Gardens in rented property can be a tricky thing to navigate for both landlords and tenants. Not everyone enjoys gardening so leaving the responsibility of maintaining an outdoor space to a tenant can be a bit of a risk.
Equally, gardens are a big part of a home and whether you’re renting or not, the majority of people will want somewhere nice to sit out when the sun shines. You’d like to think that the nicer you present the garden of your rental, the more your tenants will take pride in it and spend some time keeping it maintained.
Whose responsibility is it anyway?
If a landlord is going to provide a garden, they need to take responsibility for a few key elements. These include anything where there is a level of expertise required such as pruning tall trees, maintaining areas of a garden that would be unreasonable for a tenant to undertake such as a pond, and when a tenant has reported an issue with the garden that isn’t their fault, such as a rotting fence.
Landlords with a particularly large garden or multiple properties with gardens may choose to hire a gardener to keep things in good condition. This might mean charging your tenants a little extra but they will be able to enjoy a lovely garden in return.
Whatever you decide to do, ensure that you’re undertaking regular inspections to highlight any issues or problems within the garden that need attention in plenty of time. It’s a good idea to take photos of the garden before the tenancy, so you can compare at the end. Allow for fair wear and tear but if anything looks to be damaged such as plant pots, furniture or a garden gate, then you may be able to deduct money for the repairs from your tenants deposit. It’s also important to make sure you compare landlord insurance policies to ensure you have the right cover in place in case you do experience damages or neglect in the garden.
Designing the right type of garden
So, what does and doesn’t work well in rental property gardens? There’s definitely a few do’s and don’ts to give your garden the best chance at being well maintained. Open flower beds are fine as long as they can be maintained but sleepers and potted plants might be a better and easier option. They are easy to water and it’s unlikely that anything will need regular replanting. Go for hardy, perennial plants if possible such as hardy Geraniums, spring bulbs and big Hydrangeas plus herbs that tenants can enjoy. It’s also a good idea to think about how realistic it is to keep a lawn maintained. Lawns obviously require regular upkeep which a lot of tenants may not want to contend with. Tenants may also have pets who might dig or use the lawn so there are other options such as gravel and then pretty pots on top which is durable, practical and make a nice outdoor living area for garden furniture, firepits and BBQs. The area can be dressed up and styled with potted plants, solar lighting and outdoor ornaments.
Tenants sprucing up their rented garden
If you’re a tenant looking for a few ways to make your rather basic rented property garden feel a little more like home, there’s plenty of low-cost hacks you can make use of to improve it’s look and feel. Firstly, it’s a good idea to decide exactly how you want to use and enjoy your outdoor space. Do you envision lounging and reading books all afternoon? Is it somewhere you want to host friends for parties? Or do you want somewhere to dine al fresco in the evenings?
Whatever it is, this will determine the best way to organise and arrange the space. Lounging and living areas need to be comfortable, so invest in an outdoor sofa or two and plenty of cushions and blankets for the cosy factor. To bring the indoors outdoors, you could incorporate an outdoor rug into your living space. This will add colour, texture and interest onto any large expanses of patio that perhaps might not be to your taste, and will allow you to bring a bit of your personal style to the garden.
You’ll probably want some atmospheric lighting if you’re planning on enjoying your garden in the evenings. Twinkly fairy lights are the perfect solution and certainly look the part, but you might also want something a little more substantial such as wall mounted solar lights and free-standing lanterns.
And when it comes to potted plants and adding a bit of life into your garden, why just focus on the ground? Vertical planters are a great way to make more use of your space - dimension is so important for a well-rounded space and adding a bit of height is the best way to achieve this. You could opt for wall-mounted grid planters or ladder style planters for something a little different.
Now more than ever, gardens are an important element of any home. Every garden will require some level of maintenance but it’s something that both a landlord and a tenant should take pride in. The reward of having a beautiful outdoor space to relax in will always be worth it!
Image credit: benjaminjohnelliot via Unsplash