How to get your garden ready for the warmer months

Coronavirus: Everything landlords need to know - guide linkHigh temperatures and bright sunshine – spring is most definitely upon us. This is usually an ideal time for landlords to inspect all of their properties for damage caused by a cold, wet UK winter, as well as any general wear and tear. Gardens in particular need to be checked and refreshed at this time of year to ensure they are ready for any viewings so that tenants can make the most of their outside space come summer. 

Given the restrictions on movement caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, landlords are currently unable to visit properties except to carry out emergency maintenance. This means that the usual spring garden maintenance jobs are likely to pile up, and important jobs could be missed off the list once we get back to something close to normal.  

Here’s everything landlords will need to tackle post lockdown to ensure rental property gardens are ready for the remainder of the year. 

 

Clear garden debris

Broken branches and leaves tend to build up considerably over the winter months, leaving your garden looking messy. While tenants are responsible for basic maintenance of the garden – mowing the lawn and keeping weeds at bay, for example, as set out in the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement – a lot of debris can be quite challenging to remove. Landlords looking to keep their gardens tidy and tenants happy will definitely want to step in and tackle this themselves.

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Spruce up grass

Spring is a good time to take stock of how your lawn is looking. Cold and wet weather may have left it somewhat patchy. Fertilising sad-looking areas will ensure your garden is fully green and verdant for the next few months at least.  

 

Prepare garden beds

Want to update your borders or garden beds this year for a more attractive space come summer? It’s important to think ahead, planning in spring so they will flower in time. Dahlias and lilies, for example, require dry soil at a temperature of 15 degrees. 

Don’t forget to add manure or compost to the soil to nourish new bulbs. 

 

Check tools and equipment

Many landlords provide tenants with lawnmowers and other garden tools in order to help with the general garden upkeep outlined in their tenancy agreement. It’s worth taking the time to check this equipment – especially electricals – to ensure they are in a decent state of repair. It’s also important to ensure tenants are keeping tools out of sight, preferably in locked sheds, to prevent break-ins. 

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Tackle trees and large shrubs

Pruning and maintaining any tall trees or shrubbery would be too dangerous for a tenant to carry out, and will often require the expertise of a third party tradesman. Check if boughs or branches have become damaged or dislodged over winter, and call in a qualified tree surgeon if needed.

It’s also important to ensure trees around the property aren’t endangering surrounding telephone or power lines.

This is one of the more urgent garden jobs, as failure to manage large plants could cause damage to the property or put tenants or neighbours in danger. It’s very important not to delay any remedial action in case the situation worsens.

As before, agree on a time with your tenant that suits them and make sure your tree surgeon is compliant with the current guidance.

How to get your garden ready for the warmer months

Check fencing and other outdoor structures

Winter storms and strong winds often cause damage to fencing and other garden structures, like sheds and greenhouses.

It’s important to keep in continual contact with tenants and maintain a good relationship in the hope that they will report problems like this sooner rather than later.

However, tenants may have missed damage or have put off discussing it, so this an important part of spring garden checks. 

This will also allow you to ensure that your property is secure. Cracked or broken fence panels or faulty gate locks can cause problems later and may even invalidate your insurance. Poor boundaries can also make tenants feel unsafe, or cause them to worry about children or pets.