As a result of the fantastic weather we're having this year, many of us are spending more time in our gardens. Whether you’re trying to sell your home, or are just keen to increase its value, giving your garden some TLC could be a quick and easy solution.
Following a 5% increase in home improvement loan applications year-on-year, Hitachi Personal Finance has consulted with a number of industry experts to determine the potential of the nation’s private gardens and outdoor spaces.
Robin Chatwin, head of Savills south west London begins by advising: “A large garden in south-west London can add a five to ten percent premium to a property’s value and where well-presented, could significantly contribute to the overall desirability of a home.”
But just how do you add that value? Hitachi Personal Finance shares insight and handy tips from a wealth of industry experts to help create a simple and effective checklist for your garden makeover.
1. Start with a tidy up
Although it won’t necessarily add value to your home, giving it a good straighten up could help you showcase its potential to prospective buyers. Scott Chandler, former Kew Gardener said: “Many of us put off the nitty gritty gardening chores, but 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. 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. Consider the potential upkeep
Robin Chatwin of Savills said: “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.
It is possible to achieve a low maintenance garden which has maximum visual impact; even a few colourful pots on a terrace or bay trees on a patio will look smart, even more so if some of the internal living areas look out to it. Ten years ago, astro turf was hardly ever seen and now it is the norm in many properties across London.”
Scott Chandler, also suggested investing in a few low maintenance tubs of the same shape, which hold water in the bottom. He advised going against different shaped pots as it can look messy and confusing. He said: “If you’re planning on hosting viewings during the summertime, most DIY stores will sell a variety of cheap bedding plants, which will add vibrant pops of colour to your garden. During the winter months, invest in a few shrubs to keep your garden looking healthy and green.”
3. Get a room
Kiarna Benson of garden building specialists, Tiger Sheds said: "Many of us would upgrade to a bigger, better home if we had the opportunity, but renovation can be incredibly expensive as well as an inconvenience. 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.
A garden building can be very attractive to a new buyer. A shed provides a convenient storage solution, helping to free up clutter from the home or garden. A summerhouse or log cabin as an outdoor room can be whatever you want it to be – a garden office, a studio, a home gym, a bar, entertaining room, games room or even a cinema room.
Most buildings will not require planning permission, so it can be a relatively simple process – but be sure to check if you’re uncertain. The possibilities of the extra space are valuable to prospective buyers, allowing them to picture how they can use their shed, summerhouse or log cabin.”
4. Create ‘zones’ within your garden
Robin Chatwin of Savills said: “A garden is like an additional room for a potential buyer and therefore it is key to show it off at its best. 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. For example, an outdoor kitchen and seating section can double as an entertaining space, while a separate children’s play area or miniature vegetable patch will help feed their imagination and understanding of nature.”
5. Make the most of the sunshine
Scott Chandler, former Kew Gardener said: “If you’re lucky enough to get some sunshine in your garden, even if it’s just a small corner, make sure to utilise it. Splashing a bit of cash on a simple patio or decking, and adding some outdoor seating will capture any potential future homeowners’ imagination and get them dreaming of summer evenings spent catching rays and relaxing with loved ones in that spot.”
6. Set the scene
Richard Bell, Chief Operating Officer of online homeware retailer Cox & Cox says: “Only the most hard-hearted house buyer doesn’t look at the garden and picture themselves relaxing in it. It’s very easy to add value and help potential buyers visualise the dream by setting the scene with a stylish dining set or some loungers, perhaps with some outdoor lights and a brazier to show that they can keep using it long after the sun goes down.”
Vincent Reboul, Managing Director at Hitachi Personal Finance said: “Our lives are so busy, having a little Eden of our own is vital, especially for those living in growing towns and cities. Not only can it improve our standards of living, but making the most of what you’ve got is also a sensible idea if you’re hoping to attract potential buyers or increase its value for the future. These tips can inspire everyone, whether they’re green fingered or not.”