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Help us find the best and worst front gardens

14th August 2014

By Rob Cowan


Bring Fronts Back, the national campaign for front gardens, wants to find the streets in Britain whose front gardens are doing the most to make them pleasant. It is also looking for the streets whose qualities have been most eroded by neglected, paved or parked-on front gardens.

If you know one of the best or worst examples of the effects of front gardens, please let the campaign know. It will send a trained volunteer to carry out a Gardencheck on that street. This will highlight how good or bad the street’s front gardens are, and set out an agenda for improving them. There is no charge for the Gardencheck (except for a rail fare if outside London), and no obligation of any sort. The results will give power to the national campaign. 

(Gardencheck is a simple method by which we can assess our streets and begin to change attitudes among householders, policymakers and everyone else with a stake in places where people live.)

Contact details below.


Why front gardens matter

 1.   Front gardens have more impact on the face of residential areas within our towns and cities than any other element of the streetscape. Their qualities are being eroded at an unprecedented rate.

2.   Front gardens help to make towns and cities worth living in. They can make walking a pleasure, promote sociability, contribute to biodiversity, reduce the danger of flooding and make streets safer. But too many are neglected. Every year thousands of front gardens are paved over.

3.   Walking is rarely pleasant where gardens have been turned into private parking lots. It is unsafe for children if cars are reversing over the pavement into the street. The lack of safety encourages parents to drive their children to school rather than to walk. That increases the amount of traffic and the danger to the few children who still walk. Lowongan Kerja Medan

4.   Planted front gardens absorb rainfall instead of making it run off into drains, as imperviously paved parking-lot front gardens do. Porous surfaces reduce the risk of flooding and replenish the groundwater that we depend on for water supplies. As well as being good for biodiversity, generous planting with the right shrubs and plants can help to improve the climate and air quality, and reduce the harsh visual impact of the motor car.

5.   The front of the house and the pavement are traditionally places where neighbours greet each other. The front garden is publicly visible private space; the pavement is public space; and the front garden wall divides the private space from the public space. Destroying the front hedge, fence or wall and turning the front garden into a parking lot reduces the street’s sociability and the sense of neighbourliness.

6.   Parking on front gardens, with the consequent need for crossovers and dropped kerbs, privatises parking, reducing the amount and flexibility of parking space that is publicly available in the street.

7.   Converting front gardens to parking spaces uglifies streets, reducing their value in the long term. Where one parking lot front garden is unattractive, the combined effect of a number of bare frontages emphasises all the disadvantages.



Rob Cowan (rob@urbandesignskills.com)

Terry Brown (terry@tgb-uk.com)

Twitter: @cowanrob; @BringFrontsBack

Website: http://bringfrontsback.wordpress.com/

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  • Vicki 9th January 2019

    Thank you so much for sharing this information.

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