5 Potential Garden Warning Signs When Buying Property

common garden warning signs

If you’re looking for a new home, you’ve probably got a mental list of all of the things you want. Whether you’re looking for a second property for yourself to live or rent out, the garden has the ability to make or break a home.

Before you can start to think of relaxing on garden benches or playing games with friends and children, you might want to look out for these five nuisances.

Large Plants and Trees

As great a sight as plants and trees can be, they can also pose problems further down the line. In the most severe of cases, large trees with lengthy roots can destabilise the foundations of a building.

As a general rule of thumb, roots are at least as long as the tree branches so any within close proximity of a building could potentially be growing beneath, or through, the foundations. This can cause cracks and damage to drainage systems. They can also take moisture from the ground resulting in soils being less supportive of foundations and potential subsidence.

If you’re having an inspection carried out before buying, any potential problems should be highlighted and relevant measures taken and decisions made.

Check the Sun

One thing that many homeowners wished they’d checked before they bought is sun patterns. It may sound a little strange but having a garden that invites the sun can really add appeal to your home, whether you’re renting it out or living there yourself.

With a bit of research into sun patterns, it’s possible to maximise comfort and enjoyment. Remember, seasonal changes could have an impact, too.

If you’re looking in the autumn or winter, there may be naked trees that can potentially block the sun once leaves have grown back.

Seasonal Plants

Looking at a garden in the summer, there’s probably a whole host of colourful and appealing flowers and plants. The majority of these will likely be gone by the time the colder weather kicks in, totally transforming the look and feel of the garden, not usually for the better.

Remember that to get that look back, you (or a tenant) will need to find a way to replant seeds. In fact, given the sometimes lengthy buying process, you could end up losing the garden before purchase has been completed.


Depending on who is going to be living in the home, the layout of the garden may be an important factor. If you are going to live in the property yourself and have children, or want to rent it out and don’t mind having children living there, some garden features may not be suitable.

Stone steps, uneven turf, large concrete areas and plants with thorns can all be on the hazardous side for younger children.

Look for Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed may look harmless but can ultimately end your pursuit of a property. Some lenders might even refuse to provide a mortgage if the plant is found to be present either on or around the property.

The Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors has stated that there isn’t sufficient enough evidence to accurately determine the potential damage that Japanese knotweed can bring, meaning mortgage valuations can often be unfair.

Lenders somewhat relaxed their policies based on the RICS’ statement but they are still pretty strict.

What Next?

With a thorough check of the garden, your decision on whether or not to go through with a purchase might be made.

Most problems won’t require too much time and effort. You’ll be able to get to work on decorating with wooden benches, patio sets and ornaments as soon as it’s done.

If you find something that’s going to set you back a fair bit, however, it may be time to look elsewhere.


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