Buildings across the world have the wow factor, don’t they? How many times have you marveled at them when you’re on holiday? However, have you done the same when taking in their gardens? Perhaps not. Cultural differences are rife throughout the world and it’s amazing to see how we change our outdoor space depending on our beliefs and global location. Here, we look at how different societies tend to their gardens.
In the UK, we appreciate the importance of our garden, especially when looking at buying a property. Research claims 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.
A garden in the UK measures 15 metres long on average and is home to 10 different varieties of flowers. The most popular garden plants 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, there is a much greater focus on symmetry and traditional 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 the UK uses the likes of a bird bath or pond for a water feature, homes in Italy 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 the European garden scene, cultural references are even more prominent. 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 something that you’ll be likely to see 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 another likely part of an Indian garden. This is because 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.
You will often find multilevel gardens stateside. Plastic decking is commonly used in spaces that are on a slope in order to provide a flat surface area to host those elusive barbecues, or to overlook your garden.
The American garden is usually bigger than Europe’s efforts. Studies have shown that Americans are now growing more food in their gardens than ever before, meaning patches to ‘grow your own vegetables’ are becoming increasingly popular. In 2009, the White House even planted its first vegetable since the Second World War and, by 2013, it was reported that a third of the American public were growing their own food in the backyards.
It’s the dream for many Brits to start a life Down Under. 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 enviable climate on offer, many Australians place outdoor living as a top priority. 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 in Australia are keen to stick with floral 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.
South Africans are another nation of outdoor lovers. 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. South Africans often have a shaded area to 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.
Many South African gardens are home to society garlic. It’s a worthy addition to herb gardens and the flowers bloom even under duress.
No matter where in the world you are, it’s clear that the garden is an important part of your home. While some use it for luxury, others believe certain plants can bring good fortune on the family.