You’ve all heard about creating ‘kerb appeal’ to your home for selling purposes. In a tough, competitive market, how you present your property for sale can win or lose a prospective purchaser. A badly maintained exterior can deter prospective buyers and often reflects on the expectations of the interior.
First impressions count. Here’s a few things to bear in mind;
- Make your home’s exterior appealing so viewers are eager to come through the door to see more.
- Ensure there is no peeling paint, and that UVPC is clean, as well as the windows. Clean and polish your front door, add a new door mat.
- Clear away all junk, broken pots etc. Push wheelie bins into an unobtrusive space, if possible.
- Tidy up borders, weed, cut back any over grown shrubs and trim hedges. Fill any gaps with inexpensive evergreen shrubs. Place a planter by the front door filled with seasonal plants.
- The same can be done with a rear garden, replacing or repairing any broken paving or fencing.
- Look at your garden as an outside room, an extension to your home. Place seating and a table to show how a garden can work for entertaining and enjoyment.
Did you know that a well-presented garden can add up to 20% to your home’s value?
But a garden is not all about selling and adding value – a garden is for the enjoyment of the occupants.
Which garden to you think is the most amazing? Wales Online has recently run a property and garden awards competition in association with Waterstone Homes, http://waterstonehomes.com/site/ The Welsh Garden of the Year criteria was to be an outside space that’s unique, one we would admire and enjoy. The garden category was all about making something special from the outdoor space available, whatever its size.
The NGS (National Garden Scheme) http://www.ngs.org.uk/gardens.aspx is an organisation which encourages people to open their gardens to the public, of which the proceeds from the entrance fee goes to charity. Some gardens also offer tea and cake – a bonus! It’s an opportunity to ask the owners about their gardens, and glean inspiration. Not everyone of course is brave enough to open their garden for public scrutiny, especially if a ‘Monty Don’ from Gardeners World type expert is among the visitors. Personally, I’m relieved when I spot ‘defects’ like couch grass or ground elder, it makes me feel better about my own gardening capabilities.
I spent one (yes, there was one) sunny June afternoon visiting open gardens in the small village where I live. The Old Rectory was the first stop; a flat lawn (for croquet perhaps?) was flanked one side with an old wall and a beautiful herbaceous border. Paths meandered into the kitchen garden with large greenhouse. Another path led to a large pond and tennis court. A Wisteria in full bloom, hung to the south facing Georgian façade of the house. There was a timeless, classic elegance to both the house and garden.
Another garden was hidden behind a 1980’s home. My goodness me, I felt I was in a Chelsea Flower Show garden (and very relieved I hadn’t opened my own garden). It was beautifully designed in every conceivable way, from the layout to the planting schemes. The grass was a manicured, weedless perfection, and even the hostas were completely holeless! The winding path led to a wild flower meadow, awash with bees and butterflies, and continued to a super duper wooden gazebo.
A small cottage, whose garden was hidden behind a neatly clipped beech hedge was complete with climbing roses, clematis and small fish pond. A small gated access led to a raised vegetable plot and chicken coup. It was charming – the quintessential English cottage garden, who were serving cucumber sandwiches. Of course.
In another garden there were bird tables, a fish pond – complete with fishing gnomes, with lots of places to sit and enjoy. It was a very ‘busy’ garden. I loved it, although not for me.
A delight was that each garden was an extension of the home it belonged to – a reflection of the style of the house, they went together. What I also observed, was how the gardens also reflected the personalities of the owners, much in the same way a pet or dress sense can.
But don’t just see gardening as an end goal or as a finished product to serve a purpose, it’s also about the journey. Last year the Chicago Tribune published an article on how a garden can teach you creativity, spirituality and more. You can read it here; http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/home/sc-fam-0414-creativity-gardening-20150407-story.html
It’s not only at Glastonbury that Jo Whiley, (presenter on BBC Radio 2 and Glastonbury) tackles mud in her wellies. Jo is as passionate about her garden as she is music. “Gardening is my sanity” Jo said in an article in an article in The Sunday Times http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/access-all-acres-with-jo-whiley-x3xl7lf9g
Hopefully this has encouraged you to dust off the trowel and unearth your creativity which has been lying deep beneath the soil. After all, gardens are a space to be enjoyed by you, your friends and family. A place of peace, reflection or ‘just to be’.
It feels apt to end with the final line from the film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden;
“The garden is always open now. Open, and awake, and alive. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden”.
Now open up your secret garden.