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Experts have unveiled the secret inspiration behind Britain’s gardens – a peep over next door’s fence. A study of 2,000 homeowners found a large percentage of us admit jealousy over a neighbour’s well-manicured lawns and flowerbeds.
Results also show the envy regularly spills over and ends up with a trip to the garden centre to replicate a look, theme or style.
In fact, four in ten regularly peek over to keep tabs on those next door looking to copy the immaculate patio areas and posh garden furniture.
But the competitive spirit takes over and shockingly, 42% said they wouldn’t give their neighbour the satisfaction of a compliment even if they thought their garden was looking particularly well presented.
And a fifth of Brits say there is fierce competition over who has the most impressive garden in their local area.
The research, commissioned by cleaning specialists, Jeyes, found a quarter of people constantly keep tabs on the locals’ horticultural plans make notes of any big changes.
Mark Tyldesley, CEO of Jeyes Limited, said:
“A person’s pride in their home extends beyond the four walls and many of us are clearly passionate about our gardens.
“The appearance and cleanliness of our outdoor living space is something we feel others will judge us by and the results show that there can be a degree of competition between neighbours.
“Taking pride and staying on top of the maintenance of your outdoor space is important and it’s understandable that people would keep an eye on what those who live near them are doing.”
The study also found one in eight has been annoyed by a comment from a neighbour on their garden – negative remarks on a trellis, mentions that a plant or bush looked shabby or ‘jokey’ and comments about the amount of dog mess were most likely to irk.
More than two thirds were extremely proud of their garden but nearly one in ten are currently locked in a bid to outdo their neighbours.
And when asked about garden misbehaviour Brits cited cutting down next door’s overhanging branches and plants and routinely chucking slugs over the fence among their confessions.
But it’s not all war and six in ten do have a neighbour’s garden they genuinely think is really well presented and a third have taken inspiration from another’s patch.
Among the most admired aspects of a garden was the gleaming patio, hanging baskets or a neat lawn.
A sneaky fifth have gone as far as to directly copy something they saw in a rival’s garden that they thought looked particularly good.
However, 53% said they’d never ask for gardening advice from their neighbour as they think the compliment would just go straight to the person’s head.
And a cunning one in five have praised a neighbour’s garden in some way when deep down they actually thought it looked hideous.
The results also showed that the average garden owner has splashed out at least £1,150 on their garden since moving in.
“We take pride in keeping our outdoor areas looking well-presented but sometimes competition can take over when it comes to who has the best looking and cleanest outdoor area.
“But ensuring your outdoor space is something you’re proud of, rather than what next door looks like, is the best way to make sure your garden contributes to a happier home life.
“The survey also revealed that people invest a lot of money into their garden and take pride in creating a beautiful outdoor space. We want to also encourage people not forget the importance of cleaning their garden area as a simple, cost effective way to keep the outdoors looking their best.”
The survey of garden owners was commissioned by Jeyes as part of its Great British Scrub Up campaign to get British households spring cleaning their gardens this Easter.
MOST ENVIED ASPECTS OF A GARDEN
1. Nice patio
2. Garden furniture
3. Hanging baskets
4. Arrangement of flowers
5. Well-manicured lawn
6. Tidy borders
9. Large size
11. Nice barbecue
12. Summer house
13. Extensive vegetable patch
14. Newly painted fence
15. Bins are concealed
16. Posh shed
18. Green house
19. Patio heater
20. Kid’s playhouse