Gardening: It's the UK's growing hobby

According to recent research our love of gardening in the UK is growing. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) reported that over two thirds of British adults visit a garden centre every year. Plus in 2016, the UK Houzz Landscaping Trends Survey revealed that 59% of homeowners prioritised outdoor living as the biggest influence in their overall outdoor project design.

So with Suttons, advocates of growing your own vegetables, let's take a look at some of the reasons why gardening is growing (pun intended!)

Taking an interest in our outdoor spaces

Results from studies suggest the entire nation is spending more time in their outdoor spaces.  Wickes has seen a 30% increase in year on year sales of garden lighting (which I can't solely be responsible for!) suggests that more of us are spending time in our garden even when the sun goes down, and not just over the summer months either.

It could be the rise in household disposable income that drives this trend. Research in 2016 concluded that 27 million people in Britain are getting involved in gardening, and more young people are considering a career in the industry too. There's been a sharp increase in the number of 16-18 year olds who are looking to complete horticulture courses at college - so gardening isn't just for the more mature any more, which I think is great news.

It wasn't that long ago when there were concerns for the future of gardening; there were plenty of reports that front gardens were being paved over for ease of maintenance or to provide somewhere to park.  I'm guilty there, but living in London on a busy road, parking is an issue - but in my defence, it was already tarmac-ed when we bought our house!

The reports that with the rise of urban living many people will be living without any access to a garden in the near future, worries me. I can't imagine being without my own garden space.  It seems though that trends have adapted and there's been a rise in purchases of shrubbery as people try to make the most of their limited spaces.

Photo by  Benjamin Combs  on  Unsplash

Surveys are showing that more and more of us are watching TV gardening shows for advice too - see it's no longer considered nerdy to watch Gardener's World and such like!  One in four Brits said they used gardening TV shows as inspiration for their own gardens, and it's easy to see why.  ITV's Love Your Garden, hosted by Alan Titchmarsh and also includes Katie Rushworth, who I spoke to earlier in the year for advice tackling my problem garden areas, saw its viewing figures hit 4 million this summer. 

Similarly 3.14 million tuned in to watch the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, and if I'm honest I think watching it on TV is the best way to see everything, as I never see so much, and as unhindered, when I actually visit the show. But I'll concede the atmosphere at Chelsea is fantastic, and I think it's something everyone should experience once. Or gardeners at least!

Asking Google

Like many other areas of modern day living, we're turning to Google with our gardening questions. Looking at the search volume of "grow your own" peaks were seen around May. That could be because the weather starts to warm up and we can take advantage of two Bank Holidays that month. But what's astounding (or at least I think so) is that on average 50,000 more searches were made for that term in 2017 than in 2014. 

Yes, 50,000 more - that's a huge increase, isn't it?

Unsurprisingly the lowest levels for this search term were in December, when gardening is at an all time low, it's cold, it's wet and dark and there's plenty more exciting things to do, even if that is completing your Christmas shopping!  But even then there was an increase of 30,000 between 2014 and 2017.  Perhaps that's down to the rise in DIY kits including seeds, toils and soil given as gifts - or maybe it's frustrated gardeners planning their seed purchases and what they'll grow when gardening can start again?

Lots of us search for the location of our local garden centre, and more than you'd think. In April 2015 230,000 searches were made for the term 'garden centres near me' - by 2017 this had risen to around 700,000!

Other increases in search terms are:

  • 'gardening ideas' which saw its volume increase by around 130,000 between 2015 and 2017, and 
  • 'gardening programmes' which increased by around 350,000 in the same period.

As our love for gardening continues to grow it's likely people will find new ways to deal with the loss of green spaces.  If you're not already part of the growing gardening movement, then why not get into your garden (I'd recommend choosing a sunny, wintery day) or visit your local garden centre to see what's tempting so many of us!


What do you think, are you part of the growing gardening movement?

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* This is a collaborative post which includes my own views along with prepared research