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Surge in front garden greenery will boost wellbeing and help the environment - Royal Horticultural Society

Front garden greenery has grown by an area seventy times the size of Hyde Park since 2015, says the UK’s gardening charity, and is expected to be bringing far-ranging benefits to people’s health and wellbeing, to the environment and to wildlife.

Using results of a new RHS survey of 2056 UK adults carried out by YouGov and data from a 2015 survey carried out by Ipsos Mori, the RHS has found that plant cover in front gardens has increased by almost forty square miles in just five years.

Over 1 million more UK front gardens contain nothing but greenery and the number of front gardens containing no plants at all has halved.

However, with more than a third of front gardens containing less than a quarter plant cover and 2.5 million with no plants at all, there is still critical work to do to unlock the true potential of UK gardens and green spaces.

RHS Director of Science and Collections, Professor Alistair Griffiths says; “The RHS has been promoting the importance of adding plants to paved over front gardens since 2015 when we launched our Greening Great Britain campaign. Although there is still much to do we are thrilled to see an improvement which has been helped by millions of people taking up gardening over lockdown and buying more plants to grow indoors and out. RHS science suggests that this substantial increase in greenery will be bringing wide-reaching benefits to people’s mental and physical health and to wildlife; improving air quality, helping conserve water from rainfall and cooling cities in hot summer months.”

Wales (3%) and South West of England (5%) have fewer paved-over front gardens than any other region. Wales (38%) followed by Scotland (34%) and South West of England (32%) have the greenest front gardens.

Professor Griffiths adds; “A recent RHS science project has shown that adding a few plants to a bare front garden reduces stress levels by as much as eight mindfulness sessions so we are delighted by this increase in plant cover. However the fact that a third of front gardens are still mainly paved over is still pretty bleak considering how easy it is to incorporate plants in any sized space. Combined with the increasing threat to parks and green spaces from the growing demand for housing we know there is still much work to be done."

Posted on: 05 February 2021

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