The Times, 17/05/19

The risks of Chelsea Flower Show garden envy

Quoting Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Finders

The show is glorious but don’t get carried away by horticultural one-upmanship

Rachel Johnston of Stacks buying agency says: “After Chelsea people can get a bit carried away about how much garden they really want or can cope with. They view a house whose lawn looks immaculate, but don’t seem to grasp that the grass has just been cut and will need to be mown again tomorrow. People have to ask themselves whether they wish to spend a day a week taking care of the garden or are willing to pay someone else to ensure that it stays looking beautiful. Cultivating a rosebed takes knowledge.”

Johnston also points out that a family moving out of the city may be drawn to a large garden in which their children can run riot, but as soon as the children become teenagers their social time is spent elsewhere.

The irrational exuberance caused by the sight of the water features and outdoor kitchens of Chelsea can be so powerful that Johnston recommends shopping for a home in mid-November. “If you can fall in love with a house during the winter, you will love it even more in the spring and summer.”

However, Johnston says that the size of the garden does matter when choosing a property — and may be key when you come to sell. She has several tried-and-tested rules based on location. “A six-bedroom rural house should have an acre of garden, a five-bedroom house should have three quarters of an acre and a four-bedroom house should have half an acre,” she says.

In urban areas different yardsticks apply. Houses in inner suburbs need a patch of outdoor space for entertaining; in outer suburbs, or on the edge of villages, the garden should have an area equivalent to the square footage of the property. Whatever their size, the best gardens “wrap around the property on three or four sides”.

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