When house-hunting, it can be easy to focus on the house and forget about the garden, especially if you’re not a keen gardener.
But, even if you have no interest in the garden, there are a few things you should be taking notice of – otherwise, you could be facing a lot of unwanted hassle in the future.
- Are there any trees close to the property?
If trees are growing near the property, it’s worth checking if there’s any risk of damage being done. There are 3 things you should be looking out for:
– Structural damage – caused by roots in shrinking clay soils;
– Drain damage – caused by roots entering and blocking drains;
– Other damage – branches can cause damage to roofs and guttering, and expanding roots can lift paving and even sheds and garages.
Damage is unlikely, but it can’t hurt to ask!
- If a tree can cause damage to your property, can you do anything about it?
You need to ensure that there isn’t a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) protecting the tree – you can apply to work on a protected tree here.
Cutting down a tree can also be dangerous if you don’t seek a professional’s help. As the roots will have been taking in rain water, cutting it down could cause the ground to crack and pull away, causing subsidence. Check with a professional before assuming you can cut down any problem trees!
- Does the garden have a stream?
If a stream is running through the garden, then you should definitely check if the house is within an area that is at risk of flooding. Streams can also attract rodents, so make sure the stream isn’t too close to the property.
- Check for Japanese knotweed
If your garden backs onto railway lines, make sure you check carefully for Japanese knotweed as it is common near railways. It is hard to spot in winter, so if you’re unsure, get a specialist to check.
- Check the soil type
If you are a keen gardener, it would be wise to check the soil type as heavy clay can be restrictive. However, keep in mind that you can always create your own troughs, or stick to planters, hanging baskets and pots.
- In which direction is the garden facing?
Try and bag a South facing garden! North facing gardens will see very little sunlight, meaning that not only will it not be particularly pleasant to be sat outside, but plants will find it difficult to grow – which isn’t pleasant even for those who aren’t keen gardeners!
- What is overlooking the garden?
Even if the garden is South facing, it could be in the shadow of its neighbour’s house. This isn’t great for your plants, sunbathing, or privacy!
- Is the garden secure?
Check for paths or fields directly next to your garden – can your garden be easily accessed by outsiders?
- Size is important
You can always make a large garden look nicer, but you can’t make a small garden bigger! If you want to grow your own vegetables or just do some gardening, make sure the size of the garden accomodates your needs.
- Don’t be fooled by curb appeal
Sellers can try to improve the appearance of the property by looking after the visible parts of their garden – make sure this care extends to the whole garden.
If you’re interested in starting a bit of gardening, check out our tips for first time vegetable growers!