The traditional use of suburban backyards for weddings, cricket matches, children’s parties and barbecues is under threat.
Only the very wealthy in the inner city and those living in country towns look like having large backyards by 2020.
NSW State Planning estimates an extra 82,600 houses will be needed in the middle suburbs by 2020, and that in ten years, 90% of new dwellings in suburbs will be units.
In middle suburbs, local councils are urging urban consolidation, and industrial sites are being used for medium density housing, with up to four units on the traditional quarter acre block.
Dr Glen Searle, from the University of Technology, Sydney, says ‘New developments are prevented from having big backyards, because the state government wants to make the city more compact and stop urban sprawl.’
However, the senior lecturer in Urban Planning adds while large backyards are scarce in the inner and middle suburbs, they may be saved by the very rich who can afford the premium to keep them.
‘Look at the Packer estate in Bellevue Hills,’ he says, “the biggest backyards only exist in established middle suburbs.”
Inner city backyards have long been small compared with those middle and outer suburbs, but now all suburbs look under threat of the shrinking backyard syndrome.
Middle suburb resident Gladys Bird had the last word, saying ‘I don’t want to live in a London or New York Style city. I want to keep my garden with lots of trees that attract native birds.’