Now is one of the optimum times to view a property, but there are a few things to bear in mind when considering a property with outdoor space.
It’s that time of year again when the Chelsea Flower Show inspires the green-fingered god and goddess in all of us, and thoughts turn wistfully to barbeques over long bank holiday weekends as temperatures start to soar.
Now is one of the optimum times to view a property – not only are the days longer and lighter, but gardens are beginning to come into full bloom and you can see the outdoor space on offer in the best possible light. For many buyers, particularly those with young children, finding a property with a good quality, private and enclosed garden or outdoor space is a huge bonus.
And for those in built-up urban centres even the smallest roof-terrace can be regarded as a luxury. But there are a few things to bear in mind when considering a property with outdoor space:
Orientation – Like location, one of the things you can’t ever change about your home is its orientation. A North, North West or North East facing garden will get very little sunlight and rules out any dreams of that herbaceous border. Particularly if it is only small backyard, you may find it is constantly in the shadow of the property, and while this may discourage you from sitting out in it, the more serious implication is that shadowed gardens tend to never dry out after a heavy downpour. Instead, keep an eye out for South, South-West or South-East facing rear gardens. If you’re viewing a house on a dull overcast day, you might even want to take a compass to help you get your bearings. Lastly, consider what time of day you would like to catch the sun most – morning sun for weekend breakfasts perhaps or evening sun for the after work BBQ? Or maybe you prefer morning sun brightening the bedroom more than you do the garden?
Size – A large garden is an important asset in itself, particularly in prime city locations – so don’t get too fazed by a mess. Remember that size is more important than current condition – landscaping can be relatively inexpensive, and clearing old debris or overgrown weeds is often not such a mammoth task as it looks. You can never grow a small backyard – but you can revamp a generous garden and add value to your property in the long term. Outdoor space opens up the opportunity for a conservatory, extension, or garage – and in some cases, even an annex or a second property.
Trees – Pay attention to them. They cast shade and cause patchy lawns, dead leaves and twigs can block drains, fallen branches can damage property, and rogue roots can crack driveways and even disturb the foundations of houses built on heavy clay soils or peat. Many mature trees can be legally protected – so it may not be as easy to get rid of that problematic Oak as you think.
Boundaries – Check your boundary rights and responsibilities – they aren’t always clear, take many different forms and can lead to tensions with the new neighbours. You will usually be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the hedge or fence on one side of your garden. Remember that if you want more privacy in your garden, you’ll have to consult with your neighbour first before erecting a higher fence or planting tall trees.