There is no doubt that a garden can make your house a better home. You could have the most beautiful house in the world, in the most exquisite location, but if the garden is nothing more than a ‘postage stamp’ sized concrete mess its usability, desirability and ultimately its value will be greatly decreased.
Aspect and orientation
I think if we all had the choice, we would opt for the garden with the sunny aspect and stunning vista across the sea. But the reality is not very many of us can afford to be that ‘picky’ over such ‘wishes’. However, there are a few things to bear in mind when looking at a house and its garden: a north facing garden, surrounded by trees is never going to get much light, and as a result of this, plants, natural grass and the alike will suffer. So what if you have found the perfect house, but the garden is facing the wrong way, or you are surrounded by huge trees and shrubs which are zapping all the light away, obviously you can’t do anything about the orientation of the house, but you can investigate further to see that anything can be done to improve the amount of light coming into the garden or house e.g. removing or cutting back of trees (always check for TPO’s first – Tree Preservation Orders, you will need to ask your local council for this information). Or can the garden be modified to enable a usable area to be created in a sunny spot? If done in the right way, making improvements like this will inevitably make your garden more usable.
How will you use your garden?
A pretty obvious one, but if you have lots of young children, or indeed you are elderly. A garden with lots of level changes and steps etc. is never going to make the most practical proposition. However, if you are a keen gardener, and would like the challenge of creating a space on differing levels and dividing the areas, then such a garden would be ideal.
Is the garden overlooked?
It’s quite rare these days to find a garden which is not overlooked at all from at least one angle, but is there space in the garden which is not overlooked, or can you do something to make it more private e.g. plant some nice trees that could add some interest to the space also (not just throw in a conifer hedged)?
It’s always useful to have a good wander round the garden, to see if there are any apparent issues with the ground for example has there been any settlement in the garden, does the patio or lawn appear to be draining well ? It’s quite common these days, especially with new developments for gardens to have been just ‘dressed over’ with a layer of topsoil, but underneath there could be a compact layer of soil or other debris from the building site that could cause not only issues with drainage, but also restrictions on what plants will grow well in the garden further down the line. So a soggy lawn or lying water anywhere in a garden is certainly something to look out for.
Ok so you have your dream home, but it’s let down by the garden, or there is not enough parking at the front. So then you need to assess whether or not the garden has the potential to be worked on and make the changes you need e.g. it’s a North facing garden, but you can clear an area to create a patio in a ‘sunny spot’, or you can remove some plants or trees to allow more light in. You may need to call on your imagination for some ideas, or even get some advice from a garden designer, to see what exactly is possible.
So there’s a few points to consider when looking at your garden, ultimately it always comes down to choice, but by taking into consideration a couple of these points, you are at least giving some thought to your outdoor space. Follow our blog for garden design lawn ideas and artificial grass inspiration.