£17,000 spent on gardens to impress neighbours

12 May, 2016

We’re a nation of competitive gardeners, investing more than £17,000 in our gardens over a lifetime to impress neighbours and keep up appearances, according to new research from Policy Expert.

Nearly one in four (23%) of the 2,205 people surveyed complained of a green-fingered neighbour whose garden always upstages the rest of the street, with over one in ten (13%) claiming it’s their own garden that’s the talk of the town.

People admitted to gardening because they’re worried about what their neighbours might think of unkempt lawns, with more than a third (37%) of those surveyed stating they pulled weeds and potted plants in fear of others thinking their garden looks a mess. A further 40% admit that they keep their garden pruned out of sheer pride. 3% of those surveyed admitted they spent time and money in their garden just to win competitions.

The research found that the average UK homeowner spends £350 a year on flowers and ornaments for their garden. When asked what would be at the top of their gardens wishlist, nearly a third (30%) would opt for the perfect lawn, with 20% plumping for a water feature.


Top features that embody an English garden as voted for by Policy Expert customers:

Popularity Feature
1 Garden shed
2 Roses
3 Patio
4 Striped lawn
5 Bird bath
6 Vegetable patch
7 Greenhouse
8 Water feature
9 Pond
10 Gnome


Reassuringly, 86% of us have a fence at the very least to protect these cherished gardens, but only 57% have installed lighting as a precaution and just over half (58%) have locked gates. Further still, one in three of those surveyed were unsure if they were covered against garden damage and theft in their home insurance policy – leaving thousands of pounds worth of hard work left vulnerable across the UK should burglars come calling.


Adam Powell, Head of Operations at Policy Expert commented:

“Thousands of Brits choose to spend serious time and money on their gardens – whether it’s for a genuine love of the pastime, or a case of keeping up with the Jones’. Either way, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and keep your garden and its contents secure. It’s also really important to make sure you’re clued up on what your insurance policy covers, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy your green fingered efforts… as long as the British weather holds up.”


Tips from Policy Expert to keep your garden safe:

  • Make sure you protect your garden with security measures e.g. outdoor lighting or a locked fence
  • If you have a shed or outbuilding, make sure your home insurance policy includes outbuilding protection, and check exactly what this includes
  • Make sure valuable items such as BBQs or sports equipment are shielded from view, under a cover or stored in a shed or garage
  • If you’re taking gadgets outside such as tablets or smartphones, ensure that they’re covered in your home insurance policy in case they’re lost or damaged