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HELP I have taken on a garden with issues!

(9 Posts)
pickles184 Sat 17-Oct-15 20:06:02

Please could I have some help from you knowledgeable gardeners for my new rented house. When I went to look round the property the grass was pretty overgrown and there were several weed areas causing trouble, especially around the trees, but the letting agent assured me that it would be sorted ready for us moving in.
Deposit is all paid and we're due to move on Friday, went to have a look around this afternoon and they have cut the grass..

What the overgrown grass was hiding could pass for the aftermath of the ww trenches, there is not one patch of even ground, there are potholes, ruts, serious trenches and there is no way you would let children run on it for fear of broken bones. On top of that of the 5 trees in the garden only one looks healthy and all have been taken over completely with ivy and the weed issue is large areas that have been allowed to become fully mature.

I am not a gardener, I love nice gardens, but lack the time, energy and skill to have a beautiful garden. I am more than capable of keeping lawns cared for and keeping on top of the average weed infestation and can manage a couple of pots and a small bed of plants. In theory this garden should of fit the bill, aside from the trees it is just grass can't call it a lawn with a straight face.
It is a pretty large size being approximately 60×20m at the back and another 8x10m at the front.

Being realistic how much mantime/cost am I looking at to level the ground and reseed? I am hoping that I convince the estate office to do something proper with the weeds and possibly removing the sick trees, but if they refuse where do I stand with tree felling?

WelliesAndPyjamas Sat 17-Oct-15 20:11:24

Are you expected to look after the garden? If so, can you find out exactly how much you are allowed to change and anything that still leaves it unsafe, they can rectify or take responsibility for injuries?

pickles184 Sat 17-Oct-15 20:49:28

According to the contract I am required to keep the grass cut and weeds under control, removing trees or any other permanent fixture has to be with written permission. I know that if a tree surgeon condemns them they will have no issue agreeing to felling the trees, but I am not convinced it should be left to me to foot the bill?
This is supposed to be a long term let, I really want it to be the place my children grow up. I may still be able to negotiate with the estate office about who does what and who foots the bill etc.. but could do with knowing where to start if that makes sense?

Ferguson Sat 17-Oct-15 22:29:59

If you contact tree surgeons they will often give a free quotation I think, just as any builder, decorator or electrician would - not necessarily a firm, written quote, but at least some indication of costs and what is involved. However, I suppose they might react differently with it being a rented property - I don't know, I'm just speculating.

I suppose if the ground is REALLY so uneven it could be considered dangerous for children, then the landlord might be responsible for improving it on 'health & safety' reasons. If you have a local Citizens Advice Bureau, or some Councils have advice centres, then try and get advice there. Is it a private landlord, or is a larger letting company?

At least these days I think Renting has more robust regulations than there used to be years ago.

Does Dominic Littlewood have a web site, or you could enquire via the TV company that does his shows: yes, here's a link but he is too busy to give personal advice; hardly surprising really!

Your local Council web site might be a more realistic place to start.

pickles184 Sat 17-Oct-15 23:11:34

Thank you I will check those out.

The property is owned and managed by a large private estate who employ their own maintenance team. They have been good about sorting out some other things I raised, but I know these things can change once you've handed over money so will definitely check the legal requirements.

I'm not exaggerating the element of risk and I'm not generally precious about them falling over through not looking where they're going etc.. It is just so pitted that anything faster than a walk would be asking for trouble, in part because a lawn mower isn't capable of cutting in to the deeper dips and so the grass hides them until your feet find them. The trenches are probably less hazardous as they are more obvious, its the disguised egg box effect that is the biggest risk factor.
What on earth would cause ground to become so badly rutted, it doesn't seem to match any animal type damage I've ever seen?

As a short term fix would filling in all holes with grit/sand/topsoil and then overseeding be a reasonable option?

bowsaw Sun 18-Oct-15 09:59:26

they should be leaving it in the condition they want it back, make them get a gardener in a for a few hours soon to whip it in shape,

Leeza2 Sun 18-Oct-15 17:58:39

Is there good access for a tractor ? Sounds like you need ground workers rather than Gardener .

I'm assuming they strrimmed the grass rather than grass rather than cut it with a mower ?

I'm guessing they have done some type of ground work , such as laying drains , and not restored the garden afterwards

Do you have a septic tank or oil tank in the garden ?

shovetheholly Sun 18-Oct-15 19:13:51

It sounds like it's either never been levelled, or has been churned up by heavy vehicles (tractors etc).

Are you able to get a posse together and put in a bit of work over a weekend?

If so, I'd say you're in a strong negotiating position with the owners/managers. You could ask them to buy a topsoil mix for turf to fill in these ruts (this is the expensive bit) and then you guys can shovel it onto the soil, tamp it down, level it, and seed a new lawn. This is heavy work but it is by no means unachievable for a reasonably fit person. I think if this is a serious, long term house for you and your family it will be well worth doing.

Bear in mind that you don't need to sort out the whole thing right at the start. This sounds like a long term house for you, so maybe start with a lawn (next spring?) and then clear the other weed-ridden areas gradually, as and when you feel able.

Like any big job, it's more manageable if you chunk it up and deal with one bit at a time!

bowsaw Wed 21-Oct-15 07:21:32

for the lawn rotivate it now before winter, stay off and let the frost get in and break it down, then work it when it dries and warms in the spring and seed

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