The garden is fast becoming the most expensive ‘room’ in the house as al fresco lifestyles soar in popularity across the UK, according to a new report.

For the latest research shows that Britons’ spending on the space outside their homes now rivals the cash spent inside their four walls.

The average outlay is £2,000 in the past two years, with one in four households admitting that they have spent more than £3,000 on their outdoor spaces to enjoy a more Mediterranean lifestyle.

The increasing trend to transform gardens, patios and balconies into outdoor ‘rooms’ for relaxing, dining and entertaining has fuelled the spending spree, according to the study for JD Williams Home.

There has been a trend towards transforming gardens, patios and balconies into outdoor ‘rooms’ for relaxing, dining and entertaining. Pictured: An English garden in the summer

Half (49 per cent) of the 23 million households with gardens admit they have spent as much, or more on their outdoor areas than rooms inside over the last two years.

The average spend over this period has been £2,154 with one in four households forking out £3,000 or more to kit out their outdoor spaces, including garden furniture, BBQ’s, lighting, outdoor heating, water features, patios and decking.

Nearly eight out of ten of those undertaking outside work (78 per cent) have made structural changes, such as extending the patio or installing permanent features in the garden with a third hiring a building contractor or gardener to help.

The trend coincides with a desire to enjoy a more Mediterranean lifestyle, with over half (53 per cent) of those who responded prioritising transforming outside space as opposed to rooms in the home in the past two years. Only one in four says they are influenced by TV’s gardening experts in their choice of designs.

Spend on garden furniture has overtaken spending on plants for beds and borders as outdoor space becomes more associated with comfort and entertaining than compost and weeding.

Eight in ten (81 per cent) report that they spend more time outside as a result of work done to the garden, with relaxing the favourite pastime followed by eating and entertaining. Eight in 10 say they have installed lighting and two thirds some form of heating. Two thirds said they had made the changes to make their outside space easier to maintain and although the majority enjoy chilling out in the garden, one in five admitted they disliked actual gardening.

The most popular purchase revealed by the poll of 1,030 homeowners was garden planters and pots, then furniture and seating, including permanent benches, followed by BBQs. Actual plants only made it to fifth place in the list.

The highest spenders were householders aged from 45 to 54, while those aged from 55 to 64 were the most likely to buy plants with one third (34 per cent) having bought one or more in the last four months, compared to 27 per cent of all age groups.

The most popular purchase revealed by the poll of 1,030 homeowners was garden planters and pots, then furniture and seating, including permanent benches, followed by barbecues (pictured)

Jenni Bamford, for JD Williams Home, said: ‘With the popularity of holidays abroad people get a taste for al fresco dining and entertaining and want to spend more time outdoors, weather permitting, when they return home.

‘Garden designers and improved hard-landscaping techniques and modern materials are all combining to show us how to use outside space better. People want comfort, luxury and variety in garden furniture and fixtures and to make their outdoor space somewhere to be proud of.’

‘They will invest in attractive ornamental pots and planters, and decorative seating areas, but are not so fond of getting their hands dirty, hence the move for low maintenance, highly flexible outdoor spaces.’

There are an estimated 2,300 garden centres and retail nurseries in the UK and the nation’s garden market is worth approximately £5 billion – excluding landscaping & amenity sectors.

Comments are closed.