Are you allowed to live in the allotment garden, build a pool or plant trees?

For a long time it was considered the epitome of bourgeoisie, today the allotment garden is also popular with many young people. Philistineism has increasingly receded into the background. The demand in major German cities is huge. If you want to lease an allotment garden there, you have to wait three years on average. He has Federal Association of German Garden Friends (BDG) determined. However, if you have got hold of one, you have to pay attention to a few things. Because the city garden should be green, but not too wild. Everything you need to know about urban greenery at a glance.

What you should know about allotment gardens

Where are allotment gardens?

Allotment gardens are primarily found in large cities. According to the BDG, there are around 890,000 allotment gardens throughout Germany. On average, each garden is around 370 m². If you put all the allotment gardens in Germany together, it would correspond to the area of ​​Baden-Württemberg. The allotment gardens are distributed very differently from region to region. There is an above-average number of allotment gardens in East Germany. Saxony has the highest density with five gardens per 100 inhabitants. In Rhineland-Palatinate, on the other hand, there are only 0.2 gardens for every 100 inhabitants.

How are allotment gardens organized?

Allotment gardens are organized hierarchically: There are umbrella organizations, state organizations, district organizations. The local association is the lowest common denominator and central contact point for interested parties. This is, for example, the allotment garden association Colony Westend in Berlin or the Hanover allotment garden association Linden. The clubs also apply for a plot.

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How expensive is an allotment garden?

An allotment garden is leased, not rented. The lease agreement is valid for an indefinite period. As long as tenants use the garden as an allotment garden, they cannot be terminated without notice. Depending on the garden club and region, the prices vary.

On average, tenants pay 300 to 400 euros a year for an allotment garden – including club membership, insurance and additional costs. Gazebos, plants and other leftovers can be taken over by the previous tenant for a fee. How high this is is often estimated by an expert from the state association. According to the BDG, the average transfer fee is 3,500 euros.

What rules apply in the allotment garden?

How allotment gardens are to be used and what constitutes an allotment garden in the first place is in the Federal Allotment Law (BKlingG) regulated. Central criterion: the allotment use of the garden.

This means, for example, that fruit and vegetables must be grown on a third of the area for personal use. The rest should consist of equal parts of gazebo, paths and terrace as well as lawn and plants. The gazebo may be a maximum of 24 square meters – unless it was built before April 1, 1983.

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Tenants may spend the night in their garden. However, it is forbidden to live permanently in the allotment garden or even to rent it out.

What rules does my club have?

Every club has regulations and rules on how the pitch is to be used. Some allotment garden regulations are stricter, some less. In principle, respectful cooperation among allotment gardeners is the top priority. Similar basic rules apply in many clubs:

  • Members have to get involved in the work of the association. There are celebrations together, but also fixed work assignments, such as maintaining the community paths.
  • Tenants may set up a paddling pool in the garden. However, an in-ground pool is not permitted.
  • Allotments should be ecologically diverse. Certain plants and trees are therefore prohibited because their growth restricts other plants or affects the soil too much. These include, for example, fir or spruce, whose rotting needles lead to acidification of the soil in the long term. The tree should also have a minimum distance to the neighboring property.
  • There are maximum heights for hedges, which are between 1 m and 1.30 m. If it delimits an outdoor area, however, it can be up to 2 m high. How accurately the hedge has to be trimmed is not regulated. However, if you let your garden run wild completely, you must expect a warning.
  • Grilling and bonfires in a fire barrel or bowl are permitted in many places if the neighbors are not disturbed and fire safety regulations are observed.
  • Depending on the club, it is possible to keep animals such as bees or chickens in the garden. However, this must be approved by the board of directors. Basically, the animals should not disturb other tenants. You can also bring your dog with you, but it shouldn’t bark all day.
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How is the allotment going?

Many regional associations have waiting lists and they are often long. There are usually no exact figures, but the Hamburg State Association and the Leipzig City Association confirm great interest when asked. “It is clear that demand is particularly high in the districts with the highest population density,” says Dirk Sielmann, Chairman of the State Association of Garden Friends in Hamburg. “Waiting times of more than five years are common here.”

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“In Berlin, 15,000 people are waiting for an allotment garden,” says Marion Kwart, spokeswoman for the Berlin State Association of Garden Friends. “Demand is high in all parts of the city. Anyone who gets an allotment garden is happy – no matter where it is.” According to the BDG, Berlin has the most allotment gardens with 66,000 gardens – but the waiting time there is almost the highest at seven years nationwide.

It is also often the case that those looking for a garden simply get together and cultivate the garden together – or gardens are simply passed on directly to acquaintances or friends. If that doesn’t work for you, you can get involved in other ways. In many large cities there are urban gardening projects such as community gardens.

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