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Full Building Surveys – Be Aware of Problem Garden Plants

A well-kept garden is an attractive proposition for any would-be homebuyer, with studies estimating that it can add thousands of pounds to the asking price. However, purchasers do need to be wary about certain types of plants, and the damage they can cause to the property.

Anderson Associates have extensive knowledge about all issues which could affect the structural integrity of any property. Here we look at the types of plants which could cause problems for the potential house purchaser.

Take Care with Trees…

Trees can give your garden structure, provide some welcome shade on hot days and provide a home for wildlife – but they can also present problems for the prospective homeowner too.

Their roots can affect the property’s foundations and drains, particularly if they are close to the house. This in turn can lead to cracks in the walls, while doors and windows may no longer fit their frames properly.

If trees are close to the property or branches overhang the property or outbuildings, they will almost certainly require cutting back or removal.

…and with Climbers

Although plants like ivy or wisteria may look attractive, the reality is that homebuyers should be wary of them, particularly if the climbers are growing up the walls of the house. They can easily disturb roof tiles, tear away guttering, damage mortar joints and cause dampness in the walls.

Japanese Knotweed is a Particular Problem

Japanese Knotweed is one of the most well-known species of invasive plants and can damage pipework, drains, walls, foundations, patios and paths, as well as conservatories and other outbuildings. It is something that buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and neighbours should all be aware of.

You could face legal action if you allow it to spread from your garden into your neighbour’s. Your local council could force you to remove it if it is spoiling any amenities under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act.

Either way, effective treatment is a long process which can take years, and it should be carried out by a specialist. The plant and the soil it’s grown in are both classified as ‘controlled waste’ and it should be disposed of by a qualified individual.

Full Building Surveys from Anderson Associates

If you are buying a property and are unsure about any of the above, then a chartered independent surveyor like Anderson Associates will be able to help you. We are totally independent, which means we only represent the homebuyer and nobody else – there is no conflict of interest.

We can detect if any of the plant species in the garden could pose a threat to the structure of the house, and if any remedial work is likely to be necessary. We can also advise on any potential legal issues – for instance with Japanese Knotweed, or if a plant on a neighbour’s property is growing onto yours. If the property has a communal garden, we will be able to check if you have any responsibility for its maintenance.

We recommend you opt for one of our full building surveys, whether you are buying a home in east or south east London, Kent, Essex or Suffolk. It includes a full, detailed report on every accessible part of the structure, listing any defects and any necessary repair work. The report will also cover outbuildings, grounds and boundaries, and will incorporate any potential garden-related issues. If you would like to get in touch and learn more about our services, click here.


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Whether you need a simple valuation or a full structural survey as well as being expert building surveyors we’re happy to give you free, impartial advice on anything to do with buildings and property.
Anderson Associates
(Head Office & Correspondence Address)
Warneford House, Portal Avenue
Martlesham Heath, Ipswich
Suffolk IP5 3QY
T. 01473 623 656
T. 0800 652 8285
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Registered Office: Anderson Associates (Surveying) Ltd. | Warneford House, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 3QY
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