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Caring for Your New Home

A Handy Guide for New Homeowners

As a new homeowner you will have maintenance responsibilities at different times of the year.  

These responsibilities are important, as they will help you look after your home long-term.

This checklist includes a list of recommended maintenance actions for each season. 

Wondering Where to Start?

Lawn Care

Lawns will often be freshly laid just prior to your move-in date, so it's important to remember a few key things:

— There may initially be small undulations and joints showing, which will fade as the lawn settles.

— You should avoid walking on your new lawn for 3-4 weeks, as it can cause considerable damage to unsettled turf.

— Unless there's heavy rainfall, water your new lawn at least twice per week, and daily if the weather is hot and dry.

— Wait 4 weeks before you mow it for the first time, to allow the grass to grow deeper roots.

— When you do mow it for the first time, it's recommended to cut it a little higher than normal (blade height 4-5 cm). After this initial cut, you can mow your lawn to any desired length.

Trees, Plants & Shrub Care

Any trees, plants and shrubs planted by the developer are a compulsory part of planning, and all layouts will have been agreed with the local authority.

— Trees, shrubs and hedging will require copious watering after planting, particularly in summer.

— Any trees and shrubs planted by the developer cannot be removed or planted elsewhere.

— Refer to your conveyance documents for specific details on planted trees and shrubs.

Soil condition and drainage affect what plants will thrive in your garden — consult the Royal Horticultural Society website or Beechgrove for some further hints and tips for clay soil plants.

Fencing, Landscaping, Decking & Paving

Rear gardens are finished in rotovated topsoil, allowing you to design and landscape to your own requirements. It is important that any landscaping is carried out as soon as possible after handover.

— If there has been rain, allow the topsoil to dry out before landscaping work. Compacting wet topsoil can make it unsuitable for draining and planting.

— Any block paving is designed for the weight of passenger vehicles, not heavy goods.

— Paving upkeep and maintenance on fences, gates and decking are the responsibility of the owner.

Knotting and splitting to timber fences is normal.

— Refer to conveyance documents for information on fence ownership.

Garden Drainage

Good drainage is essential for the long-term health of your property, here are a few helpful tips:

— Spiking the lawn to a minimum depth of 30mm is essential for good aeration and drainage — particularly during the winter months.

— For better results, spike the turf deeper (100-150mm) with an appropriate proprietary tool.

— Consult an expert when preparing and sowing new grass seed or laying new turf, as your soil may require the addition of sharp sand, organic matter or compost to aid drainage.

Internal Drainage

Blocked drains can lead to flooding of your property and neighbouring properties. The majority of these issues are avoidable.

— Prevent kitchen drains blocking by ensuring no food waste, fats, oils or greases go down the plughole.

— Avoid toilet blockages by only flushing human waste and toilet paper, all other items should be binned or recycled.

How to Care for External Taps

How to Care for External Taps

In cold months, it’s important to look after external taps to prevent any damage to the tap/return valve. You need to fully drain and isolate the external tap during the winter.

Follow these 4 steps below to avoid any damage to your home.

STEP 1: Isolate (turn off) the 15mm supply stopcock for the outside tap. This will be located under your kitchen / utility sink or beside your boiler. There may be more than 1 brass stopcock located in this area — 15mm is the smaller one.

STEP 2: Open the outside tap. Allow water to escape and leave tap in the open position.

STEP 3: Ensure the drain point on the lowest point of the external pipework, a small brass drain valve, is also left open.

STEP 4: In spring, once temperatures are above freezing then close the outside tap and turn on the stopcock inside the house.