As a child growing up in a sleepy country village, I could recall the neighbours, young and old,
spending hours at the front of their houses, trimming their soon to be perfectly manicured lawns and weeding their flower beds hoping to achieve a kaleidoscope of colour that would draw comment from their neighbour.
Upon returning to the scene of my early years not so long ago, it was strikingly obvious that those early memories were now exactly just that – memories. These once typical Great British front gardens had now been replaced by extensions, double garages, block paving driveways necessary to serve the 4×4 or Vauxhall Corsa displaying either the ‘L’ or ‘P’ sticker for the teenage occupants – a no man’s land between the street and front door.
This trend for easy to maintain lawns, patios and paving has led to a decline in the traditional garden,
once full of flowers, plants, trees, sheds and sun houses. My once leafy green chocolate box
neighbourhood was now an advert for commercialism sponsored by B&Q and Wickes.
Behind the boundary walls
So what to do… I guess time moves on and in order to preserve some sanity, I managed to have a sneaky look at the rear of some of those houses. To my surprise, I found that tradition had been followed and the Great British front garden had resigned and indeed been transplanted to the rear.
In addition to the usual array of foliage, flowers and trees, I discovered a fantastic variety of sheds, sun houses, outdoor jacuzzis and even a sauna. The latter caused my mind to wander as to what exactly was going on behind these boundary walls, but an image of my old neighbour Mrs James in a bathing suit quickly returned me to normality!
I was satisfied upon my return having at first been disappointed by the sight of a concrete jungle that is now such a popular choice as a front garden, the rear of the familiar households were pleasantly surprising with architecture to die for and a range of innovative garden buildings – maybe a glimpse of my own future garden to come.