With so many people forced to stay at home over the past year, it is understandable that home buyers are considering making major changes to their living circumstances. Flats and homes with no outdoor space are falling out of fashion; rural homes with outdoor space are in demand.
The phenomenon of so many buyers flocking to the countryside is being referred to by the media as ‘urban flight’. Buyers want more space inside and out as well as access to local parks and green space they can escape to. As a result, some areas of the UK are seeing average house prices rise by over 10% in one year.
Coastal retreats in particular seem popular, with Rightmove recently reporting that, one year on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cornwall has replaced London as the most searched for place to live on their online property listing platform.
So, if you are thinking about selling your home in 2021 and are spending some time sprucing it up, don’t forget about your garden.
Summer is approaching, so now is the perfect time to start getting things in order. Here, we’ve set out some quick changes you can make to make your outdoor space more attractive and show potential buyers the idyllic life they could have if they make a generous offer on your property.
Our top tips for sprucing up your outdoor space
1.Clean your patio or deck
We don’t spend much time outside in winter, so it’s surprising at how dirty an unused patio or decking area can get over the cold months.
Damp winter weather can cause algae and moss to build up on your outdoor surfaces along with other debris, such as fallen leaves and soil that’s been blown from your flower beds or plant containers.
First, sweep up any leaves, fallen branches and other outdoor debris. Then, buy a cheap power washer or rent one to give the surfaces a thorough clean – not only is it effective, it’s also oddly satisfying.
If you don’t want to invest in a jet washer, your garden hose, a hard outdoor broom, and a lot of elbow grease can be just as effective.
2.Patch up your garden fence
An old, falling down fence may not put buyers off, but it will stick out, particularly for any buyers who have children or are hoping for a secure garden to raise their lockdown puppy.
Patching up your fence, or even just giving it a lick of fresh paint, can make a garden look more presentable.
However, if your fence does require some repairs, be aware that a shortage of materials over the coronavirus pandemic means timber is more expensive than usual.
3.Trim your hedges and pull up weeds
Unruly hedges and flower beds littered with weeds make a garden look untidy and a lot more work than it actually is. Spend a sunny afternoon neatening up your hedges and pulling up any weeds.
4.Fix up your garden lawn
A sad, patchy or overgrown lawn can make an outdoor space look boring and unappealing. On a dry day, trim your lawn (although consider leaving a corner un-mowed for wildlife to thrive) and scatter some grass seed. A fertiliser that is high in nitrogen will encourage strong green growth – many are marketed specifically for lawns which should make it easy to pick one.
5.Add some plants
Adding plants to your garden is the easiest way to make a welcoming, inviting space that people want to spend time in. Whether you have flower beds already prepped, or you need to invest in some containers, don’t skimp on plants.
If gardening isn’t your hobby, choose some plants that are easy to maintain. At the garden centre, look for ‘hardy perennials’, such as hydrangeas – these are plants that can cope with cold weather and will come back year after year with little to no interference necessary.
Now is also the perfect time to scatter flower seeds in your beds and containers. Summer annuals, such as marigolds, cosmos and zinnias are low maintenance and will pop up in the summer to add stunning colour to your garden. They will die back in autumn and won’t come back next year (other than some self-seeding exceptions), but by that point the garden will hopefully be your buyer’s problem.
6.Add a vegetable patch
Gardening as a hobby has exploded over lockdown, with many people venturing into the world of growing their own veg. Even if growing vegetables isn’t your idea of fun, consider digging a vegetable patch in an unused corner of your garden, ready for any potential gardeners looking for a new home.
Vegetables such as lettuce and carrots are easy to grow and don’t need much attention, but will surely attract the attention of green-fingered buyers.
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