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22 Feb
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Domestic gardens revalued

One of the most significant trends emerging slowly but surely from the ashes of the housing collapse has been the shift away from the development of high-density flats and towards homes with gardens.

Horticulture Week reported in detail on the trend last year following the release of exclusive research on the progress of the UK’s key regeneration projects – and will be reporting on the updated findings in June.

This return to developing homes with gardens, while largely driven by the spectacular drop in flat values in 2009, has also been fuelled by the ending of housing-density targets – long blamed by many landscape designers for squeezing out soft landscaping from residential schemes.

The latest twist in this trend towards a greater focus on gardens was aired at last week’s Landscape Show, where Barratt Homes eastern counties technical director Alison Crofton described how the housing crash has led to a complete overhaul of the house builder’s approach to landscaping. Where once soft landscaping was considered in the last few days of a 10-week process – and installed to specification in just 50-75 per cent of schemes – now it features at feasibility stage, staff are plant trained and green space from gardens to surrounding landscaping has climbed the agenda.

Says Crofton: “If a scheme looks good it creates hype, more people come to see it and it sells.” With the volume of UK house sales at a 40-year low and a slow recovery in prices predicted for post 2015, this welcome trend looks like it is here to stay.