Taking care of the outside
PUBLISHED: 16:08 29 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:08 29 February 2016
Will gardening put a spring in your step?
With springtime – allegedly – around the corner, many home owners will be relishing the prospect of the list of tasks awaiting their best efforts in their gardens – be they large or small, all lawn and bed or all patio and pots. Some will thumb through plant catalogues, recording “must have” additions to their flower beds and approaching the to-do list with military precision; others visit their nearest plant nursery popping things in their trolley on a more ad-hoc basis; some gardens will have been hard-at-work all through the winter months, providing everything for the family embedded in the self-sufficiency dream; some will have been hibernating whilst the inclement weather means the joys of outside entertaining have lost their allure.
If you are selling a house, what should you be doing to attract buyers to your home in the same dizzying numbers as insects to your garden? This is a conundrum. Some people will view an unkempt garden and rub their hands with glee at the prospect of a “blank canvas” and the happy hours of work ahead, but others will back away – with speed. Some will look at the simplicity of a beautifully manicured lawn and be thrilled by the prospect of the hours sitting on a ride-on mower, whilst others will envisage replacing the whole lot with paving slabs. Prospective purchasers might look at your beautifully tended and nurtured vegetable plot and immediately empathise with The Good Life, and yet some would run a mile at the thought of having to upkeep the “food for the table” idyll.
If you are in the market for selling your home, you need to be aware that the money you spend on your plants and your landscaping will probably not add significant value. If you have spent £20,000 on landscape gardening, it will sadly not add the same value onto your asking price. If you put in a beautiful greenhouse, you won’t get the cost of that back through a sale; but, ironically, if you popped an Orangery onto your house, and had whimsical planting and a trailing vine within, you would in all likelihood be able to add some tangible pound signs to your property value.
Manicured lawns and exquisite flower beds will always help with the overall vision of a property – there is no doubt that viewings will be more positive if the outside is as cared for as the inside of a home – but the real value is more than likely found in the lifestyle aspects of your garden. Patios, barbeque areas, pizza ovens, outdoor offices, even the ubiquitous shed (of the Homes & Gardens type, rather than the haphazard potting shed variety!) will all add value – both to the actual asking price, but also in the minds’ eye of would-be buyers.
If we are doing a valuation for your home before you put it up for sale, then ask our team what improvements you can make that would be worth your spending money on. There is no point investing thousands of pounds if it is not going to give you a good return. On the other hand, it might be sensible for you to spend a little something that gives a subtle “wow” factor. Some of the things you put in your garden can be inventoried and bartered over – and some you will want to take with you.
If you’re about to start showing your house for viewings, you will need to de-clutter your outside space with as much attention to detail as you would your home. Tidy away the children’s toys and the dog’s tennis balls; dress the seating areas; give the shed a spring clean – people want to envisage where they will keep their own garden tools and like to see the space potential; if you have piles of wood, or random lots of bricks or stones, make sure they are artistically piled up if you can’t get rid of them. When I sold my house, the pile of random wood in my garden became “an insect hotel”…
Gardening is a personal pleasure and gardens are, of course, done to very individual taste: as with interior design, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No matter how your garden grows, there will always be a part of it that appeals to someone: the expert, the novice, the vegetable guru, the flower arranger – and those that still look for fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Strutt & Parker, 37 Lower Bridge Street, Chester CH1 1RS 01244 354888