To many people, the idea of living out in the countryside is a very romantic one. It’s a picture painted of long-held ideals, where every morning you wake up to the sight of sweeping nature or rolling farmland. The afternoons are peaceful and the nights quiet, all away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities. It can live up to that ideal. But it can also be a real hassle. Whether you’re moving out to the countryside or just hoping to make your country home a little more accommodating, here are a few issues to watch out for and what to do about them.
Prepare your sinuses
Between 10% and 30% of people are sensitive to allergens, with the most common allergen sensitivity being hay fever, the sensitivity to pollen. Of course, if you live anywhere near the countryside as a hay fever sufferer, you should know perfectly well what to expect. You will constantly be exposed to allergens outdoors and if you’re not careful, you can bring them inside, as well. Allergens have a much worse effect in cases of prolonged exposure, so set some ground rules for the house. This includes taking off boots before you get into the interior of the home and immediately changing into clean clothes when you do. An air purifier in the home can do your sinuses a lot of good, as well.
The worst of the weather
Pollen is just one of the ways that nature seems to battle you out in the wilderness. If you are anywhere near trees, then windy and rainy days can seem to target your home directly. Unlike in the suburbs, where you have other homes around yours to take some of the punishment, lone country houses tend to feel the worst of the weather. Make sure you secure doors and windows carefully if you don’t want to constantly hear rattling. But be even warier of your gutters. Have a gutter cleaning tool at hand, because leaves, twigs, and other natural debris can clog them up regularly out in the countryside, which can lead to internal leaks, damp, and mold.
What hides in the wilderness
Trees might not be the only surrounding features you have to worry about. In general, the countryside is much quieter than suburbs and city homes, there’s no doubt about that. However, depending on your area, it might not be quite as quiet as you were expecting. If you’re close to a quarry, the sounds of digging might shatter the peace of the area. If you’re near hunting grounds, it might be gunshots that jolt you out of your daydreams instead. Even farms produce plenty of noise. Beyond picking the location of your home carefully, take steps to soundproof the house as best as possible so that you can reduce your exposure to environmental noise to a happy minimum.
A few extra houseguests
Of course, being surrounded by nature is one of the big appeals of countryside living to many people, especially those that live anywhere near the woods. But when nature gets a little too close, it becomes more than a distraction, it can become a crisis. Do be aware of what animals live near you. Rodents, raccoons, bats, opossums and other small animals can easily find a home in your home or end up accidentally trapped. Some of these might not necessarily be safe to try and remove, yourself. It’s a good idea to get to know your local wildlife removal team. For pest infestations, keep an eye out for droppings and other evidence of their presence such as scratching noises and unexplained marks on the furniture or the walls.
It’s becoming less of a problem as the internet becomes more and more accessible, but you should be aware of any connection issues in the area. For instance, you might very well be unable to get download speeds anywhere near what you might get in the city. There are sites that allow you to see network coverage in your area, so you know exactly what options are open to you. It’s important to be aware of how far your wireless coverage works, as well. In some cases, getting five feet from your home might cut you off from the net, entirely, so keep that in mind so you don’t find yourself stranded and unable to reach anyone.
All about those pipes
Your internet and phone networks are far from the only utility you have to be concerned about. Not every countryside home is connected to a shared source of water, so it’s important that any home inspection you pay to carry out takes into account the full story of the plumbing. If you discover you have a septic system, then find out where it is and what kind of condition it’s in. Arrange a test of different taps to figure out which water is drinkable, and which water sources might be contaminated. The idea of pouring water you don’t have to be concerned about is a quaint memory for many out in the wild.
Go your own road
For you, country living might mean a commute from your home to a nearby community. Making sure that your route isn’t too out-of-the-way, and you can do it regularly is an important part of enjoying life out there in the wild. But another aspect of the road to be concerned about is the fact that you might very well own a part of it. Most country homes connect to publicly owned roads, but many of them also have a stretch of private road that they’re responsible for. If you are responsible for a stretch of privately owned road, then make sure you find a road maintenance company to help you keep on top of it. It won’t demand your attention too often, but it is highly important you look after your road.
Water, water, everywhere
Another reason to be concerned about the specific location of the home is the proximity of water. In particular, you have to be concerned about whether your home is at any risk of flooding when any nearby rivers overflow. There are flood charts to help you which zone your home is in. If it’s in a home that has any risk of flooding, then make sure that your home insurance agreement covers it. Whether it does, or it doesn’t, then you should look into floodproofing methods, as well. You might not be able to stop the rising tide, but by installing a sewage water backstop or landscaping a stormwater runoff, you can minimize the potential damage it could do to the home.
Plenty of mud, too
It’s by no means as serious as flooding, but mudding can be a lot more ubiquitous and much more of a regular nuisance. If you live out in the country and spend plenty of your time out amongst it, then you’re going to have your boots in the mud very often indeed. You might not be too concerned with getting dirty, but if you have to regularly deal with mud tracks, your opinion on the matter is going to change very quickly. If you’re buying a countryside home or just trying to make it easier to clean, make sure you have space set aside for a mudroom. There are both interior and exterior mudrooms, so don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of space in the hall. Just give yourself a place to put your dirty boots away before you get into the house proper.
Is it safe?
When people compare urban areas to rural areas, one of the quickest assumptions is that there’s going to be a lot more crime in the city. Indeed, crime rates are higher, but that doesn’t mean that the country is entirely safe, either. In a lot of cases, you might not have the watchful neighbors acting as a deterrent to any potential thieves. For that reason, it’s a good idea to invest in a little extra security. A closed looked camera feed, reinforced doors, and windows, and light timers can all offer you a little more piece of mind.
Remember what you love about it
Running through the points above might sound like a horror story to anyone thinking of living in the country. Of course, the trust is that while those threats are truly present, not all of them are as serious or as commonly occurring as others. There are plenty of scientifically backed reasons to love living in the countryside. Being surrounded by greenery has a positive effect on mental health. Air quality is much better, by and large. You are even more likely to have lower bills if you live in the country, as compared to the city. The hassles of country living are more than worth it to many people out living in it.
It doesn’t matter where you live, it’s going to have its ups and downs. You have to be willing to take action to minimize the bad, so you can better enjoy the good.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post.