Additional tasks

I’m a bit non-plussed at how many homeowners expect their sitters to do the gardening while they’re in residence. I’m more than happy to keep the house clean and leave it spotless and give love and care to the four-legged family but I don’t expect to have to do the gardening. Watering plants and the garden is fine in summer but being asked to weed the garden and mow the lawns seems to me to be a step too far. I’d be interested to hear what other sitters have experienced. I know I can just not apply for these sits but should the requests even be made?


I’m a HO and certainly wouldn’t ask. Just watering when necessary and fish feeding. TBH, I don’t even mow the lawn because ‘I don’t do it right’ so certainly wouldn’t ask. The ‘expert’ can do it when we return! :wink:


I was asked whether I would mind mowing on a 4 week sit, which I agreed to. In the end, the home owners decided to pay someone to come and do it instead. It was quite a large area, involving both mowing and strimming, none of it level and some quite steep slopes. I would probably have managed it, but the location was isolated, and doing so would have increased the risk of having some kind of accident on a solo sit, so I was grateful that they changed their minds.

Home owners can ask the question, and it’s up to sitters what they agree to take on. But personal safety is something that I will factor in for future sits. You don’t really know what you’re agreeing to until you see the size of the garden, so err on the side of caution.


Lots of things like this don’t appear until you get the welcome guide that’s why I ask for it as soon as I get the sit. I am happy to water but I can’t cut a huge lawn or clean the pool, both have been requested and I declined. One had a big petrol mower with a pull start, for a small person over a certain age that would be impossible!


We are happy to do some light gardening and lawn mowing on longer sits.


We have had it suggested on a couple of sits “there’s lots of gardening to be done , if you like gardening?”

To which our reply was a firm “we’re not gardeners but we’ll be happy to water the veg patch / pots / greenhouse daily/ as required . That was accepted and understood .

We have been asked to take in parcels - we don’t mind doing that . As long as everything is agreed before the sit is confirmed and we’re not expected to wait in for couriers etc.

We did a six week sit where my husband was happy to mow the lawn once a week (with the option of a on a ride in mower to use). It was included as a responsibility in the listing on an otherwise very easy sit . So we knew before we applied this was part of the deal. We were outside in the garden most days so it was also of benefit to us to do it and less intrusive to our sit than have a gardener come in to do it .


It is one of my life’s pleasures, gardening. Weeding, watering, mowing, strimming, pruning and just generally tidying up. I am quite happy to potter around a garden. Although, i was talking with a house holder recently and she pointed out that some people cannot distinguish between plants and weeds. Guess what, her garden wasn’t touched!


We don’t mind watering plants and would be happy to mow a lawn if we did a longer sit. After all we do enjoy spending time in the garden. So far we have only had to rescue a robot mower when it gets stuck in a dip in the garden!


I really enjoy the daily inspection of the HO’s garden and landscaping plants. If I see weeds or fallen branches, I pull them, pick them, trim them.

I also eat the ripe berries, tomatoes, cucumbers and salad greens. It is meditative for me to be out in nature. I love eating outside on the patio, weather permitting.

On my current sit the forest path winds around 10 acres of heavy bush. The path must be trimmed back. I simply snap off overhanging branches while walking the dog twice a day. I don’t like brushing dripping wet leaves, being scratched by prickly Devils Club and Wild Rose thorns, or removing ticks. I keep the path clear!

The lawn service guys mow the lawns and path every two weeks (3 guys, 2 hrs). I will swing an axe on bigger dead branches in my way, but no lumberjack chainsaw work. I am alone here way out in the country.

I have negotiated bigger work chores; power washing a carport metal roof of lichen/moss, rebuilding a deck, stacking a cord of winter firewood, and refinishing 6 peeling wood windows. This gives me spending money.

I like to keep busy. This isnt a “Job”. It makes me feel proud to see my handiwork well done. I don’t work for free. If its too much, I just say No.

My HO is very generous with their large fridge stocked with food, workshop stocked full of tools, driving their Ford F150 truck weekly, and use of the tractor. I was raised on a farm, so this sitting arrangement really makes me feel at home!

This is my 3rd year here in the forest. A summer sit for 3 months, plus Invited back in 2025 for up to 12 months. I just love House Sitting…because its a wonderful life rich with experiences, for free.


I agree. Watering indoor plants & outside during the summer is ok but absolutely no for me regarding mowing and weeding.


It’s your decision to accept the sit or not. I don’t mind a bit of gardening especially if the pet care is minimal. Each to their own.

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I’m with @ElsieDownie and @DavidZ081 - I love walking around the garden, peering at plants, removing weeds, deadheading flowers, making it look neat and tidy. I hate long grass, so I would happily mow lawns so that it provides me with pleasurable short lawns to look out at!

But I’m the same inside a house too - I like to keep it neat and tidy. If I see something that might need extra dusting (like a fan, or blinds) then I will do it. My thinking is: it will have to be done at some point anyway. If I do it now, I buy the home owners some time until they have to do it again.

I’m honestly not looking for extra things to do, but my attention to detail is painfully astute, so I’ve learned to just accept it and fix these little things that continuously catch me eye. It makes me happy and doesn’t bother anyone else if their gardens and home looks extra neat.


I don’t mow or weed, or do any gardening. I’ll water some plants, not crops.

I don’t even mow my own grass — we hire that out.


I now look into this in more detail than I used to as it can be hard work. Mr Itchyfeet is very happy with a sit on mower but, other than that, we prefer to not do any gardening. We have our own garden and have to get someone in to cut our grass while we are away.

As to watering, this can be onerous if there are many vegetable patches, I have spent over an hour a day every day in the summer watering with hoses and cans.

I tend to scrutinise the photos of the garden to try and see what it entails.


It can be difficult to estimate.

I was on a sit with complicated gardening instructions. In the Welcome package there was a diagram of the garden layout with colour coding. There were two sources of water for the hoses, and some plants should be watered with cans. Fortunately the cleaning lady took care of it during my stay.


When someone says “housesitting” to me that would include normal things the homeowner does, so if the homeowner feeds their own chickens or takes care of their own garden that is what the sitting “experience” would entail.

My spouse sometimes comes with me on sits. Last summer we had a sit with a fairly extense garden – 3 different hoses! There was a video showing exactly how everything worked. This was my spouse’s fantasy, and I’ve got a photo of him gardening with joy. So I don’t think it is a bridge too far. But if gardening is out for you, don’t apply to sits that require it.


I thought I was the only one… Isn’t it nice to look at something neat and tidy.


We haven’t been asked yet to weed or mow but our longest sit has only been 2 1/2 weeks. If we ever do a longer sit and mowing is a responsibility, we can do it but I will tell them upfront that if the mower breaks down while in use, we will not pay to fix it or buy a new one.

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The way I see it is if you apply for a sit with a garden, then it’s part of their property so it needs maintaining. But if you don’t want to cut grass then either don’t apply for sits with gardens or simply discuss it with the owner if you’d rather not to see if they have a solution around it. But we’ve completed around 30 sits, and the majority have had lovely gardens, but we’ve only actually only been asked to cut the grass on 3 occasions so far as they’ve already made other arrangements. So it’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, to have only cut the grass 3 times.

But also we’re in our 50’s and 60’s and we are fully aware that as we get more aches and pains with age then we’ll have to say we can’t do gardening at all anyway.


I have in my listing that for sits longer than two weeks in the summer, a month in the winter, I ask that they use my mower to cut my rather small back yard. I have a service that does the larger area outside my back fence. I’m 72 years old, the mower is new and it takes me 30 minutes to cut it. I never ask that a sitter weed or trim hedges or weeds, no matter how long the sit. But, I live in Florida and in the summer, if my grass goes for more than two weeks without cutting, it is very difficult the next time its cut. In the the summer, I ask it to be cut every 1-2 weeks, in the winter, once a month. I have not had any trouble finding sitters for this. I have two indoor/outdoor cats, no litter boxes - a very easy sit.