Rewilding trend for 'mini meadows' is damaging property prices for you and your neighbours, estate agents warn

Telegraph 1 month ago

The new rewilding trend for 'mini meadows' is causing rows between neighbours and damaging property prices, estate agents have warned.

Leaving one's garden to become a wild meadow abundant with daisies and butterflies has become a low-effort trend amongst the eco-conscious.

Springwatch this year featured writer and presenter Kate Bradbury, who has made her own garden "wild" with a wildflower meadow and a small pond, and it showed viewers how to do the same.

Even at Chelsea Flower Show, the traditionally perfectly-manicured lawns and flowerbeds were nowhere to be seen, with grasses and flowers good for pollinators and "mini woodlands" taking centre stage.

Leading ecologists have also urged those with gardens to let their lawns grow wild for bees and other insects, and councils across the country have let road verges turn into wildflower meadows to save invertebrates.

However, this 'rewilding light', which sees overgrown lawns, bramble and weeds allowed to flourish and scruffy plots in order to allow wildlife and nature back in, is causing conflict.

A new report by property experts Stacks found an increasing number of both homeowners and property developers are devoting space to rewilding, abandoning the usual short-cut lawns and precise edging for more ramshackle-looking plots.

These attract insects which, in turn, bring in more birds and small mammals allowing nature to thrive, particularly in more urban and suburban environments, say supporters of the trend.

But others think it looks scruffy, brings down the look of a neighbourhood and is just an excuse for lazy homeowners to get the lawnmower out less often.

James Law, of Stacks Property Search, said: "The concept of restoring natural processes to large areas of the countryside would seem on the face of it hard to criticise, but some see it as anti-farming, and others simply maintain that it doesn't make any difference.

"But numerous projects have attracted huge attention and rewilding is unquestionably here to stay. We found a big appetite for what we call rewilding-light.

"Homeowners and property buyers are attracted by the idea of letting the natural order return to anything from a large garden to a few acres of land."

He warned: "It can look somewhat scruffy! Allowing nature to take its course generally means an end to manicured lawns, pristine flowerbeds, and good weed control. And not everybody will share your joy for a less controlled environment.

"Home owners and buyers who are seeking a more environmental approach to managing their garden and land can quickly come up against resistance from neighbours who think that a paddock should contain sheep or ponies, that brambles are the enemy, that lawns should be weed-free and mown weekly, and moles are absolutely not welcome visitors.

"When buyers talk to us about their rewilding plans for a new plot, we do advise them to look carefully at the geography of their new home.

"If they are serious about an unmanaged approach, they should be conscious of neighbouring properties, and it might be advisable to do some local PR in advance, explaining their thinking and what they are looking to achieve.

"On a small scale, rewilding probably has to be more managed than it would be on hundreds of acres, but as with all things there can be a good balance."

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