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Garden revamp but worried about neighbours

(13 Posts)
siameseturkey Thu 11-Aug-16 10:19:51

Hello there,

We live in a small 3 bed house in London – two medium bedrooms and one tiny box room. I work from home and currently use one of the bigger bedrooms as my studio.

We've wanted to get the garden landscaped for a while (been here nearly 2 years)and were going to do it next spring. We are now considering knocking down the old brick garage and buying a garden studio and doing the whole project at once.

We have nearly 50K in savings and reckon the most we would want to spend on the garden, including studio, is 25K (although that does make me feel slightly ill!) My question this crazy?

Now some background...we are currently TTC and the box room would be fine for a baby/small child but we are thinking if we did the project it would free up the 2nd medium bedroom for visitors/child to move into/2nd child?! Ok, so we've not been successful yet with the TTC and I am in the 'older' age bracket too so this is not 100% guaranteed, we know. But would our savings be better kept for potential child/children and whatever the future might hold?

The other issue is that we are the one nice house in the middle of some fairly run down properties. I am worrying that we spend all that money on the garden and then encounter issues with neighbours and end up really regretting it or wanting to move in a few years. Most of the surrounding houses are rented with landlords abroad who don't care about the properties or maintain them and none of the tenants keep their gardens in a good state. The man next door to us owns his house and the house next door and uses both whole gardens as a tip (think he does rubbish clearance) and it is full of filing cabinets, fridges, desks, old get the picture! At the moment we can't see this as he has very big trees in the garden hiding it all...but come winter it looks flipping awful. The other day he chopped a lovely tree down bordering our fence which has made us a lot more exposed and we can also see more of his tip of a garden now which is very depressing. We don't have too many problems with this neighbour apart from his values are completely different to ours, which is frustrating. Oh and the occasional bonfire he likes to have.

As I say we were planning to re-do garden next year but since the tree has been chopped down we are thinking of just doing it this year to get that privacy back quicker. We really want a nice, private garden for us and for a potential family too.

Any thoughts gratefully received...I guess my main question is will we regret doing it? And is it silly to spend that much money when we're slightly unsure about neighbours?

Thank you for reading smile

Sprig1 Thu 11-Aug-16 12:36:13

I think it sounds like you are already probably approaching the ceiling price for your street and any money you spend on the garden will probably not be recouped if you sell. If you have no plans to move and this makes the house more suitable for your needs then this doesn't matter.

siameseturkey Thu 11-Aug-16 12:45:26

Thanks Sprig1...didn't think of the ceiling price but we know we may not make the money back when selling. Though we are in London, and there are some very expensive properties nearby! But it's worth considering...

YelloDraw Thu 11-Aug-16 15:50:40

Agreed it comes down to how much you like the house, how much you like the area, how long are you planning on staying there, how much will your every day life be improved by the garden studio. Also what is your scope for 'trading up' in the future if that is your plan - are you expecting salary rises?

In the grand scheme of things, £25k to free up a bedroom isn't a massive amount, so if you want to be there for the next 5 years then I'd go for it. You would still have £25k savings an you can tighten belt to get back some of the savings you'll spend before you go off on mat leave (good luck for TTC).

Go for the tallest boundary marker you can to hide next doors shit tip!

siameseturkey Thu 11-Aug-16 16:07:37

Ha ha, good thinking YelloDraw. And thanks for the good luck. We certainly like almost everything apart from the neighbours! And we know we could get dodgy neighbours anywhere.

It's just seems a lot of money to spend (even though we have it) but just need to get my head round that.

I think a loft conversion would be £45K plus?

AirsAndSpaces Thu 11-Aug-16 16:31:20

There is no way I would spend that much on the garden, even taking the studio into account. What else are you planning apart from the studio and what type of studio is it?

siameseturkey Thu 11-Aug-16 16:50:36

Well it would be a solid studio with large windows, electricity, internet, insulation...probably 6-8K plus installation. And we were going to have a garden designer to come up with proposals/drawing etc. The £25K figure is kind of an estimate as she hasn't been round yet. But we know a friend who was quoted £30K for a slightly larger garden than ours. If she oversees the entire project, does planting, garden lighting etc it does all add up. The other option is to get the drawings and then get someone else to do the work which would be cheaper but more of a risk and we would need to oversee it all and hire all the right people. Which is an option of course.

We did have a quote of £10K from a landscape gardener to redo the garden so could always get him to do it from her plans... once you add on the studio we could be nearer £20K.

I know what you mean's a hell of a lot. Hence the deliberating!

sall74 Thu 11-Aug-16 17:40:04

Sorry but £25k to landscape a garden and buy a glorified garden shed all in an area that sounds somewhat less than salubrious just sounds insane to me!

siameseturkey Thu 11-Aug-16 18:48:16

I think I've made it sound worse than it is...It's a good area with cafes and shops, 2 mins walk from train station to central London, nice neighbourhood...lots of nice houses and gardens but it's just this small section of 5 terraced houses (we're in the middle) on what is otherwise a nice road!

Still loads of money though, I know. Good to hear other's not something we'd bring up with our parents as they don't know about the TTC part.

UptheAnty Fri 12-Aug-16 13:24:55

We're currently spending money on our property at the moment.👋🏻 hello again Siamese smile

One of the reasons we're investing is because we know we're staying.

Will you want to stay in the property once you have a baby? Do you see your future in London in your current neighborhood?
If the answers yes then
You should make your house nice for you to make you happy and to create an environment that pleases you & your family regardless of the neighbors.

If you're unsure if you're invested in the property / neighborhood long term - I wouldn't.

ChrisNo Fri 12-Aug-16 14:26:55

Could you perhaps get some work done to the garden with the possibility of doing more in the future?

It's hard to know without seeing it, but perhaps you can get some basics done in terms of layout - and things that will make a difference to your privacy - but go for cheaper options in terms of planting and 'extras' such as lighting.

As others have said, the studio is something that you probably need to think of in terms of its value to you while you're still there rather than adding a lot to the property value. That said, lots of people would like the extra space.

PosiePootlePerkins Fri 12-Aug-16 14:56:22

I agree with Up. We have spent a LOT of money on our property over the 10 years we have been here, and still have 2 bathrooms, driveway and garden left to do. We've gradually transformed the place into the family home we want, and have been happy to do so because it is our forever home.
If you are thinking of selling up at some point I would do the bare minimum to make it acceptable to buyers, who will have their own ideas about the garden anyway. But if you plan to stay I would definitely spend it and create the home you love.

siameseturkey Fri 12-Aug-16 16:43:19

Thanks Posie, ChrisNo and UpTheAnty. Advice much appreciated.

We see our future in London and love the area we live in, it's so good for transport, community, cafes, good schools etc and we feel at home. We also love the house though it is quite small but I could see us here for at least another 5 years unless there are any major changes or issues with our neighbours. If (fingers crossed) we are successful TTC then I did see it as out first family home but perhaps not our 'forever' home.

We're not really doing the garden to add value, just want to make it nice for us! But of course value is always good. I was thinking it could be worth getting the house valued and seeing what a garden renovation would add anyway. And I'll take all your comments on board!

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