The great British front garden could be consigned to history unless urgent action is taken.
Just 10 per cent of people quizzed by the Royal Horticultural Society said they would be interested in growing plants in their front gardens.
Most said the space was needed to park cars; that a front garden was too small for plants, and that they don’t have time for the ‘hard work’ that a front garden could create.
The negative perceptions came to light at a ‘front gardens summit’ in May . Speakers included TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, planning minister Greg Clark MP, RHS chiefs, planners and local authorities.
RHS director-general Sue Biggs said five million front gardens now have no plants growing in them, while 7.24million have been “nearly totally paved over”.
Sue admitted that the RHS had “an even bigger challenge ahead than we originally thought” and asked: “What happened to our nation of gardeners?”
Sue said: “We must promote that you can have parking and plants. Greener front gardens don’t need to be complicated or time-consuming.
“Nearly six in 10 (57 per cent) of people with grey driveways or front gardens said that they would not be encouraged to grow more greenery in their front garden, even if there were initiatives such as more available parking on streets,” Sue added.
Despite increasing numbers of front gardens being paved, an IPSOS Mori survey revealed that front garden greenery brought benefits.
A huge 73 per cent of 2,000 adults quizzed said planted areas along roads would make them feel happier – while 57 per cent said green streets made them feel healthier.
And 58 per cent of people said planted streets gave a perception of calm. Researchers found that 72 per cent agreed that planted areas along roads made locals feel proud of their neighbourhood.
The RHS Greening Grey Britain campaign aims to reverse the trend for paving over front gardens for off-street parking.