chapter  9
20 Pages

The extended Australian urban dwelling: key issues relating to private open space in expanding residential suburbia


The garden is a fundamental element of the residential environment, especially in low density suburbia. In heavily urbanized Australia, front and back yards play a crucial role for citizens seeking their own private open space experiences. Due to sunny attractive climes, many houses extend into the garden – both physically and ideologically – providing a key function in everyday life. The garden is part of the house itself. As Hall puts it (2007, 27), the back garden ‘can be characterised as an outside room’. It is where family and social activities take place, such as cricket games, barbecues and lazing under shady eucalypts. Depending on the householder, this may broaden to, inter alia, built-in playgrounds, vegetable growing and/or planting and maintaining indigenous vegetation (Head and Muir, 2007). It is also used for utility purposes, such as drying clothes and providing water tanks. Private gardens, however, are becoming smaller with enlarging residential density (Syme et al., 2001; Hall, 2007). Ball games and picnics in newer suburbs may now head for local parklands.