What renters can and can’t do in their gardens

Top tips on how to make the most of your garden if you rent.

Related topics:  Landlords,  Property,  Tenants,  Gardens
Property | Reporter
11th June 2024
Garden 725
"Some renters don’t want to invest their time and money in a garden that’s not theirs, however, if you’re clever about it then you can take all of your plants and garden accessories with you when you move"
- Chris Bonnett - Gardening Express

Green-thumbed renters need to make sure they’re not breaking any rules if they want to get their hands dirty and revamp their gardens. While making massive landscaping changes is not permitted in a rented house, there are impermanent gardening solutions renters could consider.

Container gardening is an excellent choice for temporary planting, and its portability makes it even more convenient. Renters feel that their care and efforts are more worthwhile if they can take their plants with them when they move.

Vertical gardening, using hanging baskets, window boxes and temporary trellises, is also a great option, especially for limited outdoor spaces.

Beyond planting, renters could also consider adding furnishings and accessories to transform the garden, such as an outdoor dining set, garden lights or loungers.

Gardening Express shares 7 do’s and don'ts for gardening in a rental property:

Use containers

Containers are every green-thumbed renter’s best friend. You can plant pretty much anything in containers, so whether you want to grow your own vegetables and fruit or want to enjoy beautiful flowers in your garden, all you need is a big enough container and some good quality potting mix.

Consider vertical gardening

Those who are only working with balconies or smaller gardens can maximise planting space by utilising vertical gardening solutions. A sunny window box or a hanging basket is perfect for growing herbs, strawberries, tomatoes or salad leaves. You can also get creative and craft a DIY plant wall from pallets.

Opt for annuals for short tenancies

For short tenancies, consider cheaper plants that will look good instantly. Annual bedding plants such as petunias, marigolds and begonias are easy to grow and they last only one season before setting seed so you may be able to simply plant them directly in the soil.

Use furnishing and accessories

Renters could consider investing in a few outdoor furniture bits so they can make the most of their garden. You can find used garden furniture for affordable prices or invest a bit more to take it with you when you move. Garden accessories such as fire pits, fairy lights, mirrors, hammocks, rugs and cushions can also help make the garden feel more cosy.

Don't make bigger changes without checking

Before making any significant changes to the landscaping, it's crucial to consult your landlord to ensure they approve. It's essential to obtain written permission to prevent potential issues later on. While some landlords may support property improvements, proceeding without their agreement can lead to trouble.

Avoid carrying out major repairs

If you notice any major issues in the garden, it’s best to notify your landlord instead of trying to carry out repair jobs yourself. Whether it’s broken gates, fencing or walls, overhanging trees or broken patio slabs, leave the repair jobs to the experts to prevent further damages.

Don't neglect the garden

Remember, you must return the garden to its original state at the beginning of the tenancy. Make a habit of regularly maintaining the garden to prevent any issues from getting worse. Be sure to regularly mow the lawn in the summer and prevent weeds from taking over.

Chris Bonnett, the founder of Gardening Express said: “People shouldn’t be put off from gardening just because they live in a rental house or flat.

“Some renters don’t want to invest their time and money in a garden that’s not theirs, however, if you’re clever about it then you can take all of your plants and garden accessories with you when you move.

“Instead of planting in flower beds, you can just use containers and pots instead to create a little oasis in your garden and grow different types of fruit and veg.

“You can also utilise vertical spaces and grow berries and beautiful flowers in hanging baskets or window boxes.

“If you want to make bigger changes in the garden then it’s crucial you check with the landlord first - if the alterations improve the property then your landlord might actually be happy for you to go ahead.”

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