The title may seems bit off-topic to this blog but this is what I really want to share: Some realizations I have gained from my 3.5 years experience of living in houses with garden. Why could it be useful and interesting? – because living in a house is a dream of so many people, it is probably an archetypical human desire. Many people take huge bank loans to pay for this dream. But what is the reality? I would like to share with you some experiences from living in 2 different houses withing the last 3,5 years.
1. Renting a house with garden is far too tricky: it is much more responsibility, work, time and money than you can imagine when going for that! Even by renting a house you are much involved in the maintenance and a house needs much more than an apartment.
2. The most tricky thing in a house is the heating/cooling system which in mostly designed specially for each house. If you are lucky and have the central heating then you are more or less on the safe side. But if your landlord has built in an expensive heating (oil-based, for instance) then god save you and your money.
3.The garden is another Troyan horse: it looks so pretty and nothing compares to a breakfast on a green terrace on a sunny day… However beware of the all gardening work! Not only it has to be maintained in a good state (mowing the meadow, cutting trees and bushes, planting flowers, etc.) but the is a constant money investment in tools and fertilizer.
If you have some fruit trees this is just great – eating fresh fruits from your own garden is safe, tasty and highly enjoyable. However do not forget to take care of fallen produce! – and this is just another time and effort issue.
Even if in your dreams you are lovingly taking care of your own garden, most probably in reality you will not be that enthusiastic about gardening on a regular base. You may want a gardener instead.
4. A house with garden attracts more insects, dust and possibly mice than any apartment. This results in even more cleaning activities. Ideally a house needs a cleaning lady on a daily basis – but how many can afford that?
The problem I have about it all is not only much time and efforts, but especially the attention which I have to keep on all that. I am quite happy that for a while we, my husband, our daughter and me will move to an apartment and enjoy the uncomplicated and unsophisticated facilitation of it.
However for the future we definitely want our own house. Here are some ideas from the previous experiences:
- our house should be small - indeed there is no need in much space and big rooms. If there is some garden, the space feeling comes with that.
-we will be definitely building our own house with our own design and natural materials, most probably straw balls.
- we will be very attentive to heating and cooling, – the best known version today seems to be the so called “passive house“, which need much less energy than any regular heating system. Important! – to have a real stove/chimney, this is something what will always work, no matter how any modern heating system behaves. Unfortunately the more sophisticated the system is the more vulnerable it gets, and you can literary freeze under the Christmas Tree in your own house because some spare part cannot be delivered in a week time.
-the garden should have more natural beauty, no perfect lawn is needed. There are various beautiful alternatives to the trivial golf-style lawn.
-a round house with no corners is a great alternative to the modern building habits – i love this idea! some images are here.
I hope my lesson learned was useful for some dreamers :). Dream are good but reality-check is better!