Garden trends 2017: from kitchens to saunas, homeowners are getting more inventive with their outdoor spaces - but low maintenance is the key

Invest wisely and a garden can become a year-round extension to your home and boost its appeal when the time comes to sell...

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As summer approaches, homeowners are peeling back their bifold doors and stepping into their gardens.

During winter, we spend an average of just two and a half hours in our gardens each week, but this shoots up to seven and half hours in summer.

Far from a simple lawn and patio at the back of the house, a garden is increasingly considered an extension of the house - a place to cook, eat, entertain and relax. 

So owners are investing in kitchen equipment, including built-in cabinets, a sink and fridge, to sit alongside the traditional BBQs. Pizza ovens are also popular additions, according to a survey by renovations website Houzz UK.

Gardening Trends 2017

63% of homeowners are likely to plant flowers that attract butterflies and bees

40% include edibles in their garden projects

25% create composts

11% incorporate an audiovisual system in their outdoor spaces

11% opt for an artificial lawn

8% choose fire features

1% build a sauna
Source: Houzz UK

“Home buyers are key drivers of these renovations, motivated to extend their living spaces to the gardens and achieve stylish yet low maintenance surroundings," says Andrew Small, managing director of Houzz UK. "Outdoor kitchens and elaborate outdoor lighting are key trends to look out for in 2017." 

While almost a quarter of Britons admit their garden makeovers are motivated by a wish for more privacy, landscaping can actually lead to improved relations with neighbours, with 15 per cent of respondents saying they interacted with them more after updating their outdoor spaces.

Renovating a garden is no small undertaking, with projects taking an average of five months to plan and almost four months to execute.

It can also be a costly enterprise and more than half of projects run up bills in excess of £3,000.

“Porcelain tiles are the next big thing – no algae, no slipping, no maintenance. They have come a long way in recent years. Composite wood decking is popular for the same reason,” says Emma Lyne, from The London Gardener.

Lyne also highlights the move towards low maintenance and informal planting schemes. She says: "People are time poor and just want something that’s going to be bulletproof and look lovely.”

However, landscaping can prove a worthwhile investment - especially when it comes to sell.

"A garden can be the most important room of the house," says estate agent Robin Chatwin, head of Savills South West London. "Buyers love to see how a garden will work socially.” 

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