Thinking of opening your garden this year ?  

Here is a list of question and answers that might help you. 
Is my garden suitable for opening?

There is no set criteria for a suitable garden. The most important thing is that if you enjoy walking around or sitting in your garden then other people will feel the same. 
It can be big or small. You can open your front or back garden or both.

Do I need to know the names of all of my plants?
No, knowing the names of some may be helpful but if you are like me I just look at the picture of the plant, colour and when it flowers etc and plant it where ever I have a space.

Do I have to open both days?
No you can choose to open just 1 day which ever suits you.

How many people do I expect at any one time?
This will vary throughout the day. The most I have had at one time is about 20 but many were sitting having a cuppa. Mostly about 6 at a time is average.

How many people do I expect over the weekend?
Again this can vary. We have had on average about 200 visitors over the weekend but they don’t all visit every garden. During your first year of opening you may have more as people like to visit new gardens.

What do I have to do before the weekend?
Apart from getting the garden ready of course, other things you may want to think about. 
A money float of change is useful as all gardens sell tickets and if you are selling anything else it would be essential.
There may be signs you want to put up in your garden to advise of areas where access is not permitted or where there are potential hazards 
You will need to produce a brief description of your garden for the programme

What do I have to do on the day?
On the day of opening you need to put up your open garden number sign on the edge of your property near the pavement, blow up and display your balloons on your fence/hedge so they can be seen as people walk or drive through the village.
You need to display your disclaimer noti0ce provided.
It is useful to have the odd chair for the elderly or people with disabilities to rest.
Then just enjoy – people love to talk with you and are very friendly – they realise they are guests in your garden and like to thank you for letting them look around.

Do I have to serve tea of coffee?
No. It is entirely up to you if you do anything else. Some people sell plants, or you could have a tombola, bric-a-brac stall or anything you like. Proceeds from this can either be for yourself, for the chosen charity of the open gardens or another one of your choice.

What do I do if I run out of tickets?
You will be provided with contact details for more tickets and they will bring them to you.

Will there be dogs?
It is your choice if you allow dogs into your garden, they are usually on a lead. You will need to include this information in your garden description for the programme.

What precautions should I take?
Some things to consider are highlighting with a notice, rope/tape or paint to draw attention to wobbly steps, water, slippery surfaces etc

Are there any problems that may happen?
You may be asked if someone can use your toilet. If you have an outside toilet you may be happy to make this readily available and advertise this in the programme. If you only have an inside toilet it is your choice if you allow people to use it. My experience is that it tends to be only requested for children. It is always advisable to accompany into your house and wait while they use your facilities. Some people may try to take cuttings from some of your plants, take it as a compliment.

Is there a security risk?
In all the years of opening my garden I have never suspected anyone who visited as having any other motive than viewing the garden. If you are concerned you could close your curtains to prevent people looking into your house and ensure that either you lock your doors or have someone sitting outside your door.

Am I insured?
We have contacted several of the main insurers and generally all house insurers cover such events in terms of public liability but you would not be insured for theft during the event. If you contact your insurance company ask to speak to someone who has knowledge of this area as we have found that frequently the person answering the phone cannot answer your query and may initially tell you that you are not insured.  We have not yet found a company that does not insure you for such an event. Some may ask for prior warning that you are opening your garden. 

How do I see other people’s gardens?
If you have someone else manning the garden with you this will allow you to visit other gardens on the weekend.