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

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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,909
    Neighbours move. Both in and out. No point buying a house on that basis. 
    I've had horsetail, ground elder and few other nasties in gardens. It's not worth having a house that's too small or in the wrong area just to avoid having to deal with a difficult plant in the garden.
    If you can find a house in the UK that doesn't have any bindweed in the garden, I'd be amazed. It just turns up. Really well managed gardens have it under control, but it's still just over the fence and after a few weeks' inattention, it'll be in like Flynn.
    Any aspect can be lovely in the garden if you put your mind to it. A house that gets no sunshine for most of the year is much more of a problem than a shady garden.
    If you live in a town, your garden is almost inevitably going to be at least partially overlooked. 
    My house is on a steeply sloping site on the north slope of the hill. Gardening here can be hard work and sometimes disheartening when plants turn up their toes because it's too cold. I still have no regrets at all about buying it - I'd like a bit more money and a bit more skill to make more of it, but for me there's much more to love about where I live.

    So I'm with Obelixx on this one - get a house you love in the location you need and with a garden that's big enough. The rest is manageable.

    “There is no military solution
    Doesn't always end up as something worse”
  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 6,468
    One of the things I considered when I bought this house was whether the garden would be manageable as I grew older.  I don't intend to move again so didn't want a garden that was too big or had lots of steps.  I want to be able to manage the garden as long as possible.
    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,313
    I have read this with interest. I suppose we all have wish lists but then budget or circumstances often put the garden down the list of priorities. I also agree with the importance of privacy (my main goal too) but with any neighbours near by, the noise from kids/parties/hobbies/dogs/DIY can disturb the most serene garden. I was very excited to move into a property with a south-facing garden, but actually a south-west aspect would be my top choice, as evening sun would be improved. 
    I would be wary of big trees close to the house in case of roots causing damage and definitely consider the access and potential storage to your outside space. 

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 6,468
    South west is my choice too @AuntyRach .  We've had two houses with that aspect (including this one) and I've loved both gardens.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 2,003
    When we bought our house last year, it was the only one out of hundreds or thousands available in our desired location that ticked most of our boxes. You can't have everything.
    My only deal-breakers regarding the garden was its size and privacy. We were really lucky because our garden is a good-sized and faces mostly east (partially south and is quite open from the south) while our living room and front of the house faces west with sea views and we also have a nice front garden. But all of this was a bonus, not a requirement.
    I think the only thing that hasn't been said above yet is how much mature/complete garden do you want. Do you want a blank canvas or do you want a garden with some nice plants in it already?
    The previous owner of our house was a passionate gardener and I think I would slightly prefer a blank canvas over what I have but on the other hand, I really like some of the inherited plants.
  • HouseFinchHouseFinch British Columbia, Canada (Zone 5)Posts: 327
    There have been some very good suggestions and points made here.
    Just keep in mind that whatever you decide to purchase, growing a garden is a marathon-not a sprint. ;)
    Prioritize what needs to be done-and when-and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. I think you will find that if you are ever confused about what needs doing, or how to do it, this forum has many capable gardeners that are happy to help, every step of the way. :):smile:
  • k_webber90k_webber90 ManchesterPosts: 11
    edhelka said:

    The previous owner of our house was a passionate gardener and I think I would slightly prefer a blank canvas over what I have but on the other hand, I really like some of the inherited plants.
    I agree on this! Something to get your teeth sunk into is good. But i am wary of budgets, especially if the house needs a lot of money too! 

    Thank you for the South/ South-West facing suggestions, is there a direction that is particularly difficult to work with?

    All great suggestions btw, really useful! 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,465
    The general consensus is that North facing gardens are difficult as they don't get so much sun, but that can vary. It depends on other factors such as trees, buildings etc.
    An old colleague of mine had a North facing garden, but from May through to the end of August it was sunny. One of our neighbours has a North facing one, and it gets very little sunlight even at the height of summer, due to the trees.
    If you find a property you're particularly keen on, if you can get some photos of the garden (and from upstairs as well), you can get some feedback on here  :)
  • k_webber90k_webber90 ManchesterPosts: 11
    Thanks AnniD! I will do that, thats great!  
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,324
    I think it's easier to make the garden to suit you, rather than the house. I've had various scenarios with houses and gardens, and a few blank canvases, including this one, but I feel it's always better to find the right house in the right location, and work at the garden.
    No matter what the aspect, or the soil, or the conditions, you can make something beautiful with a bit of hard work, and it doesn't always have to be expensive  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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