Know What To Look For When Buying Rural Property

Country living is increasingly popular but rural property buyers must be cautious.

With food and energy prices soaring and population centers exploding; many people who possess a pioneering spirit are exploring outlying rural areas so they can create a new homestead. Many intrepid individuals are buying land to hold for now, and gradually planning to build on it and move there at some later point in their lives.

However, unlike buying a generic house in a typical subdivision, country living involves analyzing various factors before one even plants the first stakes and tomato plants in the ground. With urban properties you there's no urgent need to concern yourself with water rights, boundary lines, property access, utilities, or hard-up bulls. When looking at rural properties there are vital areas that should be considered before making that purchase. Some important factors to consider are:


We often take climate for granted when living in an urban area as it involves little more than looking out the window to see whether short sleeves or umbrellas are in order. Is it hot, cold, wet or dry?

In the country it can be a different experience. Sure, the sun glistening off the morning dew can take on a whole new meaning, but so does a torrential downpour of rain that makes the road to your home impassable or transforms your lovely green meadow into a big brown mud pit.

If the area is prone to freezing temperatures, then clearing a long dirt road of three foot snow drifts is a dilemma that needs to be considered.

Forces of nature can also affect the property values and insurance rates. You’ll also want to consider variations in temperature, humidity, rain, hail, snow, drought, floods, lightning, dust storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. It pays to be aware of how the area is affected by all four of the seasons.


Without access to water, even the most beautiful land is a non-starter. If the property does not have access to a sufficient water supply, then it may render the property nearly worthless. After all, just one person can use 50-100 gallons per day, and a robust vegetable garden might use nearly as much.

In rural areas the expense and effort can go much farther than the simple turn of a faucet tap. Simply getting running water can require a generator, pump, pipeline, holding tank, and a well.

You may be informed that everyone has wells in the area but that is no guarantee you’ll find underground water. And drilling wells can be a hit or miss proposition, with large costs involved, only to end up either not finding water, or that it’s been contaminated by pesticides.

Finally, don’t be misled by rushing rivers and surging streams when exploring properties in the spring and early summer, as this is likely the peak flow rate for the year.


When looking at a site for building your country house you must determine soil conditions, drainage patterns, slopes. For example, surface soils that expand and contract during freezing temperatures or do not drain properly can devastate the house’s foundation.

Of course soil conditions will also impact your gardening or farming plans. Areas with lots of wild vegetation can indicate good top soil conditions. On the other hand, soil that is parched and light in color and the roots of trees and bushes have been exposed indicate that your topsoil is eroding.


It’s important to know your rights with regards to access to the property. In certain cases, you may need to gain entry to your property by using an easement or right-of-way. This gives you the right to travel across property owned by another person. Use of this entry way could require negotiations and legal papers, so it’s essential to know about this before committing to a property.

Another factor to consider with property access is emergency response times. Larger emergency-response vehicles such as a fire truck may not be capable of traversing over small or poorly maintained roads or an ambulance may not readily find a poorly marked parcel.

Boundary Lines:

In order to minimize boundary line disputes, most states have implemented laws that state you must have a fence to keep roaming animals off your property.

If you do not have an appropriate fence installed per local regulations, and the neighbor's big burly bull wanders onto your property and tramples your tomatoes and dents your Dodge, you’ll have no legal recourse. Most rural property fanciers never conceive of this until after the fact.

In order to avoid litigation, you must perform the legal research to stay abreast of property statutes.


Many states have zoning laws which mandate that rural landowners accept all the activities and operations of neighboring farmers and ranchers, including smelly cow manure and dream-ruining roosters. Urban-escaping property owners must accept these disturbances as long as they are operating within the constraints of the law.

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First things first - As the name suggests, raised bed gardening involves planting your plants in a bed that is off the ground rather than planting directly into the soil. Raised beds come in all different sizes, and there are many different kinds of receptacles for raised beds, depending on the size and where you want to hang the beds.

The ability to manage the soil is one of the most significant benefits of using the raised bed. Because you choose and mix the ground yourself, you can create the perfect soil environment for the plants you want to grow. That means even if you're going to grow plants that don't typically thrive in your area because of your local soil composition, you can grow them in raised planters in which you have created the perfect soil for those plants.

There are other benefits to raised areas as well, even if the soil is not an issue in your area. Another significant advantage to consider is the way the raised beds let you target the use of things you put on your garden. Apply fertilizer and mulch where they are needed - and there only - so you end up using less and do not accidentally apply these things where they are not required. If you use chemical pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, you can use a smaller amount of them, and again, you can target their use. Because you apply them only to the raised bed, you don't have to worry about runoff or the effects these chemicals can have on your pets or kids who play in your yard. All in raised bed gardening makes for more efficient planting.

One great benefit of a raised gardening bed that is the fact that the planting area is, in fact, elevated. Since the garden is not ground level, it is much easier to tend. Garden enthusiasts with back problems will love being able to see their plants and manage them without bending over and dealing with hours of painful work. Raised areas are ideal for people with joint pain and injuries that make it difficult for them to garden traditionally.

Although raised garden beds have all of these benefits and make different kinds of gardening possible in areas where the soil is not ideal, the beds can't trump every problem a garden may face. You still need to consider the climate in your area and choose plants accordingly - raised planters or not, and tropical plants won't grow in snowy climates. Also, you will still need to pay attention to what level of sunlight your garden area gets and choose your plants with that in mind. Further, although most people with raised beds deal with less pest infestation, you will still need some way to deal plant-munching insects. Even though raised beds can't fix everything, however, they are still a great option when soil limits the way you garden.

Lawrence L. Hoyle, author, 57 years in the Landscape Profession. Check out his main website at: This website has free Landscape help for Do-It-Yourselves and a online Landscape Design Services for Homeowners, Landscape Contractors and Home Builders. Designing online since 2003 with designs in 40 states. Get Your Special Landscape Design today.!

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