When you head abroad for a holiday, the first thing you notice, well, other than the change in weather, is the different style buildings. But, have you ever noticed that their gardens differ too? As cultural differences are rife across the globe, it’s interesting to see how our outdoor space changes depending on where we live.
Here, we look at how societies differ in the way they tend to their gardens.
We hold our garden space in high regard in the UK. When we are 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 – often on a raised area of timber or plastic decking.
On average, the UK garden is 15 metres in length and has up to 10 different varieties of flowers present. Of course, there’s a garden gnome too — 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 find that the average garden focuses largely on symmetry and only has a small selection of 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 Italian outdoor space is thought to be an extension to your entertainment space, so expect to see art work cladded throughout. This may include 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 we feature bird baths or ponds in the UK, the Italian garden welcomes features such as 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.
Outside of Europe, you’ll find larger cultural references. 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 you will more than likely find in Indian gardens. 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 will also be present in most Indian gardens; 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.
If you are in America you may not find a ‘garden’ as such, but you’ll find plenty of yards, and it’s usually larger 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.
The White House even planted its first vegetable since the Second World War in 2009 and, by 2013, it was reported that a third of the American public were growing their own food in the backyards.
Moving to Australia is on the bucket list of many Brits. 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 warmer climate, an impressive outdoor space is more important in Australia. 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 verandas are springing up in their place and almost half of the projects are incorporating a barbecue area into their plans.
When looking at floral displays, you’ll find a lot of flowers native to Australia. For the lucky ones, an outdoor pool is a luxurious addition to the outdoor space, so you can cool down with a splash about.
It’s well known that South Africans love spending time 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, you’ll find a shaded area in a South African garden. 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.
In many of their gardens, you’ll be likely to find the society garlic. It’s a worthy addition to herb gardens and the flowers bloom even under duress.
Obviously, across the globe, gardens are an important part of your home. While some use it for luxury, others believe certain plants can bring good fortune on the family.