it anymore.

    I think it's sad all the hard standing at the front of houses, but can understand some people's need for it.

    I will follow this thread, will be interested what people say. image

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Dear FW, I am a very keen observer of front gardens; what I have noticed in London areas, as they get more 'gentrified' and are too small to park anything but a motorbike, they are changing from a scrubby lawn and a sad hydrangea to lovely tiles up the front path, a neat place for the bins, yes a bit of gravel, hopefully with weed suppressing membrane underneath, and a focal plant in the centre, sometimes with planting around the edge. They are looking very good. Where I live in the Fens, 13 years ago when I moved here, the front gardens were a boring bit of grass, but over the years, with the help of Wisbech plant Auctions things have changed and virtually every front garden is looking good. Often where a front garden is neglected, there is a very old person living there who could do with some offers of helpimage

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391

    Personally, it's the amount of hard standing (block paving, concrete, slabbing etc.) which I see as problematic.  None of those allow surface water to be absorbed into the ground so aggravating surface flooding which is becoming more and more of a problem in urban areas.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • In our village we are not allowed to pave over the entire front garden, but leave borders or some part unpaved because of the risk of flooding etc. Fortunately only a few gardens have paving/brick etc, most are proper front gardens with lawns and flowers. I love to walk round the village and see all the displays summer brings. image

  • Hi Flowering Rose

    yes it is a concern. Where I live (in London) a lot of front gardens are now drives - understandable with parking being so scarce and/or expensive, I guess. But also there are a lot of neglected gardens. It breaks my heart when I know that there are so many people out there who would love a garden.

    I live in the "garden flat" of a converted house. I've always had a back garden, but until three years ago, the front garden consisted of a big lime tree and one border full of overgrown "car park" shrubs. The rest was concreted over. I decided to chop down the hideous shrubs and replant the one border, and my neighbour asked whether I would plant up the rest if he dug up the concrete. I asked him to buy a ton of topsoil as well and planted it up, using the entire contents of my compost bins, cuttings,  divisions and plants grown from seed, plus some impulse buys that had never thrived in the back garden. I made a lawn from "mind  your own business" - I wanted a patch of green but no mowing.  

    Now it looks like it has always been there, and I've met so many neighbours who have stopped to talk to me about it and are really pleased to see a garden -  I'd lived here ten years without speaking to any of them! Passers-by often stop to have a chat about what is growing, or what I am doing in the garden. So front gardens bring neighbours together!

     It is alive with bees and hoverflies in the summer and this Autumn, the spiders and harvestmen were much in evidence. There are all types of funghi springing up, enjoying the leaf mould that the lime tree generates.

    I've added bulbs of various types. The plants are all well-established and many are self-seeding -  I am hoping for drifts of cyclamen eventually and the anemones and fritillaria should also spread. There is something in flower virtually every day of the year, although at the moment it's the foliage that steals the show. So much nicer to look at that what was there before.

    I'm so glad we did it!

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391

    Well done GG!  Interesting about the neighbours now talking - just goes to show that seeing a bit of nature is good for human's social psychology. image 

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,126

    I think that some people are loathe to 'garden' in the front in case they have to talk to their neighbours!!! image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    What a lovely tale Ginglygangly.  

    And a very good point Dove.

  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    When we do anything in our front, be it grass cutting or hedge trimming, car washing, or windows, it takes twice as long as we get an audience...usually people who are out for a walk and our gate is a good resting place. I don't mind, so long as I'm not looking a total scruff. H seems to enjoy the chat and reports back with all sorts of gossip and advice about "how to" do the job. image

Sign In or Register to comment.