Put an end to gravel gardens!

This nudge puts an end to gravel gardens.

It is trying to reach people through a public poster campaign, moving them to unseal their gardens or even better, not building them at all. The implementation works by means of the nudge designs “disclosure of information” and “appeal to acknowledgement”.

What does the topic mean?

The topic of the nudge is building law. It regulates all legal aspects relating to construction. This includes building procedures on unroofed parts of the estate as well – the garden. Especially important are the regulations in Germany regarding soil sealing and greening of unroofed areas. Unroofed areas are meant to be greened and able to absorb water.

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Goal of the nudge

The goal of the nudge is to ensure that people are follow the existing building regulations. It is encouraging owners of gravel gardens to redesign their gardens in an eco-friendlier way or to stop the construction of gravel gardens altogether in order to minimize the negative effects of gravel gardens. The nudge should help develop an urban image that is more sustainable and greener with higher living quality.
Needs Analysis
Up to 20% of gardens in modern housing areas are gravel gardens
Gravel gardens have a wide variety of ecological downsides. Especially noteworthy are the sealing of soil surface, fine dust and noise pollution, heat build-up and missing habitats for animals and plants.
Cause Analysis
Social Proof
People tend to base their decisions on the decisions and actions of their peers. This is especially relevant in neighbourhoods with a lot of already existing gravel gardens. Owners want to prevent being judged by their neighbours for their allegedly “untidy” garden.
Decisions are made based on whether they are meeting the most basic decision criteria. Just sufficiently satisfying the need is enough, disregarding the optimal outcome. People are choosing the allegedly easier option of gravel gardens, even though most people prefer green gardens.
Confirmation Bias
People tend to only consider information that is supporting their already existing opinion. Exemplary is the assumption, that gravel gardens are low-maintenance and easy to keep tidy.
Status Quo Bias
People prefer things to stay the same, so they keep making the same decision or do not act at all. If there is a gravel garden that already exists, it is rather unlikely to be changed.
Further aspects in the construction of gravel gardens are neighbourhood dynamics and social norms, but also the overall strive for an effortless garden, and lacking knowledge of plants and gardening.

Target Group

The target group of the nudge are people who own a gravel garden or are planning to construct a gravel garden. Predominantly in modern housing areas.

Added value of the nudge

By means of this nudge, gardens should be designed more biodiverse and more sustainable with added value for animals, plants, and humans. It stops soil sealing and helps create a better microclimate and therefore higher living quality. A green and blooming garden is not only a lot more sustainable in the long run, it is also a lot more easily to obtain that commonly thought. This nudge helps inform people, motivate them to create a greener garden and make the urban image more eco-friendly.