There’s no denying it, we’re officially in the middle of summer. Whether or not this is your idea of the perfect Scottish summer, the nights are long, the days are warm(ish) and every spare inch of green throughout the city has been monopolised with barbecues and frisbees. The Festival is also lurking just around the corner to really help us all get in the al fresco mood so with that in mind we chose to have a look how to really maximise the potential of the most wonderful summer space; the garden.
Gardens can add huge appeal to properties when they’re on the market; for some buyers, having a garden is non-negotiable. However, even if you only have a tiny amount of outdoor space you can still create a haven in the city. These tips will help anyone get the most out of their garden, whether they are selling or not.
Think it Through
You don’t have to create a formal plan, but spend some time having a think about the kind of garden you or potential buyers might want. If you’re selling a family home your viewers will probably be attracted to safe spaces their children can play in, so lush lawns are always popular. Likewise a patio area will also evoke imaginings of informal family gathering in the sunshine for barbeques and picnics. If you have a flat with a garden that you think is more likely to appeal to young professionals or older buyers try to give the impression of the garden becoming another room. Table and chairs positioned to catch the sun, maybe staged with a bottle of wine and two glasses will very quickly highlight the wonderful times that could be had here. Containers on patios or decking also enhance a space quickly and easily, providing an aesthetically pleasing but easy to care for garden.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Do you only have a window box? Or do you have acres? Either way, it’s easy to make a garden of any size look good. Some simple tidying makes the world of difference. If you have one, mow the lawn and treat any brown patches with grass seed. Trim back some of the larger bushes and trees to give the impression of space and weed the flowerbeds. Give patios and outdoor furniture a good scrub before viewers come round and pull up any little weeds that are growing up between slabs. Fill window boxes with colourful flowers, such as lobelia, violets or pansies. These can be bought cheaply from garden centres or supermarkets and flower for most of the summer months. They are ideal for hanging baskets too. Do you share a communal garden with other tenants? If so, write a letter to them all explaining that you are planning on doing some work in the garden. Give anyone the option to help out as long as they share the financial burden. If no one wants to pay for it you can have free reign to do what you like. As long as you don’t make any major changes no one should object.
Spring Cleaning for the Summer
Just as we give the inside of our homes a spring clean before we put a property on the market it’s important not to forget the garden. If you have children’s toys such as a swing set or trampoline, consider moving them into one area of the garden or removing them for a short period of time. Think about buying a storage box for toys, tools and any other bits of garden detritus you’ve collected over the years. Giving paving slabs, patio furniture, barbecues and the outside of containers a good scrub can work wonders, making a garden look fresher instantly. Is there a tree or shrub that’s well past its sell by date that you’ve been meaning to get rid of? If so, now’s the time. Fill the hole left with instantly impressive plants such as lavender, fuchsias or heathers. They’ll fill a spot nicely and not take too much maintenance, while adding a splash of colour.
Be realistic about what you can manage. It’s very likely that the buyers who eventually move into your property are in the same kind of situation. If you have a busy job or children to look after, now might not be the time to create a Japanese water garden or something that’s going to take equally as long to make and require ongoing maintenance. Let your buyers decide whether or not they want to make sizeable changes to the garden; they’ll be the ones looking after it, after all. On the other hand, if you have the kind of garden that requires a ride-on mower your potential buyers will probably be well aware of the kind of commitment a garden of size and maturity requires and will already be keen gardeners, itching to get their hands on it!
They’re easy to make, maintain and very portable. So portable in fact, that if it all goes a bit wrong (and dies) the whole thing can just be picked up and chucked in the bin. Containers come in all different shapes and sizes and the pots themselves can make very attractive features. You could also consider window boxes, hanging baskets or crop containers. Planting herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, chillies and salads in containers near the kitchen door can give the illusion of indoors and outdoors melding seamlessly into one. Lots of plants that are suitable for containers are readily available and affordable from garden centres and supermarkets. Just one word of warning though; don’t overcrowd the containers. The plants will look small when you pop them in but they will grow and spread, fighting each other for space and nutrients. Make sure you equate this into your timescales; plant them as soon as you know when you want to put your property on the market so that by the time viewers come a-knocking, you’ll have a beautiful riot of colour cascading from the containers.
If in Doubt, Get the Pros in
If gardening isn’t your style or it’s far too much like hard work, get the professionals in. It doesn’t have to be a landscaping company, a handyman will happily move a few slabs around or mow the lawn for you if you haven’t the time or inclination. You’ll find them on Gumtree and they shouldn’t be too expensive. You might consider getting a gardener to come and do some of the more technical work that requires specialist tools or techniques, such as trimming high hedges, removing shrubs and bushes and planting new beds. You only really need to call a landscaping company in if you’re planning a major overhaul of your outdoor space, so completely relocating beds, bushes or trees, digging up patios or concrete or adding features such as fountains, ponds or decking. These professionals can be quite costly and there’s no guarantee that you’ll recoup any of your investment in the sale of your property, if that’s your end game. However, they can really make a property stand out for all the right reasons when compared to similar properties on the market at the same time.