How to Care for a Garden (for Renters)

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While most landlords will do annual maintenance on your property, the day-to-day maintenance will most likely be up to you. This usually includes mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and edging the property. If you’d like to grow edible plants, you can try some alternative ways to grow your own food that don’t involve disturbing the land. If you’re ever confused about what you need to do, don’t hesitate to reach out to your landlord or rental management company to see what’s expected of you.


[Edit]Maintaining Your Yard

  1. Check the rental agreement to see what your duties are. If you live on a property that contains a large yard or landscaping, you’ll probably be required to maintain it to the best of your abilities. Read through your lease or rental agreement to see what you’re expected to do and what the landlord is going to maintain.[1]
    • Most rental agreements require the tenant to mow the grass, edge the lawn, and remove the weeds.
  2. Mow the grass 3 to 4 times per month. If you have a grassy lawn, use a lawnmower to cut it down at least every other week, if not once per week. Make sure it doesn’t look overgrown, especially if your lawn encroaches upon a neighbor’s yard.[2]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 2.jpg
    • Some landlords may specify how often you need to mow your lawn in the rental agreement.
  3. Water the flower beds and landscaping once or twice per week. Point your hose at the roots of the plants, trying to avoid the leaves or the plant heads so they don’t get damaged. Water your yard between 4pm and 8am to allow the water to soak into the ground during sundown, and try to coat the entire bed evenly with your hose.[3]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 3.jpg
    • To avoid overwatering your garden, try to spray your hose for about 1 minute over a area.
    • If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, you don’t have to water your plants as often.
  4. Remove any weeds you see by hand. If you notice dandelions, tall grass, or any other plants that aren’t supposed to be in your yard, put on some gardening gloves and pull them out by hand. Try to pull out the roots with the rest of the plant so it doesn’t grow back later.[4]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 4.jpg
    • You can use a small spade to dig out the roots and make it easier.
    • Check with your landlord before using any chemical herbicides on your lawn.
  5. Edge the lawn with a weed whacker. Grab a weed whacker and make sure the front is loaded with a string blade. Turn the engine on and hold it up against the edge of your lawn, lining it up with the edge of the sidewalk or concrete. Walk slowly in a line, keeping your weed whacker level, to edge all 4 sides of your lawn.[5]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 5.jpg
    • Weed whackers are also called weed eaters, and you can find them at most garden supply stores.
    • Weed whacking can be difficult at first, but it’s easy to do once you get the hang of it.
  6. Tell your landlord if you encounter anything you can’t maintain. Most landlords are required to maintain large trees, shrubs, or any plants that require special maintenance. If you come across any areas of your yard that you don’t feel comfortable doing, notify your landlord so they can get started on maintenance.[6]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 6.jpg
    • Landlords will usually deal with overgrown trees and fallen branches.

[Edit]Growing Edible Plants

  1. Choose an area of your yard that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight. No matter what type of garden you’d like to implement, you need to pick a spot that gets a ton of sun. Try looking out into your window periodically throughout the day to see which areas get the most sun, then choose a spot in that general vicinity.[7]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 7.jpg
    • If you’re planting herbs or veggies inside, keep them near a south-facing window for the most sun exposure.
  2. Plant vegetables in pots to keep them mobile. Grab some sized terracotta or clay pots from your local gardening store and fill them up with potting soil. Add in your vegetable seeds, then keep them on your front lawn or balcony so they can get some sun. Make sure you water them once a day to keep them healthy.[8]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 8.jpg
    • Tomatoes, chard, potatoes, lettuce, and peppers all do very well in pots, and they taste delicious, too.
  3. Keep herbs in your windowsill for easy access. Grab a few small sized pots and fill them up with potting soil. Plant some herb seeds in each one, then leave them on your kitchen windowsill or countertop. As they sprout and grow, you can pick the leaves to flavor your meals as you cook.[9]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 9.jpg
    • You can grow basil, parsley, mint, dill, and sage inside your kitchen to spice up your dishes.
  4. Set up a trellis to try vertical gardening. Lean a metal or wooden trellis against a fence, then use zip ties or metal bolts to anchor the top and bottom of the trellis. Set up 2 pots on either side of the trellis and plant creeping vines in them. As the vines grow, encourage their tendrils to wrap up and around the trellis so they can climb upwards. Water your plants every day to keep them healthy, and make sure your trellis gets at least 6 hours of sunlight.[10]
    Care for a Garden (for Renters) Step 10.jpg
    • For an edible vertical garden, try planting peas, squash, tomatoes, pole beans, or gooseberries.


  • If you ever have a question about what’s required of you as a renter, reach out to your landlord for clarification.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Maintaining Your Yard

  • Lawn mower
  • Garden hose
  • Weed whacker
  • Gardening gloves

[Edit]Growing Edible Plants

  • Raised bed
  • Pots
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Trellis



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