With labour force participation at record highs, many families are too time poor to maintain large backyards and gardens.

As a result, home buyers are opting for smaller-lot housing in masterplanned communities where access to spacious parks holds more appeal than the weekly yard work consuming precious family time.

AVID Property Group (AVID), developers of the Savana and Bloomdale communities in Wyndham Vale and Diggers Rest in Melbourne, has concentrated on delivering large, functional parks and open spaces, to provide recreational opportunities as lot sizes decrease.

AVID Property Group General Manager Victoria Peter Vlitas said many families welcomed less garden maintenance as a result of reduced backyard sizes and were happy to use public space for exercise and entertainment.

“We have focused on building parks and open spaces that are really functional for families – with barbecues, play equipment and green space for kids to kick a ball around,” said Mr Vlitas.

“We are delivering over 6 hectares of parks and recreational open space at Bloomdale, while at Savana we have created the development’s first park in the early stage of development to ensure our initial residents have access to open space from the day they move in.”

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the labour force participation rate remained at a near-record high of 65.6 per cent,1 largely driven by increases in women joining or returning to the workforce.

“Many families are now two-income households, meaning leisure time is more valuable than ever for mums and dads,” said Mr Vlitas.

“They don’t want to be spending their weekends raking up leaves or weeding the garden, they want to be able to get out and enjoy time with their kids.

“It’s not just couples with children pursuing this lifestyle. Young couples who work full-time are also looking for ways to cut down on maintenance to be able to spend quality time together.”

Recent data included in the UDIA’s State of the Land report showed the median annual lot size in Australia had reduced to just 420m2.

Bloomdale buyer Jaroslaw Baran said he had made the choice of a low maintenance, 478m2 block because of its proximity to Bloomdale’s parks and amenities.

“We will have a park in front of us with a barbecue space and activities for my kids,” said Mr Baran.

“Even though we don’t have a big backyard, I’m looking forward to spending time outside in the Valere park next to my new home.”

Mr Vlitas said while many commentators were lamenting the death of the backyard, parks and green spaces offered homeowners a new version of the Australian dream.

“Public green spaces do more than just replace backyards, they give communities a place to come together, a place for local children to play and for neighbours to share a meal together.

“It speaks to one of the important roles of developers like AVID. What we do is about more than just delivering homes, it’s about building communities.”

1 Labour Force, February 2019, Australian Bureau of Statistics