The vast majority of London homes have front gardens and they used to be the pride and joy of residents. Often they featured a mixture of hedgerows and rose bushes but also flowers and lawns. Sadly, today, owners want minimal effort gardens or a place to park their car. Consequently front gardens are being paved over at an unprecedented rate. Every year London loses the equivalent in size of two and a half Hyde Parks due to this growing trend.
The consequence of this loss of green space has mounting repercussions. With less bare earth, rain water can no longer penetrate the ground and feed water tables. Instead the water washes down drains in large volumes and inevitably this creates flooding. In direct contrast, in the summer, the paving stones, concrete or impermeable surfaces retain heat. This accentuates temperature rises in urban areas and with global temperatures due to increase this will only worsen the situation.
Encouraging people to plant hedges in front gardens means pollution levels are reduced as the plants sequester co2 from the air and improve air quality close to houses.
A greener front garden is also beneficial for wildlife and increases biodiversity. We need to encourage birds to nest and insects to feed off berries from hedges and flowers. Without this we will lose the precious wildlife left in our urban environments.
There is also scientific evidence that clearly shows that time spent in a green environment and engaging in gardening, even on a sporadic basis, will improve our wellbeing. Humans feel happier when they are surrounded by vegetation and trees. We inherently respond to green spaces and benefit from them, mentally and physically.
All these points should hopefully encourage you to plant in your front garden either straight in the earth or in pots and whilst you’re at it, do sign up to our wonderful competition “Balham in Bloom”. To encourage the beautification of Balham front gardens, hanging baskets and window boxes can enter the competition and the winner will be revealed on the 26th of June.
By working together we can protect our biodiversity and combat climate change.
– Justine McNeil from Balham Street Gardeners