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14/08/2012 at 10:39

I guess it all depends on the type of lawn you have? Mine is full of daises, clover, etc and the birds and bees love it! I love the daisies particularly and would hate not to see all the bees buzzing around them. I am out there a lot and think the green is much more relaxing than any sort of paving/decking. I have a huge veg patch and lots of shrubs and perennials and think it all works very well together. Gardens are such an individual thing and I think you have to just go with what suits you and you are able to manage. 

14/08/2012 at 10:44

@shuv.. so right.. a garden as is individual as the person growing it..

 

18/08/2012 at 12:13

Sorry to bring this up again folk, reading a national paper this morning I noted a comment that 7,000,000 homes have lost their front gardens to concrete or hard standing to park more cars off the road.
I ask does this turn the theory of removing your lawns and paving to make the world green a little on its head?
Bob Flowerdew's comment I am sure was not remove your lawns and park more cars although we see it happening all around us. I am also sure that using around half a litre of fuel per fortnight cutting lawns must be better than causing water once mostly soaked up by the grass to run off hard standing to over-flow kerbside gutters never built to take so much water, hence the flooding we get. What about the green footprint of the gas guzzlers parked where once a verdant green lawn lived?
Frank.

18/08/2012 at 14:10

My take on this is that it is all down to evolution-the days when cars were a luxury has long gone ,now the 2 car family is common then there are the 3 and 4 car families-all new builds will have parking spaces outside the house where the front garden would have been so lawns for those who want them will be at the back-and as back gardens are smaller than they used to be it is either a lawn which is a quick fix item once a week or so or a "proper" garden

If I take a walk into the local shopping centre-I would say that 50% of the front gardens are neglected scraps of grass and it looks so sad where as a tidy bit of blockpaving with a few pots is much more praticicle for the busy lives some people lead

I do take the point about the flooding issue but I think we have to accept that not everybody gardens-they use it just as an outside space-the days when men would push the mower up and down on a Sunday morning in unison, trim the edges tend the roses whilst Mother cooked the roast are long gone- now perhaps it is a trip to Tesco or B&Q and a quick run with the Flymo.

In my road that was built in the 1920's-before cars-I would guess that 80% do not have front gardens now with tended lawns-they are parking spots

Time moves on,fashions change as do priorities-what is important to us as gardeners may not seem important to all.

18/08/2012 at 16:30

Geoff, it does depend on where you live, my area 30 years old had good long drives with all the family here I can get them all off the road, the result is most have lawns with various adornments in my case trees. Walls are not permitted but low box hedges if you wish, no more than 24 inches high, too fussy by half to look after.
My Daughters estate fairly new build have hard fronts mainly with parking just off the pavement in front of double garages  and a narrow path to the back.
As to the Sunday morning lawn pushing race well times have changed, as they all disappear during the week leaving us retired lot on our own the Sunday is taken up with the women pushing the mower and the men cooking the Sunday Lunch?
What happened to women cooks I ask?
Nigel Colborn comes out against Bob Flowerdew with an article on long live the lawn, "yer tak's ya pick".

Frank.

24/08/2012 at 14:45

This is good subject to discuss, and yes it all depends on the size of your garden, whether or not you or your children use the lawn for recreation. I am not in favour of losing all the lawn necessarily, grass has an pleasing aesthetic appeal,although I have got rid of mine simply because I only have a small back garden measuring 33' x 28' or 10 M by 8.5 M if you prefer and I chose to grow lots of fruit, vegetables and flowers. I installed a grid of narrow gravel paths between the beds, so I can get around and tend the garden.I have retained a small patio to sit out on and to dry the laundry, which I can get too either from the house or the back of the garage which I fitted with a corrugated plastic roof so I could use it as a greenhouse. At the front of the house the 20' x 10' or 6M x 3M space which was paved entirely when I moved here has been altered I have left the paving in front of the garage but the rest has been removed to create a cottage garden area, with just a path from the front door and garage and to the street. So I have no lawn to mow or edges to clip, but I do have to keep on top of weeding, deadheading, and replace plants that have gone over with something fresh, and of course watering, but I have three water butts. Some people would find my garden hard work, but I get a great deal of enjoyment from it and a lot of tasty meals. There are too many cars and vehicles on the roads these days, and folk have to park them somewhere I suppose, but concreted front gardens are lifeless and contributes to drains flooding, so I like to see front gardens with a bit of lawn surrounded by plants and often comment when I am out walking the local area. Each to there own, as has been said we are all free to chose how we wish to use the space, but these days garden space is at a premium

 

31/08/2012 at 21:19

Just wanted to say, that I listened to Gardeners Question time for the first time today and Bob Flowerdew was on there. What a great name

31/08/2012 at 23:42

Now, I'm going to throw the cat into the pidgeons here.  I like cars.  Together with gardening, reading and the sproglets they are one of my passions.  I unfortunately have a rather bad Land Rover addiction, HOWEVER, my car is 18 years old, and runs on home-brew biodiesel that hubby makes from waste veg oil from school that would otherwise go to to landfill.  It costs me around 15p a litre for chemicals and electric, otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford to run it.  We never go abroad for holidays, we have a touring caravan as we have dogs and small children.  I don't have a front lawn, it's parking for my land rovers, it's limestone chippings with a large soakaway my husband spent a day constructing, so we don't get a lot of run-off.

I have small kids.  They will get bigger, and want to play outside with their friends.  They won't be allowed on the front.  Why not?  Because although we have a lot of 2 and 3 car families on the street, a lot of them can't be bothered to park their cars on their driveway, they are abandoned on the street, and although we're in a 30 limit and residential, LOTS of folk come speeding down our street to miss the speed cameras and 2 sets of traffic lights.

I'm in favour of getting rid of the front lawns if it means the streets are safer for kids, as there will be places where they can see to cross.  There have already been 2 accidents in the last couple of years with kids being knocked over because they can't see what's coming.

Sorry to have got on my soapbox, but as a driver of a classic land rover, I get a bit upset when accused of driving a gas guzzler and destroying the planet.  I also have solar panels and will be getting a geothermal heat pump when I've saved up the money.  I intend to make the world a greener place for my kids to enjoy......assuming they grow up and don't get knocked over and squished by someone driving a prius they can't see or hear.

Rant over.

01/09/2012 at 00:09

You are allowed to rant Mummy even if it does sound like common sense in your case. The problem with this save the planet malarkey is that it is only a very small portion of us doing it and paying through the nose to do it.
When I read of China building one new coal fired generating station every six months, India building 10 miles of motorway a day, Asia putting 5,000,000 vehicles on the road in the next three years it make our efforts very puny indeed.
We have wind-farms on the land near us and blotting out the sea view as more are put out to sea but close to the beaches every day. The cables broke on one lot and they stood idle for months, they only work at a certain wind speed and has any one worked out the footprint of the manufacture and erection of those things plus the oil they use in high speed turbines and gear boxes which is what we have inside those big boxes on top of the pole. The props or sails as they are called may be slow but the inside workings are racing.
I like my lawns front and side, they will stay, the car is smaller now I do not have to  drive on the Continent, The green waste and plastic waste plus glass tins and paper are duly put out, as for the rest I object to having to pay through the nose in taxes for something that will not change in my life time.
PS my daughter in California was having a moan this week as gas will soon be $5 a gallon half what we pay, my friend in Canada went out for a meal with his son, 100 miles each way and to them it is normal, can some one tell me why we should bother?

Frank.

01/09/2012 at 00:30

The reason for the solar panels and hopefully the heat pump, is that I don't like being dependant on other countries for our power supply.  I want my children to be warm and safe, and not be held to ransom by whichever country has the gas and coal supply.  We didn't learn to be self-sufficient during the second world war food-wise, and we've not taken the self-sufficiency thing on board.  A lot of folks have an allotment at the moment because it's the trendy thing to do.  It's about time we try to look after ourselves, on a local, regional, national and international level.

I quite like the look of wind farms, how much power they generate is debatable.  We have a village a few miles away that are objecting to a proposed wind farm, I think they should be given a choice - a couple of wind turbines, or a nuclear power station at the end of their garden, 'spoiling' their view.  We'd see a lot of 'Say Yes to the Wind Farm' posters then!

I do get accused of having common sense, often by the same folks that originally think I'm single-handedly killing the planet!!

01/09/2012 at 08:01

I too am a landy enthusiast as is all my family. We don't use biofuel. I had to sell my much beloved defender due to it needing a new chassis. Now got one of them disco thingys Om loves it, as he needs the comfort these days. but it's a gas guzzler, although it does a few more miles to the gallon. I don't have solar panels, I live near a windfarm, I have no objection to them on or off shore.  I object to cars parking on roads if it causes havoc whilst driving down roads. and when I lived in a town my kid wasn't allowed to play on the road, they played in gardens or stayed at home...........  i hate to see front gardens given over to anything other free draining materials. But then i have moved from an area that was mostly concrete and tarmac, and there was continuos hose pipe bans....................... now i wonder why!!!!    I remember years ago reports being made that the seas around britain would rise......... i think they probably are, but not for the reasons originally stated, but by all those folk covering their front gardens which causes rain to run off into the drains and that ends up in the sea one way or another. No wonder parts of England will be made into desserts. My objection is all these new builds going up. Even where we live, rural wales, modern town houses are going up in a matter of weeks And there are so many houses on the market. But then it's mostly back handers that get things through planning. That's why I moved from an area that was included in the Oxbridge ark of building estates and new villages. And I saw no plans for extra reservoirs for all these hoards of new villages.

i agree with Bob Flowerdew if it is done properly for a good reason, creating beds for more veg or flowers. if folk don't want gardens why don't they buy / rent a flat?

01/09/2012 at 08:12

There is in fact a new requirement that paved front gardens be done with materials that allow rain to soak in so impermeable tarmac and concrete are no longer legal.  If parking off street is the safest thing for one's own car and also for passing traffic I see no problem with making aparking space but, with imagination, it can also be a garden with floral or foliar or achitectural interest on either side of the car parking space and even plants such as thymes or small sedums or other alpines growing under the car and enjoying the sunshne by day when the car isn't there.

01/09/2012 at 10:21

Mummy you are doing what you do because you thought it through, the weak Governments we have had for years have not, they go for the quick fix and give out massive amounts of money to those who think they know the answer, they do not.
We are surrounded by the best power house in the world, the sea, wave power and tide power are the way ahead if we do not want to use nuclear or the six hundred years of coal we are all sitting on. China has no worries about using coal as any one who has been there knows, you seldom see the sky.
What we drive is our choice when I had to give up my beloved Jeep for an Austin Champ I cried, changing the best for the worst vehicle ever built broke my heart then along came Land Rover, drove them for years painted Khaki would never have one as personal transport my Son has one on the farm as a work horse.
What is happening out there seems to me to be unproven, as an engineer who reads the latest technology you see those who believe writing their theories and the disbelievers knocking them down it is a game of skittles, no one really knows and we are told that in the last 100,000 years the world has gone through this more than once, that is a very short time in the life of this planet.
I will do what I can within my own limits and that includes putting down surfaces that soak up the rain, we cannot do it alone and until we get China Russia America and South East Asia on the same wave length our efforts are not going to make any difference.
Mummy, I do not know if you made a mistake but during the war we went from 35% reliance on our own food efforts to over 80% and that went well into the 1950's.

Frank.

01/09/2012 at 11:30

Wind farms are unsightly, inefficient, expensive (and subsidised by tax payers who hae no say) and also cause environmental harm if they're on migratory flight paths.  In addition the WHO recommends a minimum distance fom habitation because the whirling and whirring can have detrimental effects on eyesight and cause tinnitus, loss of balance and nausea in some people.

Far more effective to have well insulated homes and water heaters to reduce energy consumption.   Better also to extract heat from the ground (geo-thermic exchangers) or harness solar energy but the jury's out on the life span and recyclabilty of the solar cells.  The scientists to whom I teach english are all being sent on courses to learn fuel efficient driving techniques and encouraged to take the train, car share or cycle where possible.   They get bonuses for doing so.  

Turning out lights, turning down the thermostat and wearing an extra jumper would also go a long way to reducing energy consumption.   I know a couple who like to sit outside with a glass of wine of an evening and would rather light the patio heater than put on a pair of socks and a jumper.  Madness.

02/09/2012 at 00:30

Mummy Muddy Paws, the choice is not between 'a couple of wind turbines' or a nuclear power station.  It is tens of thousands of wind turbines or a nuclear power station.  Conventional power stations have to be kept 'spinning' 24/7 for the periods when the wind drops. Periods that often correspond with peak demand, such as very cold times in Winter.

In general wind turbines fail to produce even 20% of their installed capacity. Wind farms are so much more about subsidies for installers than the electricity they produce. 

02/09/2012 at 14:17

The majority of bits from wind turbines can be recycled, and it's providing jobs manufacturing them and testing them (we have an Advanced Manufacturing Park nearby where they are up and down like yo-yos to test them), the latest site is in Hull/Grimsby where there is a massive unemployment problem.

I think if you object to wind farms, you should be charged a premium for your electicity.  I do realise that the coal fired stations have to be kept running (I worked in the offices of a steelworks for quite a few years, and could tell you a thing or two that went on during a 'peak loading period' where we'd be charged  massive amounts for the electric we used, but the arc furnaces had to be kept running to continuously cast the stainless we made.

Until the Government realise that the coal we still have in massive amounts needs to be dug up, and we NEED our miners, we will continue to import the dross masquerading under the name coal from China and other places.

It's interesting that if you go to a preserved railway and speak to the drivers and firemen, they will only buy Welsh coal, as they know the stuff from china is rubbish and so far removed from what we know as coal that it's difficult to fire an engine with.

Nuclear is not the way to go, something that makes waste that's toxic for years and years for very little in return is a non-starter.  So we need to look to what else we can use, and wind turbines can only really be a stop-gap.  I'd have one at the end of my garden if the farmer hadn't given the council a backhander in order to build a large barn there so the rest of the village can't see what nefarious activities he's up to (the rest of the village and environmental health are in long-running battles with him about the stench that comes from his farm, making 'compost', we get full trucks in full of rubbish, and never see anything leave).

I'm all for putting on another jumper, and I think the couple that sit out in shirtsleeves with the heater going, need a trip down a working mine to see what hard work goes into providing their energy.  It's no wonder our energy prices are going up at an alarming rate.

I want to ensure that my lights stay on (soon battery arrays will be avalable to retrofit to solar systems), and my children stay warm, hence the solar panels, recycling of waste veg oil for my car, and the saving up for a geothermal heat exchange pump.  I have no confidence that the Govenment will do anything, so I'm taking steps to make sure that I am OK later on down the line.  If other folk want to buy a new car every 3 years, and have at least one foreign holiday a year (don't get me started on the carbon footprint and lack of taxation on aviation fuel), then that's their perogative, but I'm hoping for the best and planning for the worst.

02/09/2012 at 16:18

Found you, MMP! Can I join in?   I'm unable to generate my own energy (silly roof shape, geothermal too expensive) but, I have solar lights dotted about the place and light tubes for free reflected light. I don't have central heating but hope the mega insulation I've done on the inside of my walls will be enough to keep in the heat generated from my sun-trap porch (catching the morning sun) combined with my two open fires (burning wood). My house is now half its size due to thickness of insulated walls and I have to walk sideways to get from one end to the other AND I've dug up my front patio concrete bit in order to plant stuff but I couldnt have parked there anyway, unless I had a tonka truck that could go up a flight of steps. What about if people could plant tiny herbs in the cracks between concrete slabs or bricks or whatever they use for covering up their front yards? That way, not only does the rain still dribble into the earth, but when you drive/walk over it you get a nice smell. I'm all for digging up your lawn and planting veg, if you can. And regarding energy sources - surely it's just common sense to use what's being beamed at us day in day out (not such much day out). Sun?  It's like a giant lightbulb in the sky. We're daft not to use it, surely? 

09/09/2012 at 17:52

I understand that some people have to convert their front gardens to a parking space ,that's unavoidable these days but are we turning into  a lazy nation of dont want to mow a lawn.It is just  as easy to do as pulling up all those weeds that creep through the gravel.Everywhere is grit and gravel making life like living in quarry.It may look neat but it does  not look good,and not good for wildlife or drainage.Bring back the front garden and nice welcome to your home,lawn and all.

09/09/2012 at 18:43

I'd love to have some lawn for the front garden, but it would soon get trashed by parking on it (even a 'normal' car chews up grass).  I would sooner live in a quarry than have one of my children get run over by the constant stream of cars that use my street as a rat run to avoid the traffic lights and speed cameras.  Unfortunately some of my neighbours don't feel the same way, and even those that have driveways sometimes can't be bothered to reverse their car onto the drive, off the road so my children can see to cross the road safely.

I have frogs in both my front and back garden, as I've managed to keep a strip of land by the neighbour's conifer hedge (another pet hate).  I also have the occaisional hedgehog, and a fox has been seen frequently at the top of the street (near the farm, as the farmer just chucks his dead chickens in with the compost).

It would be great to have both, I don't think it's a question of laziness (mowing the lawn), but I'm a practical girl, and I'd sooner put my cars on my front 'garden', and have two healthy kids, not in hospital or in a box because they can't see past parked cars to cross the road safely, and not get knocked over by some idiot doing 50 in a 30 zone, because he knows this street is a short cut and he can escape the cameras and get to work 2 minutes earlier.

10/09/2012 at 16:06

I quite a agree if you are putting your car there but alot of houses with drives but I think it is growing trend to gravel over lawns.Its a hate or like thing.I Hate it.

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