Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Our Declining Front Gardens

A recent investigation by the RHS into our ‘disappearing front gardens’ has revealed some frightening statistics about the decline of the ‘front garden’ in many parts of the country. As many local people are aware there is a concerted effort to re-generate parts of the Isle of Wight and part of that thrust is to encourage householders everywhere to care for their particular plot. Working in a front garden is a wonderful way to meet your neighbours and share horticultural tips with passers-by adding to a general neighbourly atmosphere. Also visitors to an area are quick to comment on notable community plantings and special trees or plants of interest. With the increased ownership of cars and the problems with on-street parking many folks are reverting to using their front gardens as an off-road parking facility. This is quite understandable in some dangerous and congested roads. But please consider the side-effects of using only hard landscaping materials in what was once a green space. Not only does the collective loss of green space contribute to the greenhouse effect but the increased use of solid impenetrable hard surfacing adds to the problems of flash flooding when heavy rain falls and our pavements and drains have difficulty in coping with the volume of water. There are some wonderful design solutions to this dilemma. Yes, it is possible to park your car off road and also have a green and low maintenance planting around it. So, before you make that decision to transform your front garden please consider other ideas than concrete or bitumen.