Messy gardens the biggest complaint in Lloyds' neighbourhood survey

Britons spend five times as much money on indoor upkeep as they do maintaining their gardens and outdoor areas, according to a new insurance provider survey.

Brits critical of neighbours' garden upkeep. Image: Pixabay
Brits critical of neighbours' garden upkeep. Image: Pixabay

Yet the survey of 2,000 home owners also found that their most common complaint about their neighbourhoods is that outdoor areas, and other peoples' gardens, are untidy.

According to the Britain at Home report from Lloyds' Bank Insurance, more than half of UK home owners live in areas with unattractive features such as untidy gardens, spaces used as dumping grounds and overflowing bins, yet many are failing to invest in their own home's exterior or garden space.

It found untidy gardens or outdoor areas were the most common affliction (a problem for 34 per cent), followed by buildings in disrepair (18 per cent) and outdoor spaces used as dumping grounds (18 per cent).

As a result of living in poorly-maintained neighbourhoods, 61 per cent of homeowners have negative feelings about where they live.

The insurance provider is highlighting the figures to encourage people to take care of properties - both for aesthetic reasons but also to avoid future maintenance issues.

Despite criticising the upkeep of their neighbours' homes, the research found people invest much less on their own outdoor spaces (£714) than they do on indoor work (£3,579).

The expense of fixing up an outdoor space was the main reason given for not improving an outdoor area, along with lack of time and prioritising indoors over outdoors.

For those living in unsightly neighbourhoods, containing overflowing bins, vandalism and rubbish, the problem is so bad that one in five (20 per cent) is considering moving house, the company says.

According to the research, the most important factor people take into account when looking for a new property is whether it is well-maintained on the outside (55 per cent) while 53 per cent prioritise it being in a well-preserved neighbourhood.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: "It is disturbing to see how many people are unable to love where they live, and that many homeowners are so affected by their neighbours that they are considering a permanent move.

"It is clear that while people in the UK acknowledge a widely held desire to live in a pleasant environment, this is often not being achieved, and with huge consequences. There are things we can all do to improve our external spaces, which will increase well-being and even reduce crime, therefore making our neighbourhoods better places to call home."

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