Updated: May 18
The clue's in the name, of course, and, yes, research shows that gardens can add up to 20% of value to a home. Clearly, that's a significant amount. Bearing in mind that the average house in the UK is worth nearly £300,000, it doesn't need an 'A' Level maths qualification to work out that a decent garden might add more than £45,000 to the price. You suddenly like gardening, don't you? But how do you go about designing a garden?
And what do we mean by 'decent' in terms of a garden? Huge? Nope. Flat? Neh. Ornate or quirky? Definitely not that. Although there's nothing wrong with incorporating unusual features within a garden design.
Quite simply, for maximum appeal, a garden needs to be well thought-out, tidily maintained, attractive and appealing to the masses. A garden should feel like a sanctuary and an extension of the home. Ideally the flow should be easy as nobody wants a contorted journey through awkward doors just to access the outside.
This is why a well designed garden wins over a space that hasn't been given much thought. There are many reasons why it's a good idea to be pro-active with a garden design, and value of a property is just one of them.
So, now look at your own. Does it feel insignificant? Are you proud of your outside space or is it just an afterthought? If you admit to the latter, you'll be interested to discover that the majority of buyers look for these most important features:
Easy to maintain (or at least the perception at a glance)
Private and safe
Good fencing (it keeps the kids contained, and the pets too)
Storage space (we all have too much 'stuff')
Pleasant areas for relaxing and dining
Good quality paving
Space to play
People now really want a nice garden, in fact 37% of people in the UK spend more time in their garden than they did just five years ago. The outside space has become majorly important. You only need wander around a garden centre or to browse shops online to notice the demand for patio furniture, barbecues, outdoor kitchens, patio heaters, ornaments and lighting. There are certain months of the year that prevent us from spending much time outdoors, but we've effectively managed to extend the outdoor season by improving surfacing, giving ourselves shelter from wet weather and warming things up a bit.
According to recent research, people now expect to gain the following pleasures from their garden:
· Relaxation (a sense of being able to 'get away from it all')
· Gardening enjoyment: tending to plants, mowing the lawn and nurturing the space.
· Dining and socialising
And here are the main desirable features that will add the most in terms of value. They have been ordered in terms of importance:
A well-organised and sizeable shed, complete with racking and shelving.
Good quality paving
Secure boundary fence and gates
Water feature (not too large; certainly not a swimming pool which is considered hard to maintain)
A tidy, yet interesting appearance
Garden furniture arranged in a manner that is easy to access and use
The front garden is just as important, if not more so than the back. Why? It's all about kerb appeal. Just ask #kirstyandphil. Most people drive by a house before they decide to view, so you want yours to sparkle.
Here's how to impress the prospective buyers who might be cruising past:
Excellent presentation. Tidy beds and lawn, neat edges, no litter, no dead or straggly plants
Structure, shape and form: introduce some topiary if it's winter. Make it clear where the beds or lawn end and the parking or path begins
Harmony in terms of style and colour. Front door; hanging baskets; fences; plants; paving and surfacing should complement the style of the house.
Plants! People like to see greenery and it makes them feel good. A tree is great, but make sure it's a species that won't cause any problems in terms of roots, shade or sticky deposits.
Check list: rush out and improve these things before you put your home on the market:
Remove litter and dead plants
Add some colourful or shapely plants
Replace or repair damaged fences and sheds
Mow the lawn and trim the edges
Simplify any fussy shapes and remove ornaments if there are many
Make sure your garden furniture looks appealing and is easily-accessible from the house