Any­one for ten­nis? How what’s in the gar­den can seal the deal

The right gar­den can se­cure a sale, but what do buy­ers want? Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WIM­BLE­DON starts on Mon­day, cre­at­ing the an­nual up­surge of in­ter­est in rac­quet sport.

It’s an ideal time to mar­ket a prop­erty with a ten­nis court, ac­cord­ing to Philip Proc­ter of Ch­ester­ton Hum­berts in York, who re­veals that a good grass or hard court is still a win­ning fea­ture for lux­ury homes.

He says: “Ten­nis courts are uni­ver­sally ac­cepted as a ma­jor sell­ing point. I think it is true to say that a lot of women like play­ing ten­nis and if a court is in place it re­ally sets the scene for them.

“Equally, it is a sign that the prop­erty has a large gar­den. The very fact that one ex­ists is a ma­jor in­di­ca­tor of a sub­stan­tial prop­erty.”

Tim Blenkin, of Blenkin and Co in York, agrees.

“The sta­tus sym­bols for the big coun­try houses re­main in­tact, in par­tic­u­lar the ten­nis court and swim­ming pool, al­though their de­sir­abil­ity only holds if the en­tire prop­erty is lux­u­ri­ous and if they are top of the range. An out­door swim­ming pool in the gar­dens of a mod­est house turns money-con­scious buy­ers away.”

The new coun­try house sta­tus sym­bols tend to be a throw­back, ac­cord­ing to Tim and they in­clude pro­fes­sion­ally land­scaped gar­dens cre­ated to im­press by a known de­signer and a pro­duc­tive kitchen gar­den, prefer­ably or­gan­i­cally cul­ti­vated and walled.

Whether you have a large or a small gar­den, the main at­trac­tion for most buy­ers is ma­tu­rity, peace and quiet.

“A ma­ture gar­den has a value of its own. It is im­pos­si­ble to play down the ben­e­fit of hav­ing a pro­duc­tive or­chard, a gnarled 500 year old oak tree, two old ap­ple trees per­fectly placed for the hang­ing of a ham­mock or an old ram­bling rose. At the higher end of the coun­try mar­ket, the value of ma­ture gar­dens has long been cher­ished, but the new build mar­ket has more re­cently caught on to the idea, hence the larger bud­gets spent on the plant­ing of trees, shrubs and peren­ni­als be­fore the prop­erty comes on the mar­ket,” says Tim.

What peo­ple want from a gar­den has changed over the past 20 years ac­cord­ing to agents and gar­den de­sign­ers.

Buy­ers are look­ing for a link be­tween the house and gar­den and they want a ter­race or pa­tio for al fresco din­ing and bar­be­cues.

Now that gar­dens are seen as “out­door rooms” buy­ers are also check­ing out ori­en­ta­tion, so sunny, south fac­ing land to the rear of the house is a strong sell­ing point.

“Whereas fam­ily gar­dens used to be lit­tle more than lawns, shrubs and trees, now peo­ple par­ti­tion their gar­den with an eye to its dif­fer­ent func­tions: a play area for the chil­dren, a ter­raced or deck­ing area, a sum­mer house, a lawned area for ball games, beds to show off care­fully planned plant­ing and for all-year colour, raised beds for the grow­ing of soft fruit and veg­eta­bles and per­haps a wildlife area.

A well-tended gar­den with all these el­e­ments will most cer­tainly boost the de­sir­abil­ity, and prob­a­bly the price, of a fam­ily prop­erty,” says Tim.

The grow-your-own trend is a big in­flu­ence on gar­dens and veg patches, raised beds and hen houses all present a life­style that peo­ple are keen to buy into.

They also like the idea of ob­serv­ing a va­ri­ety of wildlife, so if your plants at­tract birds and but­ter­flies it’s a bonus.

“The sale of bird seed and nuts in su­per­mar­kets in­di­cates how or­di­nary home­own­ers are tak­ing an in­ter­est in gar­den birdlife. Many peo­ple, when de­sign­ing their gar­den, in­creas­ingly give thought to cre­at­ing ar­eas for nest­ing birds, feed­ing ar­eas, wildlife ar­eas to en­cour­age hedge­hogs and net­tles for but­ter­flies,” says Tim.

While a beau­ti­ful gar­den can en­cour­age a sale, a poor one can be a turn off. Buy­ers don’t like to see too much hard land­scap­ing or great swathes of deck­ing.

Lizzie Tulip, an award-win­ning gar­den de­signer from York, says: “There has been a trend for hard land­scap­ing but a green lawn shows plants off to their best.

“It makes them sing, whereas putting them next to grey Tar­mac can have the op­po­site ef­fect.”

A poor gar­den can be a turn-off. Buy­ers don’t like too much hard land­scap­ing or deck­ing.

Grass is good, she be­lieves. It is easy on the eye and pro­vides soft play space for chil­dren and for adults.

“We play more creatively in our gar­dens than we did years ago and that comes from clever de­sign, plant­ing and avail­abil­ity of in­ter­est­ing play equip­ment for both chil­dren and adults.

We also use our gar­dens more. What peo­ple want now is an out­door liv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They want an area for bar­be­cues and wood burn­ing stoves and they want gar­den light­ing so they can use the space at night.”

With so many con­sid­er­a­tions, it’s worth­while hir­ing a gar­den de­signer to give you ad­vice.

As Lizzie Tulip says: “A wellde­signed gar­den adds 10 per cent to the value of a prop­erty.

“So it’s well worth the in­vest­ment.”

PER­FECT MATCH: San­dre­ith at Mal­ton has a hard ten­nis court as well as 1.3 acres of out­side space, in­clud­ing for­mal and kitchen gar­dens and an or­chard.

GREAT OUT­DOORS: The Manor House, Carl­ton Husth­waite, near Thirsk, Price; £1.65m. Con­tact: Sav­ills, York tel: 01904 617817, www.sav­ This eight-bed­room Ge­or­gian house is set in 5.4 acres. The gar­dens have well-stocked flowerbeds, ma­ture trees, a kitchen gar­den, ex­ten­sive lawns and a pretty 18th cen­tury sum­mer house. At the bot­tom of the gar­den is the tim­ber sta­ble block, with three sta­bles and a tack room, which over­look pad­docks.

AL FRESCO: South Duffield Lodge, near York. Price: £595,000. Con­tact: Blenkin and Co tel: 01904 671 672, www.blenk­i­nad­ This six-bed­room de­tached house with large, at­tached barn has beau­ti­ful gar­dens. To the front of the prop­erty the gar­den is sur­rounded by ma­ture trees and has an area of lawn with a pretty wildlife pond. To the side of the prop­erty is a wooded area with plenty of ma­ture trees, and to the rear, the gar­den is well shel­tered and di­vided be­tween lawns and ter­races, of­fer­ing a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for al fresco din­ing.

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