We’re back after the excitement of Chelsea. The importance and popularity of gardens in Britain was of course really made obvious at the show. The range of items for gardens and gardeners keeps growing and indicates just how important gardening is to the economy. A recent survey estimated that Britons had invested £80 billion in their gardens. That’s a lot of value!
Although the news is full of debate focused on increasing house prices, there is not much discussion about the contribution of gardens to property values. Does all that investment in soil, bloom, decking and parasols make a difference? Some evidence suggests that whatever house prices are doing in different parts of the country, a well-designed and well kept garden can add between 5% and 20% to the value of a property. It’s not just the landscaping and planting that matter, it seems garden furniture too adds to the appeal of a garden and suggests to new owners how a garden might be used. Estate agents agree that selling a house in summer relies in part on a decent garden.
However, a note of caution has to be added. Well designed means simplicity: gardens which are very ornate and complicated, implying lots of work are likely to worry potential buyers who are not keen gardeners themselves. This is as true in larger rural gardens as in smaller urban gardens. Most estate agents would probably tell you that investing a lot of money into a redesign of your garden for sale purposes won’t be worth it as the return isn't there. For many buyers, gardens are now being treated much like interiors. New home owners like to “redecorate” gardens to their own tastes.
Probably the most important thing is to make sure the garden is neat and tidy with a slightly lived in look, so that buyers can imagine, or you can tell them, all about the fantastic benefits of pottering about outside, getting fresh air, and enjoying another “room” on summer nights.