Image for Have you liberated your garden from the tyranny of tarmac?

Have you liberated your garden from the tyranny of tarmac?

There’s a growing trend for tarmacking over front gardens. Have you reversed such a crime? Then we want to hear from you

There’s a growing trend for tarmacking over front gardens. Have you reversed such a crime? Then we want to hear from you

I went to the suburban West Midlands recently to visit my parents and stood aghast at the end of their cul-de-sac where a terrible crime had been committed. Not one, not two, but three of their neighbours had had their entire front gardens tarmacked over. And it had all been done in one fell swoop. A job lot. Three for one. 

Generations ago I remember trees in those gardens, blooming flowers, twittering birds. We had bailed from our skateboards onto their soft lawns as kids. Now it was all just black bitumen. 

It’s a trend that’s taken hold across the UK. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, three times as many front gardens are paved over now compared to a decade ago, as homeowners fall out of love with herbaceous borders and into the cold hard grip of tarmac. It’s a disaster for biodiversity, but it also increases the risk of flooding. And because tarmac absorbs heat, it makes neighbourhoods hotter.

Perhaps inevitably this curious fashion has provided a rich seam of content for fun-poking Twitter accounts like Shit Planning. It also got us thinking: surely there are some examples of this trend in reverse? 

So, rather than shaming the tarmackers, we want to celebrate the liberators. If you’ve ripped up some bitumen, block paving or plastic grass, and replaced it with trees, flowers or a lawn, or anything vaguely helpful to wildlife, we want to hear about it.

Send your before and after pictures to [email protected], with your name, location and a paragraph about your project, and we’ll try to publish them in a forthcoming article. 

Long live the front garden.

Main image: ChrisHepburn/iStock

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