In most suburban homes, the size of the garden is at least as big as the size of the ground floor inside, and in many properties the garden has a larger square footage than the whole of the house put together. So when it comes to investing in our gardens, we should think of them as another room, and be prepared to spend on furniture, lighting and all the other creature comforts we expect indoors.
We think nothing about spending hundreds of pounds on a suite for the living room, yet so many of us get by on rickety old deckchairs or folding furniture when it comes to outdoor seating. We think nothing of investing in quality laminate or real wood flooring inside, yet we settle for cheap softwood decking or budget paving stones outside. Clearly we need to rethink our priorities when it comes to how we see our homes
If you want to make the most of your garden, then you need to start to see it differently. You need to view it as another room in your home; another living space that should be finished and furnished to the same standard as the rest of your home.
As Kelvin Elliott at Yes Homebuyers – sell your house faster suggest, “Investing in your garden will not only add to your enjoyment of your home, it will also add to its value too, helping you sell your home quicker and get more on your house sale. It is estimated that a well maintained garden can add as much as 20% to the value of your home.”
Things to consider
There are lots of great garden ideas to make your outdoor space more usable and enjoyable, encouraging you outside even in the cooler spring and autumn months. A patio or quality deck will quickly create a seating area which can be furnished with outdoor friendly furniture that will last for years without needing to be put away every time the weather changes.
Add some outdoor lighting and you will extend the use of your garden long into the evenings, allowing you to enjoy an al fresco drink with friends on a warm summer night. You can even extend the outdoor season beyond the summer by adding a log burner or a fire pit to sit around and watch the stars, or a patio heater for reliable, comfortable warmth.
Fencing is essential for your privacy and security, and it is worth making sure that it is dog friendly and child-proof too, so you can relax knowing that everyone in the family, including the pets, are safe. A shed is also a sound investment, as it keeps all that clutter, from bikes to lawn mowers, tidied away and out of sight. Push the boat out and add electricity to your shed and you’ll find it becomes so much more practical and useful for all kinds of activities.
The final feature you should consider is a built-in barbecue or outdoor kitchen area. Having a permanent space is so much simpler than digging your portable barbecue out of the shed and dragging its rusty wheels across the lawn. If your barbecue is all set up and ready, you will be much more likely to use it and enjoy the pleasures of outdoor eating all summer long.
Things to avoid
Unless you are a keen gardener, you should avoid making your garden too complicated or too high maintenance. It should be a place to relax, and unless you are fully committed, a complex garden design can soon get away from you and start to look scruffy and unkempt, making it hard to unwind in.
When it comes to selling your home, garden design is much like interior design. The chances of your taste matching your buyers’ is highly unlikely, so it is best to keep things simple and present the new owners with a blank canvas that they can put their own ideas on to.
High maintenance features should also be avoided. A simple pond or water feature will not only add to the sense of tranquillity and relaxation, it will also be a big selling point. However, a swimming pool, with its expensive and complicated upkeep, will often be a turn off.
Add value to your home as well as your life
A study from GoCompare found that seven out of ten buyers are prepared to pay more for a home with a good garden. Their survey found that 55% would not even consider a home without a garden and 36% say that a garden is more important than an extra bedroom.
Remember, any money you spend on dressing your garden with furnishings is money well spent as it will help potential buyers to picture themselves relaxing in your garden and bring the area to life. Plus you can always take it with you to enjoy in your next home.
So take a fresh look at your garden this year, and think about finishing and furnishing it to the same standard as the rest of your home. With a little decent weather, you’ll probably spend as much time eating, drinking, relaxing and entertaining there as anywhere else in the house, so it deserves the same investment and attention.