- gardens and yards
- gardens and yards [gardens and yards] Most British people prefer to live in a house rather than a flat and one of the reasons for this is that houses usually have gardens. The garden is surrounded by a fence or hedge and is a place where people can be outside and yet private. If a house has a front and back garden, the front is likely to be formal and decorative, with a lawn (= an area of grass) or fancy paving and flower borders. The back garden usually also has a lawn and flower beds, and sometimes a vegetable plot or fruit trees. There is often a bird table (= a raised platform on which food is put for birds) and a shed in which garden tools are kept. Many British people spend quite a lot of money on their gardens and even the smallest may contain a variety of flowers and shrubs. In spring some people fix window boxes containing bulbs or other plants on their window sills, or attach a hanging basket on the wall near the front door. Some houses have only a very small paved back garden, called a patio. People often decorate it with plants in tubs, or in pots or baskets fixed to the wall and many see the garden as an extension of their home. In the US the area of grass in front of and behind most houses is called a yard. The word garden is used only for the areas where flowers and vegetables grow. Yards usually consist of a lawn and trees, flowers and bushes. Many backyards have swings, slides or climbing frames for children. There may also be a patio or a deck (= a wooden platform attached to the house) where chairs and tables are kept in the summer. Garden decorations include bird feeders (= containers of food for birds) and lamps so that people can use the yard after dark. During warm weather, Americans spend a lot of time in their yards, especially the backyard. Children play there and often have small pools or sand boxes. People like to eat outside and prepare meals on a barbecue. For British many people gardening is a ↑hobby and they take great pride in their gardens. Some towns and villages have competitions for the best-kept small garden. Keen gardeners may have a greenhouse in which to grow more delicate plants. People with a small garden, or no garden at all, can rent a piece of land, called an ↑allotment, from the local council. Most people grow vegetables on their allotments. There are garden centres near most towns, selling everything a gardener might need, from flowerpots to fish ponds as well as a huge range of plants. Although a smaller proportion of Americans enjoy gardening, it is increasingly popular and almost half of the retired population garden. People work to make the yard a pleasant place to sit. Modern garden design, with the garden as an extension of the living space in the house, was developed in California. The British interest in gardening affects the appearance of whole towns. Public parks and traffic roundabouts often have bright displays of flowers in summer and public buildings have window boxes and hanging baskets. Towns and villages enter for the annual Britain in Bloom competition. At ↑weekends Many British people like to visit famous gardens, such as that at Stowe near Banbury, developed by William ↑Kent and ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century. Other popular attractions include Vita Sackville-West's gardens at Sissinghurst, and the garden and glasshouses of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Every summer the National Gardens Scheme publishes a booklet listing private gardens belonging to enthusiastic gardeners which are open to the public on a particular day. Visitors like to look around and get ideas for their own gardens. In the US parks and other public green spaces usually have paths for people to walk along, large areas of grass where children can play, and trees and flowers. There are some formal gardens in the US, and, as in Britain, many universities have botanical gardens which are used for research and teaching. Famous American gardens include Longwood in ↑Pennsylvania and the Huntington Botanical Gardens in ↑California.
Useful english dictionary. 2012.
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