Help with buying an estate

Bor Borren permaculture

‘I want to buy forest soil. Is it suitable for an edible forest garden?’

‘The building plot I want to buy has a risk of high tide. Can I do something about this?’

‘I can purchase extra estate next to my house. Is it suitable for permaculture?’

Sometimes I receive questions about estates and if they are suitable for permaculture and/or edible forest gardens. This looks like a simple question, but unfortunately there is not just one easy answer. But, it is a good question to start with, because in this way you discover if your estate is appropriate for your wishes. I can guarantee you that I can change your vision on your estate and nature itself!

There are multiple elements I keep in mind:

  • Personal wishes and goals
  • The budget
  • The condition of the soil
  • Whether there is water or how high the groundwater is
  • The usual Dutch reference of the water level (NAP)
  • Which ways there are to enter the estate
  • The history of the estate
  • What is present and how we can use it
  • The compass directions and their effects
  • The sun and its effects
  • How the wind behaves
  • The sounds and the view
  • What is present in the environment and in its surroundings

Example of a question:

‘The building plot I want to buy has a risk of high tide. Can I do something about this?’

This building plot is part of a new building project called ‘Lievingerveld’ in Beilen, Drenthe (The Netherlands). The brochure of the project warns for high tide and says that the buyer needs to take care of this himself by making sure that the water can run off. The project is located in a stream valley and the stream is positioned on the west side of the estate. Furthermore, the estate develops from a height of 1,5 meters to the lowest point at the stream. There is also a heightened road from the south to the north which causes a dike effect. The targeted building plot is positioned on the west side of the road and this is just outside of the risk area of the high tide. However, when there is high tide, the groundwater will increase too and therefore, the house must be heightened. This can be done by using sand or concrete, but also by building the house on piles. Another option is to make swales at the borders of the building plot. These will collect the water and drain it to the stream. This new building project is actually located outside of the dike area and usually, building is not allowed there. So, this means extra costs. The potential buyers are now looking at another building plot on the west side of the road, because this one is located on the highest part of the area.

The evaluation was done by satellite pictures, the height map of the Netherlands and the soil map of the Netherlands. Also, it is based on a visual judgement on the vegetation, the history of the estate and the details of the streams.

Reaction of the buyer:

Already during my conversation with Bor, I started to look different at the estate. First, I did not want to believe that there were any problems with regard to the water, but now I have to face it. This made me decide to look at another building plot that is situated on a higher location. Also, during the conversation, it became clearer how to handle the water and how I could reuse the soil from, for example, the swales. I also didn’t realise that the westerly winds would have much effect on the building plot. So, I began to become more aware of everything that has an effect on the estate. I don’t only look at the estate itself anymore and I am able to see new possibilities. At first, a nice view was the most important, but now I know that there is way more to look at.

Do you also want help with buying an estate? You can always contact me!