If I had a pound for every minute I’ve spent on Rightmove, looking at properties with a large amount of land, I’d likely be able to afford one of the many mansions I find. My 6-year-old daughter often tells me she’s buying me 2 acres for my birthday – but I’m not confident her £3.50 per week pocket money is going to stretch that far – certainly not in my lifetime anyway!
Regardless, I often dream of having an acre or two on which to create something from scratch. The idea of inheriting a garden doesn’t appeal to me in the same way – less work, for sure, but the ‘creation’ process is something I’d really like to do. I may (for now) lack some of the skills to really pull it off, but oddly that doesn’t deter me in the slightest – gardening is one of those things that I accept failure with, which can’t be said for anything else in my life. However, living in a city in the north-west means property prices are ridiculous, before you even consider any additional land. If there’s even the remotest possibility of a piece of land getting planning permission, the price is increased ten or twentyfold.
Even greenbelt land, of which we are fortunate to have quite a bit of here, is priced at ‘silly’ levels – a recent listing featured a regular 2-bed semi, with 1/2 acre paddock, listed for £475,000. To put that in perspective, I’d suggest the same property, without the land and outside the greenbelt, would be worth half that. That’s in an area of greenbelt that has been given even further protection – to the extent you’d have to have a very strong case to even erect a greenhouse, let alone anything else. The crazy part though – they’re still selling at these prices!
So, naturally you start looking further afield – and the more remote you go, the more you get for less. I recently discovered a property on one of the Scottish islands – a beautiful property in itself, but with just under 7 acres of land, which included open areas, a fruit garden, a wooded area and a private beach – complete with beautiful sea views. All for little more than my city townhouse with 150sqm garden!
Personally, I don’t mind the idea of being totally cut off and secluded (if anything, I find the idea quite appealing!), but with young children (and a wife that has a need for some social interaction!) it’s perhaps not ideal. I suspect creating a garden on a windswept, wet and cooler climate would be the ultimate challenge though!
Occasionally I’ll come across listing for properties with hundreds of acres and dream of what could be – what I could create – but then bring myself back to earth when I realise that I’m neither Capability Brown, nor do I have an army of gardeners to help. Even I know that my dream garden needs to be manageable as I grow ever older.
For now, I’ll have to dream about what I can do with the 130sqm allotment plot I have – until I match 6 numbers.
Founder and Editor, ForkMojo. Organic Allotmenteer, Husband, Father & Programmer.