With gardeners charging £25 per hour in the UK, residents on low incomes may find it difficult to maintain their gardens on their own. This is the reason why we will discuss whether the council can help people with gardening and what is the eligibility criteria for it. We will also discuss whether you can apply for a grant to maintain your garden and review some tips on garden maintenance for individuals who find themselves managing their garden without support through the council or from a grant.
Can The Council Help With Gardening?
Yes, the council can help with gardening at a chargeable fee if the person responsible for maintaining the garden is:
- lacks mobility
- living alone
If a council housing tenant is at least 65 to 70 years old (depends on the council) or disabled and receives Housing Benefit, the council authorities can extend help with gardening. They will also help residents who claim the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance and Housing Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance and Housing Benefit
- Personal Independence Payment and Housing Benefit
A council tenant on benefits will need to provide the authorities with proof of their benefits claim. They will also have to meet additional eligibility criteria which include the following:
- should not have legal notices against their tenancy
- rental payments are timely and regular
- should not have an allotment
- are not buying council property under the Right to Buy scheme
The council can arrange a one-off visit to manage the cleaning and pruning of the garden as well as regular maintenance of the garden with grass cutting and shrub pruning. However, you would need to apply for garden maintenance through your Housing Compliance Officer.
If you are a Housing Association tenant in Newcastle, Your Homes Newcastle can help you with maintaining your garden. They will connect you to the Byker Community Trust who will provide you with services that include (but are not limited to) the following:
- maintenance of trees, hedges and shrubs
- removal of ivy and street weed
- leaf collection in the winter season
Can I Get A Grant For Help With Gardening?
Yes, you may be able to get a grant for help with gardening but trusts and grants have their eligibility criteria.
For instance, the Gardening for the Disabled Trust offers grants to individuals who are unable to do so due to their age, illness or disability. However, to be eligible for their help one needs to join their gardening club. If someone requests their support based on a disability, they will have to provide proof of their claim with a letter from their GP and benefits payments (if they receive any).
The managing committee at Gardening With Disabilities Trust will then review the application before any of the following services are offered to an applicant:
- making adaptations to your garden
- managing the expense of tools and raised beds
- giving advice on various gardening aids and techniques
Sometimes individuals who require help with gardening do not qualify for help from the council or a disabilities grant. For instance, if you are a carer and need someone to help you maintain your garden due to lack of time, there are charities and local schemes that can provide you with help and support. You can ask your local council or carer service for recommendations or you can check if Age UK can offer a handy person for a reasonable fee.
How Can A Tenant Maintain Their Garden If They Don’t Qualify For Help?
Basic garden maintenance that tenants are required to manage on their own includes the following:
- removal of weeds
- pruning of ivy, hedges, shrubs and trees
- cutting of grass
- adequate and timely removal of garden waste
Tenants (and not landlords) are primarily responsible for managing their gardens whether they rent privately, from the council or a housing association.
The Birmingham City Council requires tenants to follow the below guidelines for garden maintenance as per their tenancy agreement:
- Garden areas should be kept tidy.
- Failure to maintain a garden well and free from rubbish can lead to the council charging tenants with a fine or carrying out the required work and charging the tenant.
- If tenants do not maintain their gardens despite being asked to by the council, they can ask the courts for an injunction order or claim possession of your council home.
- Plants and trees in a tenant’s garden should not be overhanging on their neighbour’s property.
- Tenants are not supposed to store anything in the garden area. This includes, but is not limited to rubbish, indoor furniture, household appliances, inflammable materials or gas.
Does Garden Maintenance Include Tree Cutting?
While maintaining your garden includes pruning branches of trees and making sure that they are not causing an inconvenience to neighbours with overhanging branches, tenants are not supposed to cut down trees without the permission of their local council.
Trees are protected in the UK and some of the trees fall under the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or belong to conservation areas; which makes it illegal to cut them down.
As per UK law, the council office is responsible for maintaining and protecting the trees in their district. It is part of their duties to conduct regular inspections to make sure that residents are not being affected by diseased trees or that the trees are not causing obstruction of the vision of drivers on the adjacent streets.
If residents wish to prune the branches of a tree, they can do so on their own; without council intervention. Trees of neighbours with branches overhanging one’s property should be pruned after mutual discussion with the neighbour and the branches that are cut off should be handed over to the owner.
However, before undertaking any tree work, residents should find out about the ownership of a tree and discuss or seek permission as the case may be.
The above content clarifies that while there are individuals who can get help from the council to maintain their gardens at a chargeable fee, they must be elderly, disabled, have a long-term illness or live alone. Anyone who qualifies for council help can search for their local council’s contact and apply for garden maintenance for elderly or disabled council tenants.
FAQs: Can The Council Help With Gardening?
How much do gardening services cost in the UK?
Gardening services in the UK cost an average of £25 per hour. This means that a day’s work in the garden by hiring someone can cost you between £200 to £400.
Can Age UK help with gardening?
Yes, Age UK runs a trusted gardening service for elderly residents. You can visit the Age UK website for details and inquire if you qualify for their help.
Can the elderly get help with gardening?
Yes, the elderly can get help with gardening from their council office. This is only possible if they live alone or have no one else to maintain their garden.
How does gardening help people with disabilities?
Gardening chores have a tremendous impact on individuals with disabilities and can significantly raise their motor skills with simple tasks such as planting seeds and watering plants.
How does gardening reduce dementia?
Specially designed gardens called Therapeutic Gardens that aim to stimulate the senses and memory and are said to have a positive impact on individuals suffering from dementia.