Driveways Desired Over Gardens

Digger removing a natural lawn from a front garden
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Mar 01, 2023
4 minutes read

Research from Aviva has shed light on how homeowners feel about the space outside their home, with as many as 25% having replaced their garden with a driveway. 17% of people were also planning on doing the same, bringing the total of gardens replaced by driveways (or soon to be) at 42%. More than half of these people admitted that this could have an effect on the environment.

15% of people have had a non-permeable driveway installed, not allowing for water to drain through to the ground below. A further 10% have had artificial grass fitted instead, while an additional 29% would like to do the same. Reasonings included not wanting to maintain a natural lawn (31%) or wishing to have space to park their car (27%).

These statistics indicate that there is a greater desire for parking over the environment, and when the environment is considered, convenience is quickly serving as an excuse to replace a natural lawn. The smaller percentages in this research showed that 12% had replaced some or all of their garden with a wildflower meadow and 7% had added plants or flowers to their drive.

There is more awareness of the environment nowadays than there has ever been before, but Aviva found that 39% of people believed off road parking took precedence over any environmental impact. One of the main issues with modern driveways and installations of any kind is the impact on existing drainage systems, which is why Building Regulations are in place for sustainable drainage when non-permeable surfaces are used. Despite this, 58% of people thought changes to their outside areas would have no impact on flooding risk.

Despite flood guidance being in place with drives, a mere 14% of homeowners were aware of permeable surface government guidance. Since 2009, this measure has aimed to reduce the problems caused by front gardens being replaced by drives. Only 18% applied for planning permission when they paved over their front garden with a driveway, proving that more awareness of this issue is needed.

The best way to limit the environmental impact of any upgrade to your outdoor areas is to do it in a considerate way. Resin bound driveways are permeable and potentially have one of the longest lifespans of all options for your drive. You can still make use of any natural lawns with this option, as edging can define a neat border between the two surfaces, providing you have room. This way, you’ll have space to park your car and keep some environmental benefits.

Artificial grass also doesn’t have to be at the cost of the Earth. Turf can be manufactured to be fully recyclable in order to reduce ending up in landfill at the end of its natural life. Some manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to develop grass that is recyclable, and others have followed in their footsteps. The different materials are separated and reused to produce more artificial grass. If recycling isn’t possible, it can always be repurposed or reused in other ways.

Further guidance on artificial grass can be found on our website.