Friday, May 8, 2009

Housing and the disappearing Australian Backyard

It's sad really, but this article in today's SMH shows a scary trend towards huge houses with little or no backyard.

I'm an advocate of the suburban back garden for landlords with family tenants. It's about keeping up the quality of life for yourself as a home-dweller, or the people whose homes you are responsible for... Giving them space to entertain outside if they wish, or to play in the backyard means you have happy tenants who stay in your property longer. At least that's the theory...

But it seems in the rush to sell bigger houses to home buyers in newer suburbs, builders are selling their buyers short for pointless "activity rooms" and the kids are locking themselves in their rooms to play computer games, while all the while our population gets fatter and less fit.

There should be a regulation in Australia. There needs to be a garden space of at least 75 square metres on every property being built and to hell with the builders and what they want to sell us.

I won't let my little daughter spend hours in front of the television as she gets older. Even now, at two, she comes out to play on her trike or her cubby/slide, or in her sandpit while I put out the washing. Or she runs around the garden while I throw a ball for her, and she comes with her Daddy and me to play frisbee for even 20 minutes down the road most weekends. I include her. I let her "help" with the gardening as we spruce up our battered old house, and look at flowers and insects with me, showing her carefully every little thing of interest that I find.

I was never much of an outdoors kid in the sporty sense... although Dad instilled in me a great interest in nature and we were always out together on weekends while Mum did her concerts. it's not really about being sporty. It's about getting out in the fresh air and taking an interest in things.

I've digressed a little from the property side of things into parenting, but it's made a difference in my life and the type of property I live in is really important to me as a result.

Dear readers, tenant or landlord: PLEASE give yourselves space to enjoy the outdoors! With places away from home being less safe for kids to roam, they're even more important now than they ever were in the past!