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  • Buy-to-Let

    Gardens and interiors

    Thanks to all who supported and encouraged on my first BMV property which completed yesterday!
    On a more general note, it raises a question about an issue that I have not yet encountered on any of our other properties. This is a terraced house with a small courtyard garden to the rear, bordered by low raised beds (no grass). The previous owner obviously loved the garden, has left some lovely plants and the area is pretty. However, the planting is not low maintenance. I am torn between leaving it as it is and hoping for a garden-loving tenant, and removing the plants and replacing them with attractive but low-maint alternatives. Employing a gardener is not practical because the only access would be through the house.
    All of our other properties either have no garden, or the gardens are laid entirely to lawn.
    Does anyone have any experience of garden planting?
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    This is an issue I had to consider when I moved into my main residence. My 'garden' is a massive 12' X 11', yes I do mean feet, so not exactly in competition with Kew. The previous owner obviously had a keen interest in all things horticultural since the perimeter was brimming with flowers. Initially I thought about leaving the flowers in place, mainly because I only intend to stay here for a short while, but that idea quickly passed once I remembered my ongoing war with pollen.
    Easy decision in the end, I just ripped the plants out of the ground, laid some black plastic down and tiled over. One table, four chairs and Bob Thrower's your uncle, lovely! (Bob is Percy’s younger brother :-)
    Maintenance heaven!
    Marcus.
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    I would leave the plants in place. If the next tenant takes care of them, great. If they die and otherwise start to look bad change the garden when the tenant moves out.
    It likely will show well with plants so that is a plus right now.
    John Corey
    https://www.ChelseaPrivateEquity.com/blog
    Follow me on Twitter -> https://www.twitter.com/john_corey
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    John Corey 


    I host the London Real Estate Meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month since 2005. If you have never been before, email me for the 'new visitor' link.

    PropertyFortress.com/Events

    Also happy to chat on the phone. Pay It Forward; my way of giving back through sharing. Click on the link: PropertyFortress.com/Ask-John to book a time. I will call you at the time you selected. Nothing to buy. Just be prepared with your questions so we can use the 20 minutes wisely.

    You could put landscape membrane down and bark or slate chippings or just a thick layer of bark. That suppresses the weeds and should leave you/tenants with with pruning only.

    Angela
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    Hello Jayne,
    I am the gardener in the tribe. I've been landscaping gardens for 20+ years (ex member of the Royal Horticultural Society etc) and I'm planning at some point down the line to offer a gardening service aimed at the needs of professional landlords (my other current life is a business transformation specialist).
    This afternoon I've actually been laying out a friend's garden and helping them source plants for a fantastic low-maintenance garden I owed them as a favour for looking after mine on our many trips to Cyprus.
    Feel free to contact me: tigeraqua@me.com
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    Jayne,
    Congratulations on completion of your purchase!
    My instinct would be to leave the garden. It's an asset to the house IMHO. You can ask the incoming tenant if they wish to maintain it. If not, you can arrange with them permission for a gardener to visit every couple of months.
    Again, this will rely on a good relationship with your tenant, which is what we advocate for precisely these kind of reasons.
    If it becomes an issue, then you may have to consider a more practical option, as others have suggested. It does sound like a nice feature though, and may be a USP for the house.
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    Hi Jayne,
    I am a garden designer, craftsman gardener (Cannington College) and horticulturalist. As far as property investment is concerned, I am a novice. What a great question, though. If you would like to send me digital photographs of the plants you have, I could give you fairly specific advice. I would recommend you take a good set of photographs of the garden anyway, in all it's pristine glory, and try specifically marketing the house in post office windows locally - your photos would 'sell' it, without a doubt. If you get several people contacting you, then most likely the person who expresses the keenest interest in the garden is likely to be your longest-serving tenant, who looks after the whole property the best out of everyone: if they care that much about plants, they'll also care that much about their home, one thinks.
    You may well have a 'marketing niche' opportunity by offering your house to a garden lover. People are motivated to make use of a garden in many different ways. I can talk to you about this on a separate occasion, perhaps. I feel that this aspect could best be addressed within a separate thread in its own right - and others may well have plenty to say about this, too.
    Sometimes people want to keep a dog or other pets in a garden. This might be the garden's best use from your point of view as owner/investor, as you could get a very loyal tenant, paying a premium, this way.
    Here are a few specific thoughts for you to consider:
    The best times to move plants are autumn and spring (in that order) as then they recover best from the damage and stress of being moved, and need the minimum of 'nursing'.
    It can make sense to lift certain plants, plant them in a pot, box or tray (plastic, wooden or other), and re-bury or part re-bury them in the same ground they came out from. This makes them portable. In situ, they get bigger and become more valuable as a result (especially perennials).
    Most likely, certain plants in the borders you mention would be best removed, and others left.
    The most valuable use for surplus garden plants, to my mind, is to offer them as gifts to those who would value them for what they are. You could consider using them in bartering, too.
    In my own case, I allocate special propagating areas in my own garden and other land I use, for growing on surplus garden plants which I can recycle later. If I am renovating someone's garden, for example, it is helpful to have a supply of garden plants to hand for creating an 'instant' effect, which can be impossible to achieve if one were to try to buy plants in.
    As a rough guide, allocate a value of £1 per square foot of boxed up garden plants if you are using them in these ways. They need no special treatment - just fill the box with garden soil and freshly-dug plants, cut down the foliage of the plants you place in these boxes (to prevent fast drying out), put in a sheltered place, and take steps to prevent them drying up (mulch them, for a start, with grass clippings, newspaper, plastic, bark chip, stones, anything at all).
    I regularly collect up old tomato boxes, plastic vegetable trays, and polystyrene boxes from greengrocers and fishmongers locally as season-long makeshift, robust, free, plant containers for this kind of purpose.
    Many garden plants produce flowers (and foliage) which are good for cutting. This might be of use to you.
    Many established gardens contain scores of bulbs. These are easy to move of course, and are worth 5p - 10p each, even if you use them somewhere else, or barter them.
    You can let many plants propagate themselves and produce scores of offspring, simply by spreading coarse sand underneath them, which seeds fall into and then germinate. You can have shallow trays hidden under the sand, so the whole trayfull of seedlings can be quickly picked up and removed when ready.
    You could contact the local WI or gardening club, and offer your plants for free to anyone who would like to remove them, in return for their leaving the garden tidy for you. This could lead you directly to a good tenant, by the way.
    Consider whether the erection of any of these structures would add value: lockable shed, large weather-proof storage box, pergola, shade canopy, retractable drying line, or linhay.
    Erection of a framework with clear plastic roofing is cheap and easy to do. The weather protection this provides can serve as extra rentable space - enclosing an outside storage area, for example, or a utility room.
    Planning permission is not needed for free-standing structures in your garden if no more than 50% of the garden space is covered by them. Neither is pp needed for any structure which is not entirely weather-proof (so, for example, you can create a large area sheltered from rain - think in terms of an outdoor 'room', storage space, utility room, etc).
    Raised beds are good for growing vegetables, herbs and cut flower material. These can belong to you or your tenant. All have value. If you mulch the beds, with natural or man-made materials, little if any maintenance is required; particularly with certain kinds of plants (which I can advise you about if you wish).
    A pond liner (often available for free in a local area), even a small one, acts as a water reservoir for irrigation by gravity (use a siphon and/or micro-irrigation tubing) if set up on the highest point of your raised beds. It can be kept continually filled automatically by a pipe feeding in from the gutter of any roof space (a shed, for example)
    Have a look a YouTube videos on 'square foot gardening' for an idea of how productive a small space can be.
    There is a lot more that could be said on this subject, but I trust this gives you something to go on.
    Brian
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    Brian, thanks for such a comprehensive reply, your help and some really good ideas.
    Thank you to everyone who has replied. All the comments here have been valuable, and have helped me come to the conclusion to leave the plants in situ for now. When we have a tenant and they have settled in, I'll review it with them in the autumn, and remove the plants if they want an easier maintenance area.
    Now all we need to do is find a home for the outgoing turquoise bathroom suite and burgundy loo ....
    Brian Heath said:
    Hi Jayne,I am a garden designer, craftsman gardener (Cannington College) and horticulturalist. As far as property investment is concerned, I am a novice. What a great question, though. If you would like to send me digital photographs of the plants you have, I could give you fairly specific advice. I would recommend you take a good set of photographs of the garden anyway, in all it's pristine glory, and try specifically marketing the house in post office windows locally - your photos would 'sell' it, without a doubt. If you get several people contacting you, then most likely the person who expresses the keenest interest in the garden is likely to be your longest-serving tenant, who looks after the whole property the best out of everyone: if they care that much about plants, they'll also care that much about their home, one thinks.You may well have a 'marketing niche' opportunity by offering your house to a garden lover. People are motivated to make use of a garden in many different ways. I can talk to you about this on a separate occasion, perhaps. I feel that this aspect could best be addressed within a separate thread in its own right - and others may well have plenty to say about this, too.Sometimes people want to keep a dog or other pets in a garden. This might be the garden's best use from your point of view as owner/investor, as you could get a very loyal tenant, paying a premium, this way.Here are a few specific thoughts for you to consider:The best times to move plants are autumn and spring (in that order) as then they recover best from the damage and stress of being moved, and need the minimum of 'nursing'.It can make sense to lift certain plants, plant them in a pot, box or tray (plastic, wooden or other), and re-bury or part re-bury them in the same ground they came out from. This makes them portable. In situ, they get bigger and become more valuable as a result (especially perennials).Most likely, certain plants in the borders you mention would be best removed, and others left.The most valuable use for surplus garden plants, to my mind, is to offer them as gifts to those who would value them for what they are. You could consider using them in bartering, too.In my own case, I allocate special propagating areas in my own garden and other land I use, for growing on surplus garden plants which I can recycle later. If I am renovating someone's garden, for example, it is helpful to have a supply of garden plants to hand for creating an 'instant' effect, which can be impossible to achieve if one were to try to buy plants in.As a rough guide, allocate a value of £1 per square foot of boxed up garden plants if you are using them in these ways. They need no special treatment - just fill the box with garden soil and freshly-dug plants, cut down the foliage of the plants you place in these boxes (to prevent fast drying out), put in a sheltered place, and take steps to prevent them drying up (mulch them, for a start, with grass clippings, newspaper, plastic, bark chip, stones, anything at all).I regularly collect up old tomato boxes, plastic vegetable trays, and polystyrene boxes from greengrocers and fishmongers locally as season-long makeshift, robust, free, plant containers for this kind of purpose.Many garden plants produce flowers (and foliage) which are good for cutting. This might be of use to you.Many established gardens contain scores of bulbs. These are easy to move of course, and are worth 5p - 10p each, even if you use them somewhere else, or barter them.You can let many plants propagate themselves and produce scores of offspring, simply by spreading coarse sand underneath them, which seeds fall into and then germinate. You can have shallow trays hidden under the sand, so the whole trayfull of seedlings can be quickly picked up and removed when ready.You could contact the local WI or gardening club, and offer your plants for free to anyone who would like to remove them, in return for their leaving the garden tidy for you. This could lead you directly to a good tenant, by the way.Consider whether the erection of any of these structures would add value: lockable shed, large weather-proof storage box, pergola, shade canopy, retractable drying line, or linhay.Erection of a framework with clear plastic roofing is cheap and easy to do. The weather protection this provides can serve as extra rentable space - enclosing an outside storage area, for example, or a utility room.Planning permission is not needed for free-standing structures in your garden if no more than 50% of the garden space is covered by them. Neither is pp needed for any structure which is not entirely weather-proof (so, for example, you can create a large area sheltered from rain - think in terms of an outdoor 'room', storage space, utility room, etc).Raised beds are good for growing vegetables, herbs and cut flower material. These can belong to you or your tenant. All have value. If you mulch the beds, with natural or man-made materials, little if any maintenance is required; particularly with certain kinds of plants (which I can advise you about if you wish).A pond liner (often available for free in a local area), even a small one, acts as a water reservoir for irrigation by gravity (use a siphon and/or micro-irrigation tubing) if set up on the highest point of your raised beds. It can be kept continually filled automatically by a pipe feeding in from the gutter of any roof space (a shed, for example)Have a look a YouTube videos on 'square foot gardening' for an idea of how productive a small space can be.There is a lot more that could be said on this subject, but I trust this gives you something to go on.Brian
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    Good decision, Jayne.
    If you want to be really trendy, perch the bath and loo out in the garden, fill with flowers and trailing plants, (or turn them into miniature ponds with fountains), take lots of photographs, and contact the local press with a drafted editorial script,
    "Chic contemporary garden, a hidden gem in the midst of local terraced housing drabness, available to rent to the most trendy of tenants in .... Jayne Owen, local home owner, passionate about anything living, is looking for an exceptionally keen garden lover for her lonely house, which is surrounded on all sides by terraced drabness".
    You might not get a tenant, and you might not get a higher rent - but you will get a lot of smiles and goodwill where you are Smile
    Brian
    Jayne Owen said:
    Brian, thanks for such a comprehensive reply, your help and some really good ideas.
    Thank you to everyone who has replied. All the comments here have been valuable, and have helped me come to the conclusion to leave the plants in situ for now. When we have a tenant and they have settled in, I'll review it with them in the autumn, and remove the plants if they want an easier maintenance area.
    Now all we need to do is find a home for the outgoing turquoise bathroom suite and burgundy loo ....
    Brian Heath said:
    Hi Jayne,I am a garden designer, craftsman gardener (Cannington College) and horticulturalist. As far as property investment is concerned, I am a novice. What a great question, though. If you would like to send me digital photographs of the plants you have, I could give you fairly specific advice. I would recommend you take a good set of photographs of the garden anyway, in all it's pristine glory, and try specifically marketing the house in post office windows locally - your photos would 'sell' it, without a doubt. If you get several people contacting you, then most likely the person who expresses the keenest interest in the garden is likely to be your longest-serving tenant, who looks after the whole property the best out of everyone: if they care that much about plants, they'll also care that much about their home, one thinks.You may well have a 'marketing niche' opportunity by offering your house to a garden lover. People are motivated to make use of a garden in many different ways. I can talk to you about this on a separate occasion, perhaps. I feel that this aspect could best be addressed within a separate thread in its own right - and others may well have plenty to say about this, too.Sometimes people want to keep a dog or other pets in a garden. This might be the garden's best use from your point of view as owner/investor, as you could get a very loyal tenant, paying a premium, this way.Here are a few specific thoughts for you to consider:The best times to move plants are autumn and spring (in that order) as then they recover best from the damage and stress of being moved, and need the minimum of 'nursing'.It can make sense to lift certain plants, plant them in a pot, box or tray (plastic, wooden or other), and re-bury or part re-bury them in the same ground they came out from. This makes them portable. In situ, they get bigger and become more valuable as a result (especially perennials).Most likely, certain plants in the borders you mention would be best removed, and others left.The most valuable use for surplus garden plants, to my mind, is to offer them as gifts to those who would value them for what they are. You could consider using them in bartering, too.In my own case, I allocate special propagating areas in my own garden and other land I use, for growing on surplus garden plants which I can recycle later. If I am renovating someone's garden, for example, it is helpful to have a supply of garden plants to hand for creating an 'instant' effect, which can be impossible to achieve if one were to try to buy plants in.As a rough guide, allocate a value of £1 per square foot of boxed up garden plants if you are using them in these ways. They need no special treatment - just fill the box with garden soil and freshly-dug plants, cut down the foliage of the plants you place in these boxes (to prevent fast drying out), put in a sheltered place, and take steps to prevent them drying up (mulch them, for a start, with grass clippings, newspaper, plastic, bark chip, stones, anything at all).I regularly collect up old tomato boxes, plastic vegetable trays, and polystyrene boxes from greengrocers and fishmongers locally as season-long makeshift, robust, free, plant containers for this kind of purpose.Many garden plants produce flowers (and foliage) which are good for cutting. This might be of use to you.Many established gardens contain scores of bulbs. These are easy to move of course, and are worth 5p - 10p each, even if you use them somewhere else, or barter them.You can let many plants propagate themselves and produce scores of offspring, simply by spreading coarse sand underneath them, which seeds fall into and then germinate. You can have shallow trays hidden under the sand, so the whole trayfull of seedlings can be quickly picked up and removed when ready.You could contact the local WI or gardening club, and offer your plants for free to anyone who would like to remove them, in return for their leaving the garden tidy for you. This could lead you directly to a good tenant, by the way.Consider whether the erection of any of these structures would add value: lockable shed, large weather-proof storage box, pergola, shade canopy, retractable drying line, or linhay.Erection of a framework with clear plastic roofing is cheap and easy to do. The weather protection this provides can serve as extra rentable space - enclosing an outside storage area, for example, or a utility room.Planning permission is not needed for free-standing structures in your garden if no more than 50% of the garden space is covered by them. Neither is pp needed for any structure which is not entirely weather-proof (so, for example, you can create a large area sheltered from rain - think in terms of an outdoor 'room', storage space, utility room, etc).Raised beds are good for growing vegetables, herbs and cut flower material. These can belong to you or your tenant. All have value. If you mulch the beds, with natural or man-made materials, little if any maintenance is required; particularly with certain kinds of plants (which I can advise you about if you wish).A pond liner (often available for free in a local area), even a small one, acts as a water reservoir for irrigation by gravity (use a siphon and/or micro-irrigation tubing) if set up on the highest point of your raised beds. It can be kept continually filled automatically by a pipe feeding in from the gutter of any roof space (a shed, for example)Have a look a YouTube videos on 'square foot gardening' for an idea of how productive a small space can be.There is a lot more that could be said on this subject, but I trust this gives you something to go on.Brian
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    Brian, you are a ray of sunshine, as always! Love your recycling idea. Thank you for making me smile! x
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    Well, somebody said that property investment should be fun. So should having a bath outside be, come to that Smile
    I think we'd better draw the line there, though
    Vanessa said:
    Brian, you are a ray of sunshine, as always! Love your recycling idea. Thank you for making me smile! x
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