If you’ve recently moved into a new-build home, you may have started to think about planting trees and shrubs to create that idyllic outdoor space. Spring is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to start! Plants make great ‘fillers’ for a gap and provide privacy as well as interest to your garden. But before you get carried away, remember that roots oſten extend to distances in excess of the height of the tree and they can take moisture from the soil. If you’re new to gardening it may seem overwhelming, so here are some practical tips from NHBC, the UK’s leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes, to help you prepare your outdoor area for the spring and summer season: • Your new garden may not have a lawn yet. If that’s the case, once you’ve prepared the ground, and levelled it as much as possible, it’s time to start laying new turf. It’s important to start laying it from a straight edge, making sure each roll is firm against the one next to it. To make sure the turf takes root, press it into the soil beneath it.

• Te level of soil around your home should be kept below the damp proof course (generally 150mm or two brick courses). Paths should also generally be kept around 150mm or two brick courses below the damp proof course, except where these have been designed to provide level access into the home. If you are not sure where the damp proof course is, ask your builder to show you. Where air bricks, permanent ventilators or perpend vents are provided, they should not be blocked or covered by soil or paving.

• If the soil is clay, new planting may cause it to shrink, while removing existing trees and shrubs may make it swell. Terefore, plant news trees away from your home. Find out how tall the mature tree will be and make sure it is positioned at least one and a quarter times this distance from the house.

• If you're planning to grow your own fruit, order your fruit trees now ready for planting in the spring and continue planting trees and shrubs while they are still dormant.

• High water demand trees should be planted no closer to the home than one-and-a-quarter times the mature height. High water demand trees include elm, eucalyptus, oak, poplar, willow and some common cypress species.

• Avoid planting climbers such as Ivy and Virginia Creeper against house walls, as they hold on using suckers, twining tendrils or aerial roots which could damage mortar and may cause damp. Plant these at least three metres away from your home.

• Allow enough room for trunks and large roots to grow safely. Be particularly careful if planting near drains or lightweight structures.

• Although you do not need to, when planting new trees in your garden that will also be near you neighbour’s house, be considerate and ask your neighbour if this is ok. As you could be liable for the cost of repair if the trees you plant cause damage to their home.

• Regular pruning of fast growing, thirsty trees such as Cypress Leyland, will help to reduce the amount of water taken from the soil.

• And last of all, although the UK is fortunate to have plenty of rain, do ensure trees and shrubs are watered sufficiently to give them a good start in life especially those that maybe sheltered by other structures. If you haven’t got one already, consider purchasing a water butt ready for the summer. Rainwater is particularly useful for watering acid-loving, ericaceous plants as opposed to tap water which is oſten slightly alkaline.

Further advice for homeowners on property maintenance and other issues can be found in NHBC’s useful publication, A Guide to your new home - a practical guide to looking aſter your new home, freely available at


Richard and Sadie Woodland are celebrating a quick move to a dream home at Hanbury Village in Cwmbran - thanks to a special scheme from Barratt Homes. The couple and their two daughters, Olivia and Alice, took advantage of the five star housebuilder’s Part Exchange Xtra to swap their existing home for a brand new house at the sought-after development. “We loved the look of Hanbury Village because of its semi-rural location, close to all the local amenities we could ask for,” said accountant manager, Richard. “The plot size and location is great, and offers real kerb appeal. Our children have easy access to schools here, so it’s very convenient for us too. “Part Exchange Xtra meant we could buy the house we really wanted, and we switched from our old property quickly and easily - thanks to the help we received from Barratt Homes.”

Under the scheme, Barratt Homes nominates and pays for an estate agent to handle viewings, enquiries and, ultimately, the sale of a buyer’s existing home. It means one less thing to worry about and - if the home doesn’t sell - the housebuilder could buy it for fair value.

“It worked brilliantly,” added retail assistant, Sadie. “Everyone here at Hanbury Village has been excellent. We’re delighted with our new build home here. It gives us everything from day one. We have no DIY to worry about, and the energy savings we can make, compared to an older property, is another real bonus. “We’re very happy here, with Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal just around the corner, and only minutes from Cwmbran town centre. It’s just fabulous.”

Hanbury Village features a stylish collection of two, three, four and five bedroom homes with country surroundings and easy access to a variety of shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. The development is perfect for a wide range of lifestyles - from first time buyers and growing families to those looking to downsize to a rural retreat.

Current availability includes the three bedroom

Morpeth design, priced from

£255,995, and the four bedroom Thornbury, from £289,995. The three bedroom Finchley, four bedroom Lincoln and five bedroom Stratford are also coming soon. To find out more about homes at Hanbury Village, visit or call 0330 057 6000.

New Homes Wales and the South West

Fast move to a new-build home for Richard and Sadie - thanks to Part Exchange Xtra at Hanbury Village

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