A few pointers based on practical experience, in your ‘average’ semi-rural domestic garden.

Heavy going

If you are moving house, then forget things like checking how many bedrooms a house has, or if it has drains.

Important, yes, but top of your list should be: ‘what’s the soil like?’
And don’t just look at the surface. Because that lovely looking layer of black compost surrounding the plants may conceal, just an inch or two down, the perils of solid clay.
Ideal, maybe, if you want to build a kiln and make your own pots or bricks. Massively limiting as a gardener.
Dig a hole to put a plant in and you’ve basically dug a sink. Pour water in it, or wait till it rains hard, and you’ll prove that point.
There are ways to grow things in clay.
None of them is easy.

Decking palls (don’t bow to folly)

Beloved of makeover shows in the 1990s simply because it was quick to put in, decking looks great when new. Then you get weeds growing in the cracks; and moss and wintery slime turns it into a skating rink. Non-slip varnish wears off about about five minutes. And without a lot of dedicated effort, the whole lot will rot eventually.

Location, location

This applies to a lot of things, but we’ll start with the clothes line. If you have a small garden, or even a larger one but with a lot of planting, you need to get used to the idea that anything bigger than a sock is going to snag on the shrubs. Which, of course, are at their height in summer; the time it’s actually warm and dry enough to put clothes out to dry.

See also:

Garden design – some ‘do nots’ for your plot

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