Dreaming of a Bigger, Better Garden

Yesterday we looked at how to make the beer garden of your dreams, so it seems only fitting that today we're taking a look at how gardens feature in Britons' dream homes in other ways.

Newly published research from Ocean Finance reveals Britons' biggest ambitions for their homes, from indoor swimming pools - which over a third of us want - to panic rooms, which one in 100 people apparently consider to be a key addition to the home of their dreams.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who's spent much time in some outdoor space of their own design, gardens appear several times on the list - and you don't necessarily need to be rich, in order to add one of these ambitious features to your property.

Size Isn't Everything

Having a bigger garden is an ambition for 25% of people surveyed - equivalent to around 13 million people nationwide - but in many cases, simply organising your garden a bit better can give the illusion of more space.

Cut back any hedges that are crowding your garden's space, and add clean, straight fences to help define the boundary, without encroaching on the interior.

Add paved areas for chairs, tables and barbecues to go on, gravel paths linking the functional areas of your garden, and well-kept lawns in the remaining space, and even a small garden can serve your purposes well.

Take the Indoors Outdoors

Even more than a bigger garden, 32% of people want an outdoor room - a summer house or conservatory, for instance.

Again, these are fairly easy to add, and don't have to cost the earth; our beer garden example is a weekend DIY project most people could handle themselves.

For larger gardens, consider a bandstand or pergola standing alone on its own paved area, as an eye-catching addition that gives you shelter during a shower, but is not entirely enclosed from the open air either.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Interestingly, 15% of people hold ambitions for their garden beyond simply making it fit their leisure time more effectively.

A total of around eight million people across the UK would like to be able to grow their own food, in a kitchen garden built on their own land - and once again, you don't need a huge area of land in order to be able to do this.

Even on a patio, you can grow herbs in free-standing pots, which is also a great way to make use of the space without turning it permanently into a vegetable plot.

Alternatively, if you have enough land to spare, you can treat your garden like an allotment, with strips of different vegetables separated by edgings or flagstone paths - and you too could soon be living the proverbial 'good life'.