For a lot of us – particularly flat and city dwellers – the idea of having a garden is the subject of many a day dream. Alfresco meals, home grown herbs and flowers, barbecues, summer drinks parties – what's not to love? House buyers may well be lured by a small property if there is a garden attached, so improving that outdoor space is a surefire way to add some value to your home.
From freshening up your outdoor furniture to investing in a log cabins, here are six top tips on garden improvements, from an illustrious panel of experts chosen by Hitachi Personal Finance.
For extra inspiration, see more of our garden ideas
1. Do the weeding and fix those fences
Without exactly adding value to your garden, having a good tidy up will at least demonstrate its potential to possible buyers. Brace yourself and crack on with any chores you've put off so far. Former Kew gardener Scott Chandler says, 'de-weeding your patio, fixing that wonky fence panel or simply mowing the lawn will turn a scruffy garden into a purposefully rustic outdoor area, which will go a long way when it comes to showing off how much space the property has to work with.'
'If you have grass, keep it short,' he adds. 'And if you have a patio or decking, use a pressure washer to spray away any dirt and slime, it’s much more pleasing on the eye and one less chore for the buyer.'
2. Create an alfresco dining area
Whether or not your garden is a sun-trap, make the most of any rays by adding a patio or area of decking to your garden, with a table, chairs and parasol. Chandler advises that this may help to 'capture any potential future homeowners’ imagination'. They'll be picturing themselves in your garden with a frosty beer before you know it.
3. Style it out
Don't underestimate the importance of a bit of clever styling to sell your garden. Cox & Cox's Richard Bell knows all too well the difference outdoor furnishings make. 'Help potential buyers visualise the dream by setting the scene with a stylish dining set or some loungers,' he advises. 'Perhaps with some outdoor lights and a brazier to show that they can keep using it long after the sun goes down.'
4. Create an extra room in an outbuilding
Love this look? Read more about it. Before and after: enjoy this gorgeous garden makeover with fab she shed!
While internal renovations and extensions an be extortionately expensive and inconvenient, garden buildings are far more straightforward. Kiarna Benson of Tiger Sheds comments: "An excellent way to increase the value of a property is to add a garden building.
This adds extra space and can be done at a fraction of the cost of an extension". From sheds to summerhouses or log cabins, you can utilise that outdoor room however you like – a garden bar, a work studio, an office, a gym or a little cinema room. Kiarna advises that "most buildings will not require planning permission, so it can be a relatively simple process – but be sure to check if you’re uncertain".
5. Zone your garden into different areas
By zoning your garden you'll demonstrate exactly how a potential buyer might be able to enjoy it. You could create a fantastic entertaining area with an outdoor kitchen, or design an immaculate vegetable garden. If you're selling a family home, you might want to include a designated kid's 'play' area.
'A garden is like an additional room for a potential buyer and therefore it is key to show it off at its best,' says Robin Chatwin of Savills. 'For family buyers, more outside space is often part of their search criteria and zoned areas or ‘rooms’ within the garden can be attractive, whatever the plot size.'
6. Make sure it's low maintenance
Robin Chatwin also advises considering your garden's potential upkeep. 'The key to making a garden of any size desirable is making sure that it looks appealing without making buyers anxious about its upkeep. Much like the interiors of a home, a garden is all about personal taste, so not overspending on certain design features or installations that a future buyer may remove is important.'
If you're trying to sell your home in the winter, invest in some hardy shrubs to keep your garden looking fresh and green. In the summer, cheap bedding plants will instantly add colour. A few potted bay trees do wonders at smartening up a tired looking terrace. Robin says that while astro turf was hardly seen ten years ago, 'it's now the norm in many properties across London'.
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