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Much bigger house but much smaller garden?!

(22 Posts)
luciemule Sun 25-Oct-09 14:42:06

We have a bit of a dilema.
We've been living in our current 4 bed house with very large garden for 6 months but have owned it for almost 4 years. In April, we'll be in a position to either build a two storey extension here or move to a brand new, 3 storey home in the same pretty town but with a tiny garden. My DH is really up for moving as the price of the new home is amamzingly good value and we'd actually be spending less a month on the mortgage than we're paying now and he also thinks the stress of living here whilst doing an extension will be far greater than moving. (it would be our 9th move in 10 years (army family) We're used to moving house so that's not an issue. The main thing that's worrying me is the size of the garden on this new estate. The house we want to buy is a large, 5 bed detached but the garden is pokey. You could probably have a small decked area and a few pots and that's about it. DS could kick a ball about. Along the path, they'll create a playpark and the house would be backed on to by farmer's fields and a stream. We really need fmaily space to live but wondered if there was anyone living in a Bovis-tyope home with a very small garden and young children. How do you find it? Sorry for long waffley post!

thelunar66 Sun 25-Oct-09 14:51:47

Hmm well this is the question we asked ourselves about 3 years ago. We figured that we 'live' more indoors than out for most of the year. We did it and have no regrets at all. But my DC are teens.

I know someone with young DC who live in a new build with a lovely play park as part of the estate. She can see her DC playing from her kitchen window, so it is as good as having a huge garden, but without all the maintenance she would have to do if she owned it.

Elibean Sun 25-Oct-09 14:52:38

I don't live in one, but tbh personally I would prefer to stay put, keep the big garden and extend. But its a very personal thing.

Extending is definitely stressful (especially if it involves not having a kitchen for six months!) so I would only do it IF you know you can stay put for a good few years.

Elibean Sun 25-Oct-09 14:53:15

And, my dds are 3 and 6 - if they were teens, I wouldn't mind a smaller garden.

Earlybird Sun 25-Oct-09 14:55:17

Think alot of the new build houses are poor quality with shoddy materials that look nice initially but don't last. Also would want a reasonable garden with young children (how many have you got?). That way, they can be outside in garden without you (or dh) having to go with them to the playpark.

Also with new house, sounds as if you'd be living around a construction site for awhile as they build various facilities - not appealing to me.

luciemule Sun 25-Oct-09 14:58:51

hmm the extension would be kitchen and master bedroom on top, as well as making bathroom bigger. DH works away in the week so would only be there at w/es. Stress wise, moving seems easier.
lunar66 - our DCs would be 8 and 5 so getting old enough to pop to the park on their own (I too would be able to see them from window) and I'm sure will be playing out on bikes as it's at the end of the estate so no cars after our house.
Good to hear that your friend with young DCs doesn't regret it then.
The house we want is lvoely and spacious and it woul dmean we could family and friends to stay whcih we can't here at the moment as bed 4 isn't big enough for a double bed.

luciemule Sun 25-Oct-09 15:01:07

EB, the house we'd try to reserve would be one of the last ones built - they are selling then building as they go along and timing-wise, we think the one we want would be ready to release when we could afford it next April. It's currently a building site though and I think they've only sold 3 of the twenty odd homes so far.

ABatDead Sun 25-Oct-09 15:11:06

In some ways a sensible sized house with a small garden to sit in is quite a good idea. As our DSs get older we realise we need less garden but more room inside.and don't want to look fter a load of lawn and borders.

Unfortunately, what you may find is that anyone coming to buy it after you have done with it wil want a big garden if they have DCs. That is why it perhaps seems cheap.

MillyMollyMoo Sun 25-Oct-09 16:06:52

I moved from a georgian town house with a court yard garden in an amazing location to a suburban [yawn] semi with huge garden and we regretted it.
The kids are rarely in the blooming garden and it costs us £600 a year to sort it out as dh and i haven't a clue.
I think people need to be realistic as to how much time they have to maintain houses these days.

luciemule Sun 25-Oct-09 17:18:20

millymolly that's good to know - thought you were going to say you hated the courtyard garden and large georgian house! I've been telling DH about the replies and he agrees - we spend so much time outdoors (not in the garden) at country parks/woods/beach etc that even now when we do have a big garden, we rarely spend the day in it! MIL will go loopy - she loves gardening and I can't imagine what she'll say but tbh, I think I'll make a better job of a tiny garden as opposed to this large garden that we're forever pruning back!

Kayran Sun 25-Oct-09 17:29:01

Just a note of caution - we are in a diferent postion in that we own a very large five bedroom house with a small front and back garden. We bought it cheap because the families that wanted the space also wanted a bigger garden. We are an army family as well so have not lived in the house for the last 10 -12 years but have rented it out. For that purpose not having a really large garden has been good. However, when we come to sell it we will not get any where near the money the same house with a big garden would get. Unless you are moving to your 'forever' home the resale angle is one to consider - even if you ultimately decide that it is not important to have that outdoor space. (and if you can handle army moves with DHE and Whites the removals - you can absoloutely handle an extension grin )

SCARYspicemonster Sun 25-Oct-09 17:40:58

I think it really depends on how you feel about gardening as millymolly says. I'm a really keen (ex-pro) gardener so I'd hate to have a teeny garden (one of the things putting me off moving to the seaside) but lots of big houses (new builds, houses in towns) have small gardens for their size. As long as there's room to sit out and somewhere for kids to play nearby, I can't think most people would care that much. And how small is small? As long is it's about 30ft long, that's long enough for a game of kids football

luciemule Sun 25-Oct-09 17:44:24

heehee about DHE and Whites! The actual floor space and cupboard space etc isn't great though and at present, the kitchen is knocked through to the lounge and dining room so it feels like we're living in one room! We wouldn't be able to afford to extend the lounge and hall like we want to striaght away either and so will still be living at a compromise. Our last army garden was like a field; think DH never wants to mow a lawn that big again so he's really up for a garden the size of a handkerchief!

luciemule Sun 25-Oct-09 17:45:38

scary - not sure it's even 30ft long!

MillyMollyMoo Sun 25-Oct-09 18:21:36

But then our current garden is about 120' and I swear we're all too scarred to go to the bottom of it because of the 9' weeds.
We bought the kids an £8,000 play system that other kids play on when they come to visit but mine consider an eye sore.
Added to that the dog shites all over it and DH never seems to find all of it, i'd go back to the court yard tomorrow, expect we can't because that house has doubled in price due to location angry

Pannacotta Sun 25-Oct-09 19:31:53

I think it's a very personal choice, but I do agree with Kayran about the resale value.
Family houses with small gardens are often less popular than family houses with medium/large gardens, so you might well be limiting your market when it comes to selling on.

Earlybird Sun 25-Oct-09 20:02:01

Of course, how you live is a very personal choice.

Without seeing where you live now, a 4BR house seems a lot of room for a family of 4. Are you sure you want/need something bigger? Have you lived in your current place long enough to really get a feel for it as is?

<disclaimer> have lived mostly in the centre of big cities, where 4 BR houses a are huge investment and a luxury not many can afford.

I'd stay where you are, remodel a bit to customise and make the place special, and then invest your upcoming April windfall in some other way (pension, lump sum toward paying down the mortgage, etc).

<disclaimer #2> am very cautious about spending 'big' money in this economy when everything feels so uncertain.

luciemule Sun 25-Oct-09 20:12:42

Think we're a bit down as our army quarters were so roomy and had so much storage space and we always felt a bit negative towards such large gardens to upkeep but that weren't actually our's iyswim. The house we're in now is a 1970s house but where the previous owner had bodged his way through the last 20 odd years and so now, the house seems to have such a lot wrong with it and I don't get good, relaxed feeling being here. I think the bigger house is an indulgence but DH has worked hard and if we stayed here, wed have to spend more than the cost of the extension replacing windows etc.
Think some of you have now convinced me that a big garden doesn't always get used.

mooki Mon 26-Oct-09 12:20:17

I agree that we don't use all of our current garden - about 60' and we view it as more of a chore to maintain than enjoy. We are trying to buy a place which has more room but about half the garden and think that will be fine as we're going to be about 2 mins away from a country park.

However, we have seen houses with even smaller gardens and the thing which has put me off is that then the other houses do seem very close by. Will it mean you have someone else less than 30 ft away from your back windows?

So I'd say do it if it doesn't make the plot seem overshadowed or too close to the public/rights of way...

Rollmops Mon 26-Oct-09 12:30:37

My darling parents have a farmhouse with a maahoooosive garden and a mahooosive veggie garden on top of it, total walled/fenced area is 5 acres shock. There are zillion fruit trees and bushes of berries and other edibles also many flower beds and numerous barns etc, but the sheer area of lawn that has to be mowed is still mind bogling. When DH visited the first time, he was gagging to have a go at it but after 6 straight hours even the lawnmower size of a combine harvester (with a 'refreshment truck' attached to it), had lost its magic and there was grumble-grumble and aching joints after that.
But our DTs looooved it....... It was their very own kingdom. So I am in two minds, it takes a lot of time and commitment to keep a large garden. We have a rather small one but it's absolutely filled with roses so still quite a bit of work.sad

luciemule Mon 26-Oct-09 12:56:24

The plot (there are 2 similar) we like will be at the bottom of the estate, overlooking fields and not being overlooked by other properties. The play park would also be just in front of the fields so out of the way and no vehicles accessing as in other bits higher up estate. There are only about 20 or so houses being built in total so not hugely busy either.
Phoned Bovis today and she said they were hoping to start building the others in the new year as at the moment, they are only building ones they sell first. We've never bought a new house before but we're having our's valued on Saturday and will tell estate agent to put us on the books as keen to reserve a plot (think that's what she suggested). I'll be so sad if someone else reserves those two before we do!

luciemule Wed 28-Oct-09 16:10:42

Have actually just read some awful things about the house compnay who are building them so have now gone off the idea. Problems on moving in with flues, wiring, drainage etc. We wnated to move into anew home so there weren't any problems!
Now I'm wondering whether we could knock down our existing house and just rebuild with a timber frame design for a fraction of cost - anyone know if it has to look the same as all others on estate?

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