We’ve all heard of kerb appeal, where our front gardens and doorways are kept spick and span to make the best first impression possible on potential house buyers. But how can we most fully present the rest of our outside area to ensure viewers want to buy into our lifestyle, our outlook, our space.
In a recent survey* potential house buyers rated having a garden as their third top priority after central heating and double glazing. So make sure your outside space is working hard to entice house buyers to pick your home over another.
Looking at average home sizes and average garden sizes in the U.K., your garden is potentially the same size as your entire ground floor! This is a significant space that can’t be ignored.
Firstly, the obvious. Keep the lawn mowed, hedges trimmed and flower beds neat and tidy. Fix that wobbly paving slab and ensure fences are upright.
Kids and pets are the biggest fans of outdoor space. House buyers with children and/or pets will be those in greatest need of a garden But make sure your own dependants influence and imprint is kept in check. Childrens toys are kept tidy, store away any not in immediate use. Clean away evidence of pet use.
If the garden needs some vamping up then there are some easy and budget friendly ways to introduce a quick wow factor. The old brown wooden shed can be easily revived into a colourful, stylish feature with a wide range of outdoor weatherproof paints available from all good diy stores. Go bright to add colour and vibrancy to a dark corner or keep it traditional with creams and on trend muted chalk tones.
With 21 million people owning a garden shed don’t underestimate its value. With sheds and outhouses used for anything from outside offices, craft studios, outdoor kitchens to essential storage for bikes, canoes and even garden tools. A shed or outbuilding will definitely appeal.
Even if you are not blessed with green fingers, garden colour can be introduced with use of seasonal bedding plants. Buy some matching or coordinating containers and plant up with a variety of plants that are readily available at your nearest supermarket as well as garden centres. Place containers on patios and terraces, alongside fences and outbuildings and anywhere that requires some colour and focus. Make sure you keep the containers well watered throughout the summer and you will be rewarded with colour for months (or until the house is sold)
If you are the next Monty Don, reign in any grand ideas. Simple sells best. With busy lifestyles people are more likely to want low maintenance space rather than tricky topiary or vast perennial filled beds.
So now the garden is looking great, but how can you present it so potential buyers can see it as part of their new home? It may look pretty but the space has to have a purpose. People aspire to hot tubs and pools, summer houses and water features. So if you have any of those already in your garden then you are halfway there. Otherwise think of zoning your garden to show how the space can be utilised. Set up a BBQ and a table and chairs so viewers can instantly see how outdoor dining might look. A hammock or lounger in a shady spot with pretty throws and cushions instantly promises relaxation.
Make sure you know the orientation of your garden. Everyone yearns for south or west facing to make the most of the sun. But a north or east facing area is perfect for a small table and chairs for breakfast and morning coffee.
A great deal of viewings take place in the afternoons and evenings, therefore it’s worth investing in some garden lighting so potential buyers can see what you are offering. Free standing solar lights are inexpensive and can quickly add some ambience to a garden at dusk and beyond.
Invest time in preparing your garden for selling and it will pay dividends. A well maintained garden can add an impressive 20% to your property value – that’s £60,000 based on the current UK price.
All we need now is a good British summer to show off your growing glory to its best!
*GoCompare mortgages April 2016 asked 2000 house buyers their top priorities when looking for a future home.