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What is the cost of gardening?

21st May 2018 Print

Many Brits take pride and joy in keeping their garden looking its best — but it can be costly! It’s estimated that over the course of a gardener’s lifetime, they’ll spend £30,000 on tending to their garden. A staggering amount by anyone’s standards, but just how does the amount break down? Compost Direct, retailers of some of the cheapest topsoil, investigates:

Gardening Express carried out research which discovered that the most significant spend of this £30,000 was on plants (£10,000) and renewing patios and decking (£9,000). This decking cost is based on renewing the patio and decking six times over their lifetime.

Although this number seems high, research carried out by Lloyds Bank Insurance discovered that spending on gardening is slowing. It found that households spent an average of £587 on gardening in a 12-month period between 2015 and 2016.

So, what does this mean? If we say that the average UK lifespan is 80 years old and consider that most Brits won’t buy their first home until they’re 30, we can assume around 50 years of gardening. Based on the £587 average household spend, more recent data suggests that this spend has dropped to £29,350 — a £750 decrease on the figures from 2014.

For those who want their garden to look its best but don’t want to get their hands dirty, the hiring of experts is an option. But again, this can increase spend on gardening. Here’s how much the most popular garden tasks will cost you if you ask the experts:

Keeping the lawn tidy

Depending on the size of your garden, getting someone else to mow your lawn can cost around £30. Between March and September, this will usually be required fortnightly, racking up a total cost of £420 annually.

When we consider that an average lawnmower costs £100, this is just a fraction of the cost of a professional lawn cutting service.

Installing a patio

When entertaining guests, the patio is the perfect place. Laying a patio around 4m by 2m costs £475 on average. If you were to do the work yourself, you’d need around 18 900mm x 900mm paving slabs. You’ll also need to consider the cost of hardcore and bedding mortar. It is also a labour-intensive task so, while you may be able to save money, it may be more worthwhile calling in the professionals.

Building a shed

For a standard shed, you can expect to fork out around £150. However, the cost of building a garden shed is £150, assuming that the flat base is already in place. Although it may seem complex, building your own shed could save you some cash.

Laying decking

Installing decking can be quite tricky, which is why many people hire experts to do the task. But how much could you save if you did it yourself?

Think about the costs of both the raw materials and installation. For budget timber, you can expect to pay around £14 per square meter. For a decking that’s around 14m2 — approximately the size you’ll need to fit a dining table and chairs — you can expect to pay £196 just for the basic boards.

If you opted for more premium hardwood boards, prices increase to approximately £90 per square meter, bringing the total to £1,260 for the same 14m2 area. You’ll also have the cost of fitting on top of this, as well as a drill and saw if you don’t already have these.

When you take into consideration that the typical UK joiner’s average day rate is between £150 and £200, you can expect to pay around £400 for two days’ work to install the decking. In total, installing basic decking will likely cost around £596, while you can expect to pay £1,660 for premium hardwood decking.