Buying a Home? Gauge Its Gardening Potential.

Picked out the perfect plot to plant your cottage-style dreamscape? Your new home’s soil, shade and other attributes may have different plans. Keep these garden-centric signs in mind before deciding on your dream dwelling.

For some people, one of the biggest perks to buying a home is the freedom to garden, to plant whatever they want without restrictions from landlords or managers. Just be aware that nature will still limit what you can and can’t grow.

If gardening is a priority, keep these things in mind before deciding on your dream dwelling.


You’ll find some houses with massive towering oak trees, and some with no trees at all. The level of sunlight will affect what plants you can grow. For example, if you want to plant a prairie, you won’t be able to do that in a shaded yard. However, if you’re more into Turk’s cap and inland sea oats, a shaded yard would work just fine. Also, if you intend to grow vegetables, make sure there’s at least one section that gets full sun.


San Antonio’s unique and diverse soil profile also affects what plants you can grow. The more soil you have, the more plant options there are and the easier it will be to keep plants happy and healthy. Areas inside Loop 410 and southward have very deep clay soils, while shallower soil occupies the area between Loops 410 and 1604. Outside Loop 1604 (think Stone Oak area), soil is almost non-existent.


When deciding on the right property for you, consider how much time you want to spend mowing and pruning. This will also be affected by the size of the lot the house sits on. Check out our guide to comprehensive maintenance to determine what sounds like fun and what doesn’t.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind how each of these choices will affect your water bill. If you have a massive yard in full sun and you want to grow St. Augustine grass, that will cause a serious spike in your water bill. But if you opt for a home with a small forest towering over it and grow mostly native plants, your water bill will be much lower because native plants don’t need a lot of water.

Picture of Sarah Gorton
Sarah Gorton
Sarah Gorton is a Planner with the SAWS Conservation department. She is passionate about bats and native plants, with a particular fondness for horseherb! Sarah has completed certifications through Texas Master Naturalist and Native Plant Society. When she isn't working on her research on the use of native grasses for uptaking pollutants at UTSA, she can be found making stained glass or hanging out with her two Chihuahuas.
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