Maintaining the Garden of Your Rental Property

Depending on the terms of your rental agreement, you might have to maintain the garden of your rental property. (Do double check your lease agreement to be sure.) The tenant’s/occupant’s responsibility is generally limited to cutting the grass and pulling weeds. This is especially pertinent in the spring and summer months, when the grass (and weeds) grow fast and furious.

For many tenants, tending to a garden might be new to you, even if it sounds simple – “just mow the lawn and pull out the weeds”, however it might be tough in the beginning.

Here are some quick tips which might help you out:

  • Frequency. It is recommended to mow the lawn once a week, or even twice if the grass is growing extremely fast or when there is a lot of rain. Note to never remove more than a third of the total length of a blade of grass. Doing so can cause the grass to thin out and brown.
  • Sharp blades. Ensure that the blades on the lawn mower are sharp. Blunt blades will tear and damage the grass.
  • Start on the perimeter. It is best to trim the grass around the perimeter first.
  • Alternate directions (mow in rows and columns). Mowing in one direction only can cause grass blades to lay in one direction rather than stand up. In order to avoid that and to ensure the grass grows upright, alternate the direction of mowing. For example, you can mow in rows one week and columns the next.
  • Move around your garden furniture. If possible and if required, move your garden furniture from one place to another so that grass will grow evenly all over the garden, even under the garden furniture.
  • Weeding. Weeding can be done by hand, with a weeder, a hoe or even a fork. You can also use a chemical spray to kill weeds, however do note that it is not environmentally friendly and may kill off other plants.
  • Preventing weeds. You can use a lawn fertiliser with weed control or use a landscape fabric which prevents the sun from reaching the weeds. These can be bought at plant nurseries like Plantasjen.
  • Get professional advice. You can head to plant nurseries like Plantasjen for advice and ideas on what to do.
  • Get professional help. Gardeners can be hired from about 350 NOK an hour. You can put an ad out on FINN Oppdrag or FINN Småjobber describing what you need done and the relevant companies/individuals will contact you. It might be helpful to get a gardener to come round for the first time if you feel overwhelmed and unsure of what needs to be done.

Safety While Using Lawn Mowers

Many people get injured every year when using lawn mowers. Be proactive when it comes to safety and follow these tips to avoid injuries:

  • Familiarise yourself with the equipment. Read the user manual. If you were not presented with the manual, search for it online with the make and model number of the lawn mower. If you are still unsure, contact your landlord or his/her contact person to show you how to use the lawn mower. There are many types of lawn mowers available, from simple reel mowers to gas/electric powered lawn mowers to riding lawn mowers. When using a gas powered lawn mower, be sure not to fill the tank while the engine is hot or running. Also clean up spills immediately.
  • Clear the garden before mowing . Pick up any sticks, rocks, toys or debris in the garden so as not to damage the lawn mower or injure yourself or people around you during the mowing process.
  • Clothing. Covered shoes and long pants provide the best protection from flying debris. It is advisable to remove jewellery which might catch on the lawn mower.
  • Safety guards and features. Before starting the lawn mower, ensure that all safety guards and features are in place.
  • Mowing on a slope. It is safest and best to mow across the slope instead of up and down.
  • Ensure that children and pets are kept away while you are at work in the garden. Never allow a young child to ride on a lawn mower. The child might be hurt by sudden stops and flying debris. You might also not notice or hear a young child running up behind you.
  • Protect your hearing. Some lawn mowers can be extremely noisy, it is highly advisable to use earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing.
  • Switch off the mower. Never leave the lawn mower running unattended, or try to troubleshoot one that is still running. Switch off the power when you cross non-grass areas.
  • Clean and tidy up. Clean all gardening equipment and tools. Ensure they are free of grass and dirt (as much as possible). Pack away all the equipment and tools so as to ensure that children and pets will not hurt themselves accidentally.