Who will buy my lawnless garden?

Who will buy my lawnless garden?

25th September 2016317Views10Comments
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Breaking news – to anyone who knows me and assumed I’d never, ever leave my garden – I’m selling it and the house it surrounds.  Time to move on.

Selling the Complicated Garden

Any realtor will tell you that nice gardens may or may not be advantages in selling a house – because most buyers just want what’s easy.  So I’m prepared to hear that, and I’m ready with some assurances that mostly-shrub gardens are really easy, and I’ll even teach the buyer how to prune and otherwise take care of this low-maintenance garden (really it is, I promise).

But then there’s the problem/advantage of the totally lawnless state of the garden, front and back.  Above you see what it looks like today, a two-species combo of Sedum sarmentosum (sometimes identified as Sedum acre) and Liriope spicata. Neither needs any maintenance except a bit of edging to keep these vigorous spreaders within bounds.  No mowing, feeding, or even weeding required.

(I recently posted photos of what this looked like a mere month ago when it was mostly bare soil – scroll down to the second photo.  Since  the heat wave has ended, the Sedum has filled in vigorously, and for the bare middle section I’ve filled in with Liriope for instant erosion protection.)

But if the buyers have kids, we all know what they’ll do, right?  Rip out all these groundcovers and replace them with conventional turfgrass.  Oh, well.

Click here for more photos of my garden. The house, on a great street in Takoma Park, MD, is a 1925 Sears kit home, the “Conway” model.

Downsizing for the Aging Gardener

Like Sydney Eddison, I’ve been feeling the aches and pains of taking care of a large garden for too many years – 26 years on this lot.  But unlike Sydney, who’s converted her perennial beds into shrub beds and plans to age in place, I’ve decided to downsize both house and garden to a manageable townhouse-sized garden (end unit, of course).

So I’ll be moving to Historic Greenbelt, Maryland, a planned community built in the ’30s as part of FDR’s New Deal. (Lots more about it here and here.)  I haven’t found my new home yet but I already know I’ll be paying about a third the price of the house I’m selling.  I’m cashing out!

I hope to be settled and unpacked by spring, in time to start my new garden.  It’ll be both smaller and more visible to the public, owing to foot paths running between all the backyards, and its location on the corner.  So now I’ll confess that as much as I looooove my back garden and the woods beyond, it’s a lonely place to spend so much of my time.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on September 27, 2011 at 6:25 am, in the category Lawn Reform, Real Gardens.


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  1. I bought a junked out farm house when the local real estate scene hit rock bottom – even though everyone around me told me not to do it. I then sold the house I was living in without putting too much effort into fixing it up (major repairs had already been done) – even though EVERYONE told me it would never sell. I got full asking price too! Found a buyer in less than two months and closed within four. It can be done. I told my realtor that a gardener would love to own my place and that is what happened. A young couple looking for a large backyard to grow their own veggies saw the ad and jumped on it.

  2. My previous garden (and its house) was bought by someone who appreciated all that I’d done to establish it. I had to wait a bit longer to find the right buyers, but they realllllly wanted it. Hang in there!

  3. Susan, How timely~I was just listening to an NPR story about how we boomers underestimate the realities of retirement/aging. Moving to a smaller house and garden so makes sense. A smaller garden and more community interaction also makes sense. May this process be exciting and easy! gail

  4. I’m sure you’ll find somebody who really wants an established garden. Are you advertising it as “garden featured in—” and listing all the places your garden’s appeared?

  5. The best advice my realtor gave me was to not change anything until you have people looking and putting an offer on the table. Don’t waste time and money second guessing what you should rip out and replace until you have someone interested in buying the place. Plenty of people will give you their advice and comments on what you’ll need to do in order to sell the place – ignore them. Only pay attention to the person that is willing to sign their name and hand over some money.

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