Studies have shown that front gardens have rapidly declined over the last few decades, with paved driveways taking their place and 4.5 million houses now lacking any type of plant life to the front. So what does this mean for home design – and how can we make the most of our properties’ exteriors?
Outdoor canopies are a wonderful way to add both practical and visual appeal, allowing you to maximise the space you have. Read our tips on how to make the best of your home as the decrease in foliage-filled fronts threatens our enjoyment of being outside.
With the rise of car owners and multiple-vehicle households over the last few decades, homes have been adapted to provide a space for their vehicle(s) at the front of the home rather than this space being used for leisure or plant life.
According to a report by the RAC, cars spend 80% of the time parked at home. Of course, off-street parking also adds value to properties, so that space is a valuable commodity. A carport canopy ensures that vehicles are protected from the elements and also shelters drivers/passengers as they enter and leave the car.
Only 10% of people surveyed by the Royal Horticultural Society said they would be interested in growing a garden at the front of the house, with no time to tend to two gardens.
In this modern world of diminished leisure time, a desire for privacy from our neighbours and the use of the front for cars and numerous recycling bins, gardens are more often than not focused at the back of the house. This makes patio canopies ideal for ensuring that space can be enjoyed in all conditions, whether gardening or entertaining.
Garden canopies give you the shelter to be able to dine al fresco, have friends and family over or let the kids play in the fresh air, without the threat of rain or danger of sun exposure getting in the way.
With no garden at the front, homes are going from greener to greyer and become plainer to look at. Just a few decades ago, the front garden was the advertisement for your home, a flourishing frontage which homeowners took pride in maintaining to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.
A door canopy can improve the home’s façade, with a range of designs to suit your taste and give the neighbours something to admire again. Not only that, but without the protection from the elements provided by trees and hedges buffering from the wind, door canopies provide shelter as you come and go.
Patios also carry more risk of flooding and slippage at the front of the home without lawned areas to help soak up rainwater. A canopy helps to keep the area around the front door drier when going to and from the house.
The Royal Horticultural Society found that one in three front gardens had no plants growing in them. Less plant life means an increased hazard of dangerous temperatures in built-up areas; cement absorbs much more heat than plants, which in turn contributes to heat stress and fire-related smog.
Trees and taller plants carry the more obvious benefit of providing shade from sunlight, but all plants have cooling properties (here’s the science bit) via evapotranspiration. They also promote biodiversity – providing habitats for animal and insect wildlife to prevent them from dying out, while allowing them to contribute to our environment and economy, such as with the pollination of 75% of our food from bees.
Lastly, gardening has proven to be good for our health and wellbeing. So even if you don’t have room for larger vegetation, how about getting creative? You could place climbing plants along your fence or on a trellis on the front of the house, use pots, climbers or hanging baskets, or place smaller plants along gaps in between paved flags on your driveway.
Want to make the most of your own garden space? Request a free brochure to find out how a canopy could enhance your outdoor area.