Nearly 70% of gardens in the Midlands are stuck in the past with almost 64% of the region’s homeowners admitting their outdoor space has been influenced by previous decades, according to research conducted by paving manufacturer, Bradstone. A nationwide survey of homeowners with gardens revealed that in the Midlands, 68% of gardens’ main features pre-date the 1990s, with 80s wooden slatted fences (42%), 60s manicured lawns (41%) and 50s concrete paths (24%) featuring most prominently as design hangovers from the past.

It seems the region’s homeowners have been slow to adopt 21st century garden design, with contemporary features such as raised vegetable beds (13%), mixed native hedging (10%), fire pits (6%), and artificial grass (3%) each present in only one third of gardens.

While almost 41% of respondents in the Midlands said their garden is the most important feature of their home, only 20% are most likely to feel pride when thinking about or looking at their garden – suggesting that as a region, we need to shape up and get our gardening gloves on.

Indeed, 14% of the region’s homeowners say they are most likely to feel dread or embarrassment about their garden, and almost 30% feel envious of their neighbours’ gardens.

The research, conducted by paving manufacturer, Bradstone, reveals that over 80% of respondents in the region are investing in their home ahead of their outdoor space, leaving more than half frustrated that their garden doesn’t look as good as it could.

The top four changes people in the Midlands would most like to make to their garden are adding or replacing fencing, replacing the lawn with new grass, adding or replacing paving, and adding or replacing flowers and plants.

However, our busy lifestyles are getting in the way with over 60% of the region’s homeowners avoiding making major changes to their garden because they’re worried about the cost and/or work involved. Regular mowing to keep the lawn in check, weeding, and making it beautiful all year round are the three biggest challenges facing Midland homeowners.

And while as a region we might be behind with the gardening times, weeds (49%), garden gnomes (37%) and pet graves (25%) topped the poll of unacceptable items within a modern garden.

Award winning garden designer and TV presenter, Chris Beardshaw, comments: “Modern gardeners have an unprecedented range of plants to choose from – from exotic edibles to exquisite ornamentals, from all corners of the globe – all of which can pretty much be cultivated in our gardens. 

“Together with easy access to technical information on how to grow plants, it is completely possible to recreate and encapsulate almost any style of garden from any point in history, and from anywhere in the world.  So, gardeners simply have to decide how theatrical they want their outdoor space to be.”

But what of the garden of the future? Flowers that bloom all year round (40%), more wildlife (36%) and flowers and plants that need no watering (24%) are the top three things people in the Midlands want most. And with more than 68% of UK male homeowners saying they are responsible for mowing the lawn, it’s interesting to learn that almost one in every five men would prefer a robot lawnmower to do the job.

Toby Stuart-Jervis, commercial director for Bradstone, who commissioned the study to mark the company’s 60th anniversary, said: “No matter what decade your garden reflects, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether you have a penchant for 60s inspired crazy paving or favour timber decking terraces popularised in the 1990s, your garden should be a space you enjoy, and an extension of your home.

“There are many quick and easy updates you can make without breaking the bank, and the upcoming May bank holiday weekend is an excellent opportunity to get outdoors and make your garden a space to be proud of.”