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Top tips for wildlife gardening at home

Property Reporter
22nd June 2022
Wildlife 350

Gardens are well known for influencing house prices, with 92% of house-hunters in a Homebuyer Wishlist report citing the garden as the most important feature. But many overlook the extra value that a wildlife-friendly garden creates.

Estate agents and garden wildlife experts reveal how wildlife-friendly gardens could add up to £27k of value to a house, based on average house prices.

From introducing birdfeeders and water features to choosing bee-friendly flowers and wildflower lawns, there are many ways wildlife can be welcomed into gardens. Plus, it could add up to £27,000 to the average UK home, according to research.

Research by BBC Gardeners’ World in 2021 found that 54% of respondents were creating an uncultivated area in their garden, an 11% increase on 2020. There are now over 1,000 ‘wild garden’ boards on Pinterest, highlighting just how many people are looking for ideas on the topic.

Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at MyJobQuote, comments: “A well-designed wildlife garden could add between 5% and 20% to your house value, depending on its size and your location.”

To help those looking to boost their home’s value and attract potential buyers, Sean McMenemy – garden wildlife expert and director of Ark Wildlife – has put together his top tips for wildlife gardening and gathered insight from estate agents and property buying experts.

Appeal to people’s aspirations

Jonathan Rolande, founding member of The National Association of Property Buyers and director of House Buy Fast, says: “When people walk into a house, pleasant smells can help them imagine themselves living there. A wildlife-friendly garden, full of fragrant flowers, can really contribute to this, potentially helping you sell the house quickly and for more.

“People also buy into a certain kind of lifestyle when they view a property – and many visualise themselves looking after a nice garden. Subconsciously, they’ll then prefer the property and may pay a bit more for it.”

Sean McMenemy advises planting bee-friendly flowers to help achieve this: “In recent years, the importance of bees as pollinators has been widely recognised and conservation efforts are underway. You can play your part by planting flowers like geraniums, lavender and open dahlias, or herbs such as marjoram, sage and chives. Then your garden will look and smell great, and you’ll be helping bees to spread flowers and fruit around the neighbourhood.”

Take a step back from maintenance

Nick Lewis-Smith, director at Michael Anthony estate agents, says: “Even the smallest garden or outdoor space is more likely to add value to a home if it’s lush and somewhere that looks natural enough to attract wildlife. And although gardens need maintenance, gardening to welcome wildlife means adopting a lighter touch with that maintenance.”

Sean McMenemy says: “More grass means more habitats for all kinds of animals. You can achieve a beautiful look with a mix of grasses and wildflowers, helped along by using wildflower seed balls. Just remember to plan it carefully, so it looks designed, rather than neglected.”

Strike a balance

George Clover, Partner at Helmores Estate Agents, says: “Most people like wildlife and in smaller gardens they could be adding a pond or big bug hotel or planting specific plants and flowers to attract insects and birds. This means that gardens can be beautiful and usable but still attract wildlife for pleasure and the good of the ecosystems we share.

A well-designed garden that incorporates all the elements for enjoyment and wildlife could add up to 10% on the average UK property over a bare garden. That said, a wildlife garden could be completely left to nature, which is great for wildlife but not appealing to a lot of buyers.”

Sean McMenemy recommends water features as a fantastic way to strike this balance: “Sources of water provide habitats for frogs, newts, dragonflies and, of course, visiting birds in need of a bath. The best position for a water feature is somewhere that enjoys plenty of sunlight. You can attract more wildlife to it by placing plants, flowers and logs around it, which will also improve the look for homebuyers. I’d go for bird baths over ponds when considering adding house value, depending on your property type, as ponds could steer away families with young children in need of a safe garden space.”

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