The best UK city for gardeners is probably not where you think

New research reveals the best cities for private garden space; clue – they're all north of Watford

Terraces of houses near the city center of Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, UK
(Image credit: Andrew Michael/UIG/Getty)

If you're looking for a home with a garden, then the best places to look may not be the ones you're thinking. Our passion for gardens and gardening has increased manyfold during the pandemic, and more people than ever before want a garden when moving house. The trouble is that in many major cities, a garden is not a guarantee, and if you do find a house that has a private garden, expect tough competition for it. 

However, in some UK cities, the situation is different, and private gardens are so abundant that you can almost expect one by default when looking. According to recent research*, your garden design ideas are much more likely to become reality in these locations. 

1. Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire

The Italian Gardens, Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

The Italian Gardens, Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

(Image credit: Robin Weaver / Alamy Stock Photo)

The research reveals that Stoke-On-Trent has the highest percentage of addresses with private outdoor space at a very impressive 94.4 per cent. They're not necessarily very large gardens, with the average size being only 169 square metres, but that's not a problem for a savvy gardener who knows how to incorporate small garden ideas into their plot. 

Stoke-On-Trent also has beautiful public gardens, including Trentham Gardens, which are part of the 725-acre Trentham Estate. 

2. Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

Sloping Garden - with Conifers and Summer bedding- - (landscaped by Clays Garden Centre Sunderland

A garden in Sunderland

(Image credit: / Alamy Stock Photo)

The north-eastern town of Sunderland also has an impressive offering of garden space. An incredible 99 per cent of detached houses in the town boast private garden space, and even if you were to live in a flat, well over half (66.9 per cent) have access to a private garden. By comparison, only 44 per cent of flats in Watford have a private garden. 

3. Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

A garden in Peterborough

A garden in Peterborough, UK

(Image credit: mygalaxyisgorgeous / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo)

The cathedral city of Peterborough came in a close third, with 93 per cent of all homes in the town offering private garden space – and a very high 71 per cent of flats. This is even without the fact that Peterborough is also surrounded by public green spaces such as Nene Park. 

None of these top three will necessarily give you the biggest garden. If it's a large garden you're after, you should consider moving to Bournemouth, which boasts an average garden size of 307.4 square metres. Fewer homes have private gardens here, however, at 88.5 per cent.

The UK cities with the least garden space

If a private garden is very important to you when considering a move, you may choose to think twice about Watford, Dundee, and Manchester. All three places have the lowest percentages of private garden space in the UK, and Manchester also has the fourth-smallest gardens in the country, 143 square metres on average. This doesn't mean that these cities don't have private gardens – over 70 per cent of properties in each of them still do have a garden. If you want a guaranteed outdoor living space, though, the top three are your best bet.

* Study by  home cleaning and maintenance service company Fantastic Services, based on ONS data

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.