Upfront selling tips
Some 66 per cent of prospective buyers in Britain say the garden is vital when choosing whether to buy a house, according to a survey of 2000 people by online trade service Rated People. And estate agents say a garden can increase a property’s price by up to 20 per cent. So it’s time to hide the dustbins, ditch the rubbish, dig out the weeds and make colourful additions to your front garden. Of course, everybody loves the idea of having a house with a fantastic garden but all too often, don’t relish the reality behind maintaining it. It’s sensible to create a garden that looks fantastic but requires minimum effort. Shrubs and conifers add stature and texture but can virtually be left to their own devices. Plants like chrysanthemum, gardenia or jasmine can retain moisture longer so require less watering. If you’re in a rush to sell, you’re not going to have time to plant a hedge to block out pollution and road noise but quick planting can make smaller, effective improvements. Consider putting up a framework of trellis to screen dustbins and plant fast-growing climbers around it. Soften harsh concrete steps in the front garden by lining the path with evergreens in pots and place container plants around the front door to make the entrance look welcoming and cared for. If you park in the front garden, don’t try to enhance the area with fiddly little plants which may flop over the parking space and end up being squashed. Instead, group a few plants strategically for a bold, practical effect. Standard potted trees make a front entrance grander, so if you’re after a really quick fix, look in your local garden centre for standard bay or olive trees in pots, to frame your front door. Alternatively, go for box topiary. Hide eyesores with quick-growing evergreen climbers such as the cultivars of the honeysuckle Lonicera japonica. Plant other climbers such as clematis or roses to adorn bare walls. No-fuss planting might include euphorbias and phormiums for strong structure in a sunny garden, while variegated ivy and hostas in pots are ideal for a shady door area. Put climbers on walls and fences. Include shrubs and small trees, such as lavender or camellia, in “dead space”. Lighting also plays a part. If you have one tree in your front garden, place strategic uplighters underneath to make it more attractive at night. With increasing worries about front gardens being overpaved, leading to drainage problems, use materials that let water seep through such as brick pavers, gravel, matrix pavers or grass reinforcement. With the front garden creating a great first impression, your home will soon have a “Sold” sign outside it.