Posted on 7th September 2017

Gardens Top the Chart as the Most Invested in 'Room' in the House

Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property
Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property

When making your property desirable to sell, you need to make some investments to make it look its best. While new plastering or flooring might make a huge difference, the ‘room’ that gets the most attention is, in fact, the garden. Making the garden look its best can really appeal to a potential buyer.

Recent research* found that, on average, people spent £2,000 on their gardens and yards in the past two years, with one in four saying they spent more than £3,000. When compared to spending on interior decorating, half of those questioned said they spent the same or more making the exterior of their house look attractive as they had on the interior.

According to Yopa.co.uk, a well-kept garden can add up to 20% to your property value, so it’s no surprise that homeowners are investing. It may come as a surprise, but according to the research, plants were fifth on the list of items people were spending their money on. Planters and pots were the most popular purchase, followed by garden furniture, barbecues, outdoor lighting, and then plants.

One explanation for this is a current trend for the Mediterranean lifestyle, with garden owners wanting to enjoy al fresco dining in a beautiful environment. Although, if you’re looking to enjoy dinner in the garden in the North East, a savvy investment might be an industrial strength patio heater!

Another explanation could be the rise in popularity in recent years of gardening programmes, such as Ground Force and Garden Rescue, that show viewers how to turn their outdoor room into a relaxing haven with relatively little effort. The addition of some funky pots, some comfortable furniture and colourful lights can add a lot of character and make your property stand out.

However, it is worth remembering when you’re making your garden investment that simplicity sells. A potential buyer could be put off if it looks as if your yard takes hours and a lot of effort, (or even an advanced topiary course) to keep it looking immaculate. If your aim is to add value to the property, avoid anything that will cause the new owners too much hassle, such as koi carp ponds or an ivy wall covering. Like any room of the house, the buyer needs to look at the garden and imagine themselves living there. If it looks like too much effort, they’ll instantly rule it out.

If you’re buying furniture and accessories to decorate the area, stick with classic colours and shapes. While you might love the bright pink pots or a bench that looks like a giant banana, this could send a potential buyer running for the hills. This might seem odd, particularly when you consider that your purchases will be coming with you to your new home, but people considering the purchase may not be able to imagine the garden without your personality. Choosing neutral colours will help potential buyers to imagine their own furniture out there, without detracting from the surroundings.

Another great investment is a shed. Sheds are the must-have garden accessory, whether you’re using it to store your lawn mower, or to write your memoirs, a la David Cameron. Make sure you keep it painted, free from moss and rust, and locked, to deter unwanted visitors. If you’ve got the room for one, your garden will stand out much more with a shed.

We often forget about the garden when we prepare our property for sale, but it’s unwise to do so. It’s potentially the first thing a buyer will see, and good or bad, it will certainly leave a lasting impression.

*Research by JD Williams Home

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.