When we head on holiday, we often marvel at their unique buildings. But, do you ever stop and take notice of their gardens? Possibly not. There are many cultural differences throughout the world and it’s interesting to discover how our outdoor space changes depending on where we live and what are beliefs are.
Here, we look at how gardens are tended to in different societies.
Let’s start at home. Our gardens are held in high regard when it comes to purchasing a new home. 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 decking.
There are normally 10 different types of flowers in our average sized gardens – 15 metres. Of course, there’s also a garden gnome — 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.
Then comes the greenhouse, birdbath and washing line that help make up 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.
Head stateside and the garden becomes a ‘yard’. It’s often larger than its European counterparts and studies have shown that more Americans are adopting the ‘grow your own veg’ culture 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.
Often, you’ll find multilevel gardens in the United States too. 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.
Symmetry and traditional spaces in Italy are the prominent focus, with very few flowers being present. 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.
It’s often thought that the garden space is an extension of the entertainment area in the Italian home. This means you’re 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 often features water displays such as a bird bath or pond, Italian properties lean more towards the cooling effects of fountains, pools and 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.
Living Down Under is on many Brits’ bucket lists, but do they offer a different garden space? 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.
The climate on offer allows Australians to place outdoor living as a priority in their property. 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.
Looking at plants, Ozzie households tend to keep their floral displays 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.
In India, there are many cultural references in the garden space and it is known for its cultural diversity, which 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.
Known as the Queen of Herbs, the Tulsi will be noticeable 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 that will be prominent across the country as they are thought to bring happiness to your life — and they don’t require 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.
South Africans love spending time outside. 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 shaded areas in South Africa’s gardens, so people can get out of 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 something you’ll likely find here, too. 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.