Summer is here, and it’s a popular time of year for putting your house on the market. Maybe you’ve decluttered indoors, spruced up some paintwork and placed some strategic flowers around to brighten things up – but what about one of your most important assets? Is your garden really working to impress buyers?
Your garden is one of your most powerful selling tools. If you have a front garden, it’s literally the first thing potential buyers see as they approach the house. And if it’s presented well, a back garden can be like another room in the house, making the whole place seem more spacious.
Every buyer is looking for something out of a garden, whether it’s low-maintenance or potential, and as a seller, your job is to present your garden in the best possible way to meet as many of these criteria as you can. A messy, neglected garden with an overgrown lawn may well put buyers off; not only does it obviously need hard work, it sends a message that the rest of the house may be equally poorly cared for.
But don’t panic. Even if your garden isn’t exactly Open House standard, there are a few quick things you can do today to dramatically improve that first impression that won’t burn up your bank balance.
- Hanging baskets and planters
This is a quick fix that can immediately brighten up an area of the garden. It’s particularly effective for giving the front of the house an immediate facelift, or brightening up a bleak patio area. All you need are some planters and some easy options to go in them. To create hanging baskets yourself, you’ll need a basket, lining material, compost and plants to put in it, plus a bracket to attach to the wall if you don’t have one. All these are readily available at garden centres. Some easy and colourful planting options are fuchsia, pansies, violets and lobelia.
You can even buy pre-planted hanging baskets or pots to save you any effort at all. Just make sure whatever you choose is watered regularly – every evening in hot weather. A hanging basket full of dead plants does not send a positive message about a house!
- Front garden blitz
Your front garden is what welcomes a potential buyer when they first arrive. It needs to make an immediate impression, even if that impression is only of tidiness and good maintenance. Even if you only have a pocket lawn, concrete or a strip of border down the side of a drive at the front, take an objective look at it. Is it as tidy as it could be? Weed borders, mow lawns, clear away rubbish and prune any unruly plants to neaten them up.
- Fragrant plants
We all know the old trick of brewing coffee and sticking some bread in the oven before a house viewing – scent is a powerful sense and can make a buyer feel at home as soon as they come through the door. But what about scents in the garden? These can be equally powerful, and can be achieved without too much effort. Pots of flowering lavender either side of the door will give off a delicious scent in the summer, and you could use other highly scented plants such as wisteria, roses or honeysuckle. You could plant these in pots and planters (or buy them ready-potted) and place them on a patio or steps for an instant effect.
- Lawn makeover
Your lawn will make a subconscious impression on your buyers, even if they’re not examining it closely. If it’s overgrown, full of weeds or blighted by bare patches and yellowing it will make the whole garden look uncared for. Giving your lawn a makeover doesn’t need to be expensive – mow it, get rid of weeds and give it a good feed to try and prevent yellowing over the summer. If you have bald patches, you could try seeding the patches before the weather gets too hot, or even replace patches with new turf. You might find it a better use of your time and funds to get a professional gardener in to give your lawn a bit of TLC.
- Border spritz
Overgrown or underplanted borders are another eyesore in the garden. You don’t need a full-on country-garden display, but borders should ideally be neat and adequately planted. Weed them and dig over to tidy them up. If you want a low-maintenance solution for the summer, you could put down bark chippings to keep the weeds down, an option that gives an instant tidy effect.
- Instant colour
Another way to spruce up borders quickly is to plant some instant colour; invest in some pretty shrubs that flower during the summer. A longer flowering period or attractive foliage will give you the best return on this investment. If you can invest a little more to get more mature shrubs, you’ll make a bigger impact. Use the new plants to fill gaps in the border.
You can also make flowerbeds more interesting by shaping the edges into curves. Done carefully, this effect can lead the eye into your garden to make it appear bigger.
- Patio spruce-up
Patios can be a major selling point for a house, but if they’re grubby and unloved then they might be having a negative effect instead. An obvious easy fix is to power wash paving stones to clean them up and make them look newer. If you don’t have a power washer, you can hire one from most hire chains. A few strategically placed planters with bright flowering varieties in them can also brighten up the dullest patio.