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What to look for in the garden when buying a house?

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  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,122
    It’s a really good question and I wished I had investigated more/known what to look out for when buying my current house. The soil is a thin layer of heavy, stony clay on rock which has cost a fortune to build raised beds and add literally tonnes of compost and manure to get it plantable. I’m not sure it would have prevented the purchase as the house and setting are lovely, very private and came with it’s own oak woodland. Maybe I would have regretted it if I had let that put me off though, as most things are fixable. With the exception of the bindweed - that is another pernicious weed I seem to spend my life trying to eradicate  :/
  • k_webber90k_webber90 ManchesterPosts: 11
    Nollie said:
    It’s a really good question and I wished I had investigated more/known what to look out for when buying my current house. The soil is a thin layer of heavy, stony clay on rock which has cost a fortune to build raised beds and add literally tonnes of compost and manure to get it plantable. I’m not sure it would have prevented the purchase as the house and setting are lovely, very private and came with it’s own oak woodland. Maybe I would have regretted it if I had let that put me off though, as most things are fixable. With the exception of the bindweed - that is another pernicious weed I seem to spend my life trying to eradicate  :/
    Your house and garden sound lovely! Ahh yes, its hard as you can't go digging holes around to test! But yes i am a little bit worried about how much it will add up to!! I've added bindweed to my weed gardens to avoid! 
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,122
    Yes, I don’t think the owners would be very pleased if you arrived with a spade  :D

    Nothing wrong with asking questions about the soil and if they have anything invasive though... check for guilty looks!
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,861
    In terms of your garden AND the house, be aware of flooding or heavy waterlogging. My garden is very windy and exposed and I wish it wasn't, but I would still buy the house if I had my time again. Otherwise, have a look at gardens round about. If you are mad about rhododendrons, check there are acid-lovers around, but if you want lilacs and pinks, look for chalky conditions.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 73,699
    Beware of gardens that have been concreted/paved/gravelled over ... yes you can take it up, but it might be covering a multitude of horrors from pernicious weeds to drainage problems. 
    And if you want a lawn don’t get a terrace with a  northfacing garden ... it’s likely to be shaded by surrounding buildings and too dark to grow a successful lawn. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • k_webber90k_webber90 ManchesterPosts: 11
    Beware of gardens that have been concreted/paved/gravelled over ... yes you can take it up, but it might be covering a multitude of horrors from pernicious weeds to drainage problems. 
    And if you want a lawn don’t get a terrace with a  northfacing garden ... it’s likely to be shaded by surrounding buildings and too dark to grow a successful lawn. 

    Great! I was thinking i'd just take it up, but good advice! Thanks for the lawn advice!
    Does anyone know of any website that tracks where floods? I try make a note locally in heavy rainfall/ what goes into chaos but its a bit hard to track! 
  • k_webber90k_webber90 ManchesterPosts: 11
    Super, thanks AnniD! 
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 6,739
    The local authority's planning department should have flood maps available on their website as well as details of other planning related issues in the area. Look under Local Development Plan maps or similar.
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 807
    edited October 2019
    Depends what you want and like.  Large neighbours' trees could be great as a back drop but may stop you growing your own. I took this house for the garden not the house.  Sadly for a few years we couldn't use our garden due to anti-social behaviour from bad tenants.  That's not to say that all tenants are bad, but it certainly pays to find out the mix.  Trampolines and toys may indicate young ones, and that might be a put off, but at the same time I find young kids loud and active in small fits and bursts, and trampolines end up rusting away eventually when the novelty wears off.  I've a nice neighbour a few doors down, a great guy, but he's forever doing projects and building and that has been an annoyance for many.  In the past we've had neighbours tuning motor bikes and all sorts.  But gardens should be used, and we are not all the same.  I personally like the quiet!  Our garden is a climb, that can be a pain, but it's never really wet, and the views make up for it.  I would like a big shed at the end that I could easily escape to, but building is a bit of a challenge here, and when my knees go, I can't even get up there.  Fitness level may dictate what you can take on.  I've a neighbour who has two properties, she struggles with home close by, but the other is large enough to just mechanically tend to once or twice a year think large meadow.  Personally what I love is a nice light in the evening, probably more so than the morning, but that would be nice too.  So open to the west is good.  South sun can get a bit much for me in mid summer, so a good mix of open and shade might do.   Having said that our shady areas are good refuges for mosquitoes - so that can be a put off.  Do think about the movement of the sun.  A neighbour has a greenhouse that sees no light - and that's due to the neighbours hedge that is somewhat out of his control.  Then of course there is planting!   And time available to you to possibly see it mature.  Ours was planted, and the trees must have been at least 10 - 20 years and oddly enough have grown!  Newer items have taken at least 3 or so years to get going.  Trees can make height relatively quickly, but it takes time - and however much I think I have gotten used to the space, it can change quickly, with something like one tree fell.  If privacy is an issue, do walk the garden, and get a feel for it.  I lived in a house that had a small yard overlooked my about 30 neighbours, that was never an issue for me at the time, a neighbour here feels violated being looked over by one - and I like at least one private space I can get a bit lost in.  A couple of trees and shrubs / placement of shed, trellis or other items might be enough for that.  Close proximity can feel awkward even if you have 16ft opaque fences.  But much is a state of mind.
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