Standards for property exterior?

My most recent guest marked me a 3 on Value, 4 on accuracy, and 4 overall because she thought the yard wasn’t well maintained and characterized the patio as “unusable” because it was littered with leaves from a storm that moved through the night prior to their arrival.

I agree a little; I’d just bought several dozen plants and trees for this year’s landscaping project. Most of them were in the ground by the time she arrived, but there were containers and tools out in various beds. In retrospect the containers looked garbage-y and I should have put them directly in the recycle. We continued to get rain throughout their stay, so I never set the patio up for use (dragging out cushions) and couldn’t clean the leaves until they dried after their visit.

Although I mention that guests can use the yard, I guess I didn’t realize I was being “graded” on that like I do with the suite itself. The suite is immaculate. The yard is mowed and is better kept than most on the block, but I have neither the resources nor interest to make it resort quality. I’m certainly not hand-picking wet leaves off the concrete!

I noticed the Airbnb Plus listings have requirements for the exterior, but I’ve never heard guidelines for regular listings? What are your personal standards? Do you even allow guest use of your gardens? After this review I feel like locking them out of the backyard.

Your guest is a jerk. My new guest just messaged me how happy she is with the space, and my yard looks like it should have junked cars on blocks sitting in it – it’s been so rainy I haven’t been able to mow for over a week, some of the weeds are knee high.


I don’t list my (urban) garden for that reason! What if there were a dog poop or something (I clean every day of course, but the dog has a flap so might poop when I am out). What if there were weeds? No, not worth opening myself up to criticism. If the weather is exceptionally good I might invite them to eat or drink on the patio, but that’s a bonus.

I only list that the rear courtyard can be used by guests; the rest of our garden is up 14 steep, concrete steps. The first year we moved in, I had to battle with bind weed brought in from the neighbouring field on diggers (new extension) and total neglect. Strange the number of guests who scamper up the steps, completely ignoring the pretty courtyard . Second year I hard landscaped about 150ft x 50ft, more this year and have copious pots, containers and tools around all sorts of places. Tough; I’m a working gardener, and if you do want to see my still early cottage garden, I’m happy to show you it in its infancy. I have hundreds, literally, of plastic pots just outside the back door in trugs, because no one will recycle them these days. No one has dinked me for such an intrusive reason yet; it’s my garden and whoever dared to do so would get a tongue lashing for having invaded my space!!!

We’ve had monstrous storms, followed by heatwaves, and now a small beetle bug invasion that is sapping my beloved roses and flowers for the house of colour. I could have wept today as I dead headed everything down to buds.

So, another wanker of a guest, and not a subject I am passionate about! Perhaps say in your listing that the garden is a work in progress and a labour of love.


They sound like an entitled jerk. Unlike some countries most of us don’t have live in “servants” from poor countries to keep the house clean and the yard immaculate. I discourage people from using my backyard because that is where the ducks and chickens are and it gets pretty muddy in winter which washes down to the back patio and I can’t keep it clean. It’s in the rules and one of the few notices I put up on the door. I leave a chair outside the door so if they do open it to look see they won’t got outside and tread in duck shit and then come back inside. Having said that no one in 200 guests has complained. I did get someone suggest I put some nice resort style outdoor furniture for the front deck but they wouldn’t say that if they were here when a 50km/hr storm came in and blew it all onto the grass. The one bench out there is attached to a very thick chain which is not for security purposes but to stop it blowing away.

And it should have been obvious you were landscaping. I have nice picture windows out the from overlooking the sea but after a storm they get crusted with salt. I can go and wash them down but if there is another storm on the way what is the point?

1 Like

Sadly some people don’t understand that a porch or patio is out-of-doors this subject to rain, blowing leaves, mulch washing across, and heaven forbid a heavy dusting of pollen overnight.

More power to you for having the energy to have and enhance your garden.!! All gardens like a teenager must go through its growing phase, development and awkward phase before it becomes beautiful.


It’s actually nice when you have guests who appreciate the work you put into the garden isn’t it? I had one woman staying who noticed the new Lillie Pillies I had just planted bending over in a storm while they were here so she gave me some tips on staking them. I went away and bought the stakes and some stockings and she staked and secured them for me. Given I am disabled it saved me a lot of work. Now they are coming to stay for a week for free as caretakers when I am on holiday as I know they will take care of the place. Well she will, her girlfriend was happy to just sit on the deck and drink cocktails and watch :slight_smile:


I would only see these comments as fair if your prominently feature the yard in your photos. I could see a guest being upset if they see immaculate gardens and show up to something else.

Our garden and pool are more or less our main marketing ploy as there aren’t too many places reasonably near to the city where guests can get a small apartment with a shady garden and a pool almost to themselves.

That said, we make it clear in our listing that the garden is “casual” and might not always be perfectly-groomed! We have several pine trees so falling needles when there’s a breath of wind and also lots of birds nesting and you know what that means … We only have one House Rule which is “skim before you swim”! and guests seem to be perfectly happy to do that. Several have even offered to do the watering when they see us start to do that in the evening and we gladly accept!

A garden is a live, growing thing. It’s not like a room or an apartment which you can lock the door on and it will exactly the same when you return. I’m sure most of your guests will know that and I should ignore the mean-spirited comments from that guest.

1 Like

Unfortunately there will always be fussy, entitled guests. Perhaps you could remove the yard from the amenities/listing and so they don’t expect it to be part of the experience? Our yard looks junky at times but I’ve never had a guest complain. We don’t really highlight or advertise the backyard though, except to say there is one if they want to use it.

1 Like

Yay! I’ve found someone who recycles plastic plant pots. Unfortunately they are in Cornwall, SW England, and don’t collect this far, but they make bespoke house and other signs out of the recycled product. We have a name plate on the wall, in slate, which most people seem to miss, then go into the pub because the names are similar, and they see their hanging sign. The Landlord does get fed up re-directing, even though most of our guests go back to eat there. But the very best thing is that the recycled product looks just like slate! I sent a photo and they have matched the very colour and font, with holes to hang it on an old piece of oak. I’m now going to use it to measure people’s IQ.

I have a 550 sq ft paver patio with lots of furniture and potted plants on it that will be a challenge to keep up ( dusty dirt, critter leavings…) and will be in the photos. I am going to remove weeds and rake areas near to the patio, and put some gravel in the entry / parking area, and I hope that will be enough. I’m guessing I should take pictures that show these exterior spaces in this kind of basic condition, so folks are pleasantly surprised if I forge ahead with aggressive landscaping or something else later. Interesting topic and replies! Thanks!

Do you think I should take the backyard picture out of my listing? Or put more verbiage in about “WORK IN PROGRESS!”

I feel like the “owner’s home” listings are so mixed in now with Hotel & Resort listings that it’s making expectations difficult to manage. :thinking:

Here’s the “brochure view” (complete with leaves on the ground because that’s how I roll!)

and this is what that guest saw, plus some empty plant containers and more leaves I cleaned up. (But look how many more plants and trees!) There are def. some weeds in the beds you can’t see well.

I don’t keep the cushions out all the time. It’s definitely cuter with the cushions. The house manual tells them they’re welcome to pull the cushions out of the garage.

1 Like

I like what Cyn suggests, not advertise the back yard as an amenity but let guests know via a card or mentioning they are welcome to venture into the back yard and garden sitting area to relax. (Be sure to have an outdoor broom tucked in a corner that they can utilize to sweep away the leaves and do have the cushions in place when you’re having guests.)

This is great advice, thanks.

I’ve removed the backyard pictures and any mention of use in the listing/amenities, so hopefully that resolves the problem. In my “welcome” e-mail I mentioned they can use the backyard (and where to find the cushions), but that it’s the last of the property being renovated, so excuse my dust.

While I put them out on a nice day, I really can’t have the cushions in place all the time for guests. It’s outdoors in an area with no cover, so they’d be ruined in a season between bird poop, rainstorms, and walnut tree detritus.