How much have our gardens changed over time?

Gardens have been used for many reasons over the years; from growing food to being a space to relax in, people have found many uses for their gardens. However, did you know that the average sized garden has been shrinking over the years?

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 composite decking, take a look at what has really happened to our gardens, and how they have changed alongside our modern lives.

Less and less people who own property are owning properties with gardens – and this trend is set to increase moving into the future. By 2020, 10.5% of homes will not have a garden, which means in the years to come fewer and fewer of us will own a property with a garden.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. 

When re-evaluating the purpose of a garden at the beginning of the 20th century, it’s clear that their overall purpose has obviously changed. 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. 

After many years, the garden has started to become a space where the principles of indoor living have been incorporated into outdoor spaces. 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: They have come a long way since the days of powering one rotational; cylinder 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: Pots can be made from plastics, as opposed to clay, and biodegradable materials so that materials can degenerate back into the natural environment. 

Garden centres have been used by gardening enthusiasts for years, but very few understand where they began. In the 1950s and 60s, this is when garden centres were first popularised.The first was in Ferndown, Dorset in 1965, 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. 

By 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, many consumers in Britain began to be more concerned with owning their own home as opposed to renting, which raised the standard of gardens. 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 1990s, the garden was popularised on television, sparking the trend for many television programmes advising on how to improve the quality of your garden. 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. 

As new trends come along and old ones fade out, with every new decade comes a change in how we perceive our gardens. 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 economical and eco-friendly, the garden can become a space to celebrate the natural world without having to break the bank for ornamental decorations.