If you are in the market for a new home, you will likely start with the house itself in your thought process. Sit down together first to figure out what is most important to you and your family. Perhaps the person who does most of the cooking is dreaming of a big kitchen with stainless steel appliances and oak flooring. A view of the Rockies in the living room’s picture window might be important to someone else. House plans and activity level can be important if you are planning to retire there in a few years. Does the neighborhood seem safe and friendly? How about the school system if you have children?
A Broader Perspective
But when buying a house, try to broaden your perspective by shifting it to the outside. As retirement beckons, some couples want to turn their attention to gardening. Plans for growing asparagus and strawberries, along with several varieties of corn, will require space for a vegetable plot. A flower garden will provide gracious bouquets inside and stunning color combinations outside when planted en masse. Shade trees can provide welcome relief in hotter areas of the country.
Keeping all the various needs in mind, look for a yard that is big enough for all these dreams and needs. A yard might be ideal that has a garden spot with strong light for growing vegetables, and another area for shade-loving beauties like hostas and begonias. Proper irrigation is a common need for consistent, frequent watering, so ask if a sprinkling system has been installed.
You should also consider the soil itself. If the area you want to live in is known to have soil with a high clay density, for example, you might have to spend a lot of time tilling and amending the soil. Ask if the previous owner has already done so.
The right garden space and surrounding landscaping is a picture frame for the house itself. When talking to your real estate agent, be sure to mention the importance of a garden spot if that interests you. Lovely landscaping, mature trees in front, and a sunny back yard would appeal to many home buyers.
Lionel Redmon is a columnist and blogger who writes about real estate, gardening, and home improvement for popular blogs and webpages about health like this page.