When we go on holiday, we often marvel at their buildings. But, have you ever stopped and gazed at their beautiful garden spaces? If not, you soon will! The world is rife with cultural differences and it’s wonderful to see how we change our outdoor area depending on our beliefs and where we live.
Here, we look at how societies across the globe tend to their gardens.
The UK’s gardens are held in high regard. When they are looking at buying a property, with research claiming we will fork out up to £11,500 more on a home with a garden. For some, a garden is more valuable than an extra bedroom, meaning that even those of us who aren’t exactly green fingered love a bit of outdoor space to call our own. We pine for that perfect lawn, shed and relaxation area with a sun lounger – often on a raised area of decking boards.
On average, a garden in the UK is 15 metres long and is home to 10 different varieties of flowers, as well is the obligatory garden gnome. After all, is a garden really complete without one? The most popular floral displays include tulips, rose lavender and bluebells, all of which add colour to a vibrant space. Throw in a greenhouse, birdbath and washing line and you have the UK’s perfect garden. Unfortunately, though, we normally only spend 12 hours each month in our garden due to the nation’s temperamental weather and our busy lifestyles.
In Italy, you’ll notice that their gardens have a prominent focus on symmetry and traditionally, their spaces are home to few flowers. You will mainly find evergreen plants that have been manicured into geometric hedges or topiaries. One thing the Italians are very fond of is covering their stone walls with foliage vines or climbing roses. The garden space is seen as an extension of the home’s entertainment area, so you are likely to find art work cladded throughout, including sculptures of gods and goddesses. On the patio, a lemon tree that has been potted in a stone urn is one of the nation’s favourites.
While water features in the UK include bird baths or a pond, Italian home prefer the cooling effects of bubbling fountains, pools or cascades. Don’t be surprised to see water shoot out of hidden pipes if you’re walking along a garden path — this was a common feature in old Italy.
Moving away from Europe, you’ll find more cultural references included. Like so many other locations, India is known for its cultural diversity and this is evident in their colourful gardens. Thanks to the tropical weather India encounters, its garden plants can thrive and that is why so many homes will be filled to the brim with flowering plants.
The Tulsi, Queen of Herbs, is one that you are likely to find throughout the country. It is thought of as the holiest and most cherished of the many healing and health-giving herbs that will be found in Hindu homes. Because of its holy status, it is planted in special pots and has earned a very special place in the country’s homes.
Roses are also prominent features in Indian gardens. This is becuase they are said to bring happiness to your life — and they have the bonus of not requiring a lot of care. With cultural references throughout horticulture, money plants are also considered a lucky plant and there will be likely spots with them if you are to observe an Indian garden.
The American garden — or yard— is normally bigger than its European counterparts. Studies have shown that Americans are now growing more food in their gardens than ever before, meaning vegetable patches are becoming increasingly popular.
In 2009, the first vegetable was planted at the White House since the Second World War. By 2013, it was reported that a third of the American public were firmly on the ‘grow your own veg’ bandwagon in their backyards. You will often find multilevel gardens stateside too.
A life Down Under is what many Brits dream of. But, how do their gardens compare? While it hugely depends on where you live — the Outback will differ immensely — we will focus on the suburban areas of Australia since more than 80% of the nation’s population lives in cities or bigger towns.
Thanks to the warm climate, many Australians have outdoor living high on their list of priorities. Lawns are becoming less important, with studies showing that a third of outdoor renovation projects are either reducing this space or removing it entirely. Decks, pergolas, terraces and verandahs are springing up in their place and almost half of the projects are incorporating a barbecue area into their plans.
When looking at plants, homeowners seem keen to stay with displays that are native to Australia, or those that are drought-tolerant. For the lucky ones, an outdoor pool is a luxurious addition to the outdoor space, so you can cool down with a splash about.
Like Australians, South Africans love the outdoors. Be it their own space or elsewhere, they are known to feel at home in open space. Ideas that are often noticeable in South African gardens are increasingly becoming more noticeable across the globe.
Often, South Africans will have a shaded area so they can hide away from the glaring sunshine. This could include shade-loving shrubs and perennials that have a walkway passing through, which adds to the serenity. They are also very fond of the wildlife. Whether it’s inviting our flying friends in for a drink of freshwater or providing nectar-loving birds with plants that delight them, they set up features to help entice the wildlife into the garden — similarly to how we do in Britain.
Society garlic is one thing found in many gardens here that is native to the country. It’s a worthy addition to herb gardens and the flowers bloom even under duress.
It’s noticeable that it doesn’t matter where in the world you live, your garden is an important part of your home life. While some use it for luxury, others believe certain plants can bring good fortune on the family.