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What To Look For In A Garden When House Hunting

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A great garden is a top selling point for many prospective homeowners when house hunting, not just green thumbs looking to live off their own land.

However, even the most experienced house buyers often don’t know what to look for in a garden and can find themselves stumbling into rotten pieces of land that devalue the house and their lives there. 

To help you avoid falling into this trap, here are some key signals you should look out for in a garden when house hunting. 

Soil quality

Just like a great house needs quality foundations, good soil is the lifeblood of a blooming garden. 

Plants require good soil to survive. Whether you want to decorate your garden with flowers or start growing your own vegetables, it’s important to ensure you’re working with the right kind of soil full of plenty of nutrients. For beginners, this Home Depot guide is a great place to get started on the difference in soil types. 

Prospective buyers who are serious about what their garden can achieve should consider getting the soil tested, although this may not be possible with the fast-moving nature of real estate. 

More realistically, you can run little tests yourself during viewings. Avoid heavy clay soil which may end up restricting the growth of your crops. You want to aim for consistency throughout the garden. 

The wrong soil type won’t completely rule out the opportunity to build the garden of your dreams, but settling for bad soil may diminish your chances of selling your house further down the line. It’s important to consider whether or not you’re ready to invest heavily in improving your garden or taking a chance on it harming your prices. 

The presence of trees

While it’s important to take stock of the surrounding plants in every garden you view, the presence of trees is an equally important point to take into consolidation. 

Trees are a great addition to any garden. You’ll never know how much you wanted one until you’re reaching for shade on a hot day. However, much like a home, their location is key to their success. 

Be alert of trees that are planted particularly close to your home or other buildings, such as a garage. You might consider this a quite beautiful feature, but some unwanted growth or a  more hazardous situation could end up costing you in repairs down the line. 

A tree’s roots branch out underneath the ground as it grows, which can seep into your property and damage the foundation of the house. Roots have been known to damage plumbing pipes and have a structural impact on walls and windows. If that sounds like an expensive fix, it’s because it is. 

The sight of an old oak at the end of your garden might fill you with dreams of summer shade and children playing in treehouses, but the reality is that, if not respected, they can inflict slow but costly damage on a house and become an expensive nuisance to remove. 

Which direction it’s facing

Location is everything when you’re house hunting, but have you taken the time to consider your house and garden’s place in the world to the finest detail?

The direction your garden is facing can have a significant impact on how enjoyable a bonus it can be and how bountiful your growth within it. 

Ideally, you want to secure a south-facing garden. They get more sunlight than a north-facing one, making it easier for your plants to grow and an ideal setting for summer nights hosting friends and family. 

Regardless of which way your house is facing though, you should be cautious of what is overlooking the garden. Being cast in the shadow of a neighbor’s house will reduce your capacity for sunlight, and ugly buildings at the end of the garden can make it a less than desirable spot for sunbathing. 

Is everything too good to be true?

The pressure to sell a house means that many homeowners will go to extreme lengths to make their property look more appealing  — particularly in their gardens. 

A garden is easier to spruce up than a house that’s had significant damage, so don’t let the presence of some nice greenery distract you from more significant issues that will come back to haunt you financially. 

By the same token, take the time to explore every inch of the garden if that’s your most crucial selling point. Are some sections overgrown? Do water sources highlight a potential flood risk? These are genuine concerns that shouldn’t be glossed over by a pretty facade. 

To avoid any issues, we recommend using a service such as RICS to find a property surveyor that specialises in houses with gardens. 

How to secure your dream garden

Securing your dream garden means securing the home attached to it. If you want to enjoy long days out in the back then it’s important to know how to win the best house….

Work with the right people 

If we’re honest with ourselves, there’s a lot about buying a property we don’t understand. 

Everyone has an idea of their dream home, but the realities of real estate are often confusing and unforgiving. It can be difficult to go it alone.

That’s why working with the right people is so important. From mortgage brokers to insurance providers, prospective buyers should look for people who have a strong understanding of the local area. 

Buyers dreaming of a future in Brantford, for example, should look to work with a Brantford mortgage broker such as Breezeful, rather than opting for a more generalized Canadian broker. Their advice will be tailored to the location and their knowledge of similar properties greater, helping to keep your dream alive. 

Have all your paperwork in order

Purchasing a house can be a slow and arduous process, especially if you’re doing due diligence and getting every inch (including the garden) checked by a professional. 

Nothing makes this process slower than not having your paperwork in order. In most cases, failure to have this ready in advance will outright rule you out of any chance of buying a house. 

Have a mortgage secured and surveyors ready to go. If you can prove you’re in the financial position to start buying, it’ll make both real estate professionals and sellers much more comfortable. 

Be quick off the mark

Unfortunately for considerate types, house hunting (and by association, garden hunting) is a game of speed. If you’re not prepared to put in quick offers and react to newly available properties you’re going to miss out every time. 

Condition yourself to expect disappointments while having a list of compromises you’re willing to make. For example, if you want a house with x, y and z but y isn’t as important, be willing to sign for the property offering the other x and z. 


A garden can be a blessing to your new home, but it comes with huge responsibility. 

Following these key points will help you land the garden of your dreams as part of your house hunting experience. Sometimes a plot of green can be too good to be true, but the dream spot for summer nights and home-grown veg might be just around the corner.


Sinead McLarty

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