Spring is a good time to sell your home. The weather is improving, people aren’t yet going away on their summer holidays and the garden is bursting into life.
Making sure you mow the lawn and keep your flower beds tidy could be your most profitable pastime, according to new research.
Some 72% of 2,000 home owners who took part in a survey conducted by National Gardening Gift Vouchers believe that a presentable garden adds value to a home.
First impressions are important and if your front garden needs a quick makeover, consider buying a couple of standard trees or shrubs to put either side of the front door for a grander entrance.
Tatty steps can be masked with pots of evergreens which will last even when spring and summer are over, just in case you don’t sell the house immediately.
Hide eyesores such as dustbins by putting up a framework of trellis in front of them and plant fast-growing climbers over it, even if you have to plant the climbers in pots.
Certain design strategies can help make the garden seem bigger. If you have a narrow or L-shaped garden, consider dividing into two areas and introduce archways or pergolas which will make it seem bigger.
Add curves to a bed to make it more interesting, while strategically-placed outdoor mirrors can also make an area feel greater.
They say the smell of bread baking or freshly brewed coffee helps sell a house, but a gorgeously fragrant front garden may also help, if you plant low lavender hedges along the driveway or other scented plants near your front door.
Eden Project horticulturist Lucy Wenger offers these budget-conscious tips:
Budget bedding plants
A tray of tagetes (marigolds) or antirrhinum (snapdragons) will add instant colour to your garden. They come in a range of bright oranges, reds and yellows and both will bloom beautifully throughout the summer. Look out for argyranthemums, whose bright and cheerful daisy flowers bloom in an array of colours. They look great in the garden or in big flower pots, but don’t plant them out until the last frosts have passed, usually around late May. Feed them weekly with tomato food in the summer and keep them well watered in the heat - snip off any dead flower heads to keep them looking good. They should last until the end of the summer.
Make the approach to your front door fresh and inviting with a fragrant hanging basket. Use multi-purpose compost and add water-retaining gel. Trailing surfinias (try Surfinia ‘Blue Vein’ for scent as well) and bacopa should thrive in a sunny spot, but for shadier corners, try lobelia and trailing fuchsia to create a lush display. Feed them weekly in the summer with tomato food and keep well watered - which may mean twice a day in summer.
Create a greener, lusher lawn by feeding and seeding it. Regular mowing in the summer should keep it healthy. Between May and August, pick a cool, moist day to apply a summer lawn fertiliser or chicken manure pellets. Sprinkle them across your lawn and lightly water.
Perk up your paintwork
Revitalise wooden fences, gates and sheds by giving them a lick of paint, using paint specifically designed for outside use. To focus attention on the plants, use a colour to divert the eye away from fences and gates such as holly green. This will make them melt into the background.
Jane Templar, garden buyer at Homebase, suggests: “Think about creating a walkway, either through or around your garden. This provides a route for potential buyers when they are looking around and means they don’t get muddy as they go. Stone makes for a good path in almost any home, although if your house has a cottage-like feel, consider a gravel path, as this is more in keeping with the style of the property.”