Insight 23 | A Valuable Garden
“How many kinds of sweet flowers grow in an English country garden? We’ll tell you now of some that we know, those we miss you’ll surely pardon. Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox, meadowsweet and lady smocks . . .”
Forget sweet smelling roses. Wake up and smell the coffee because gardens add serious value to a home. Whether you live in a Country Manor with acres of land, formal gardens and an orchard, or you reside in an apartment with a roof terrace, a beautiful garden can increase the value of your home by 10-15%.
We took some very clever garden designers from Isola to lunch in a pretty pub garden, of course, and asked them for their top tips on how to make the garden pull its weight when selling.
Set the scene The setting of the house within the garden is important. Driving down a tree-lined, gravel driveway with well-tended gardens either side creates that wow factor. First impressions are important. So redress the gravel drive, buy two big bay trees from Waitrose and some galvanised planters from Garden Trading and pop them outside the front door. Think about planting mature trees to lead you into the home or to hide unsightly parts of the garden.
At Park Corner House we got the gardener in for the photographs and asked him to come and keep the lawn manicured a few times a week when the house was first on the market because we knew that potential buyers would be driving past and peeking through the gates. The garden was the frame for the home and it needed to be perfect. He trimmed the hedges, mowed stripes in the lawn and reinforced the edging. It was worth it as the first viewers cam along on a sunny day and immediately commented on the garden.
While you may not have a long sweeping drive you still need kerb appeal. Scented plants leading up to the front door are a good idea. It is a subtle, subconscious thing — a bit like the bakery smell at supermarkets — people sniff nice scents and that gives them a good feeling about the place before they enter. Sweet box is good, or lavender, and aromatic herbs or honeysuckle also work well. I always try to frame the front door too — it only takes a pot either side with a little topiary but it enhances the sense of arrival. Often the first thing a potential buyer sees is the front garden. It is, therefore, one of the most underrated selling tools. We make sure sellers don’t forget to add kerb appeal. Hang flower baskets and get those windows cleaned. They’re simple tips but they work.
Low-maintenance sells Most people want that rather elusive combination of a beautiful but low-maintenance garden. So get de-cluttering. Just as you would do inside, you need to do outside. Make sure there is no unruly mess lying around, random chairs, stinging nettles, long grass and old machinery. Tidy up.
The power of privacy Privacy is very important; one client said to me, I want somewhere I could sunbathe in the nude should I ever want to.” People don’t like to be overlooked too much. So if you can create privacy with the use of shrubs and trees, that is a good idea.
The outdoor room Gardens are an extension of our homes and people want dining areas, outdoor kitchens and lounges. There may only be a short British summer but we love getting the barbecue out and playing on the lawn so think about buying quality garden furniture from The Garden Furniture Centre and separating your space into different areas. Bellfield in Tanworth in Arden hired a landscaper to add an outdoor lounge and add a patio for a dining area. Dorsington Close has also had the landscapers in to design and build a sitting area and dining room.
Urban fresh air City slickers sometimes forget the idea of fresh air. But an apartment with a balcony or a terrace gives you that moment of serenity and the chance to sit out with a cup of tea on a Sunday morning. Ludgate Lofts added bamboo for privacy and made a pallet seating area to provide a cool city garden. They even grew vegetables in pots. How very The Good Life.
We see how important gardens are when buying a home. If you aren’t as green fingered as Alan or Charlie then you should seriously consider getting a garden designer in to maximise your outdoor space to add value to your home. Isola, based in Leamington Spa, have done a couple of projects on properties we have sold recently and we highly recommend them.