I am asking this question here because it really is a question only a gardener can understand.

My wife and I are avid gardeners, but I find that when we search for a house to rent to call our home. The realtor or owner showing us the place, may start to wax poetic about mowing the lawn and I look at them like the RCA dog looking at the phonograph like "who said I was going to be mowing a lawn", I plan to have a vegetable garden here. Then the individual looks at me with a face like his blood pressure just went up. What makes someone react negatively to the idea of a garden and positive to the idea of a grassy desert is beyond my understanding.

So my question is, for anyone who is a renter and a hardcore gardener, how do you go about renting a house? Meaning how do you have that conversation or don't have that conversation that you will be doing some hardcore gardening, not keeping someone else's lawn for them?

To be clear, I am just talking about several raised-beds that will be gone the day we move, which could be a year or 6 six later. The precious grass will still be there and it does grow back. I am perplexed by this lack of understanding of how grass works.

1 Answer 1


Real estate people in general are garden ignorant. They know about the land/house on the market, and they know about the detail of the buildings. If you were to say "we are enthusiastic cooks, we want to put your appliances in storage and install our own" they could relate to that and make a decision. They don't have any experience of horticulture and any suggestion that they should bring in a specialist who does raises red flags about their commission. They are very sensitive to this kind of stuff, I know from experience.

So first thought would be to seek out an agent who knows a bit more than riding a lawn mower and getting it fixed when they run over a stone. The second thought is to present them with a professional plan which anticipates their ignorance and permits them to take the plan to the owner for a decision. This takes them out of the equation and they take on no risk, the risk is assumed by others. It's fair.

So say your basic plan is to install four raised beds. You will pay for someone to come in and ensure the proposed location is free of underground utilities. You will pay for a professional to strip the sod and remove. You will install your own timbers to create the beds and bring in soil, writing in that all existing trees shrubs and grass will be protected from damage by machinery. On conclusion of the agreement you undertake to have the timbers and soil removed, the site cleaned and professionally re-sodded. Use the name of a highly respected local landscaper and offer to have the landscaper visit the owner prior to any work. Assure the agent that you are not trying to insult them by removing them from any responsibility. Offer a security deposit.

  • you hit it right on when you lead with "real estate people in general are garden ignorant". I am amazed that out of a whole industry that buys and sells houses with backyards all day, nobody is into gardening.
    – Daniel
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 19:20

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