Planning to put your house on the market? No doubt you’re spending time and money getting your interior looking lovely – but don’t forget your garden! Tidying your outdoor space and adding just a few touches to really help it look its best can help you get a better price for your home. Not sure where to start? Well you’re in luck – today we’ll be looking at some quick garden tips for selling your home.
There have been various studies into how gardens can impact the final sale price of a home. Most experts agree that an unkempt space can undermine your asking price, while an attractive garden could lift the value of your property significantly – estimates of how much range from £2000 to up to 5% of your home’s final sale price.
The main thing is that you don’t want your prospective buyers to see an unloved garden and assume you’ve applied the same lack of care to the rest of your home. This goes for in-person viewings, but also the initial photos and videos that will go on your online listing – so there’s no time to lose.
Of course, you don’t want to be making huge investments, but the good news is that you really don’t have to spend much money at all to get your garden sale-worthy. Check out our garden tips for selling your home, from where to focus your energy, which things to hide, and how to maximise the features you’ve got.
Garden Tips for Selling Your Home: The Basics
You might not have the time, money or the inclination to make big garden changes to boost the value of your home. That’s completely understandable! However, there are still a few things you should take care of to make sure your garden doesn’t lose you money.
When prospective buyers are viewing your home, first impressions count. Before they even step inside, visitors are going to experience whatever is going on in your front garden, so make sure it’s sending out the right signals. As a minimum, both your front and back gardens should be tidy, and free from anything damaged or excessively worn.
Keep things trim
There are a hundred things to take care of when you’re trying to sell your home, but don’t let lawn care fall to the bottom of your list. Keep up regular maintenance, and trim your hedges and bushes while you’re at it.
Pressure wash… everything
A good scrub will get your hardscaping looking brand new, and a pressure-washer will make the job a breeze. Your path, your walls, your driveway, garage door and even the front of your home – provided they’re made from a tough material and aren’t damaged – can all be cleaned in an afternoon.
Refresh your flower beds
Scan your flower beds – front and back – for any sad-looking plants. Remove anything that looks noticeably unhappy (or dead), so you’re left with bushy, vibrant plants. Fill any gaps with sculptures, new flowers from the garden centre, or with existing planters from elsewhere in your garden.
Your front door is the focal point of your curb appeal, so make sure it’s looking its best. Your house numbers or house name should be easy to see from the street, and should be fresh and shiny up-close. Polish (or replace) tarnished door furniture – including your letterbox, handle and knocker.
Frame your doorways
Want to make your doorway look sophisticated quickly? Adding a pair of planters on either side of your door can make a big impact, and make the whole front of your home look more coordinated. Adding similar planters to your side garden or rear garden can also tie the spaces together.
Give your garage some love
Make sure at least the exterior of your garage (and your shed, for that matter) are looking up to scratch. The door might want a clean and a lick of varnish or, if you’re up to it, being painted to match the front door. If you can, park your car in the garage (otherwise buyers will think the garage isn’t big enough for a vehicle, which is less desirable). Alternatively, park on the street if you’re going to be home – it’ll give viewers a good idea of how big your driveway is.
Hide the bins
Look, nobody loves looking at (or getting a whiff of) bins. I would recommend sorting out a bin store if you have the time and budget, but just hiding them behind a screen or corner will do the trick.
Tidy up toys
Even if you’re selling a “family” home, do your best to keep garden toys tidied away. They’re distracting, and – just like clutter inside your home – can suggest that there isn’t enough storage space to keep them under control. Larger items, like trampolines or climbing frames, can stay up as long as they’re clean and in good condition. If they’ve seen better days, now might be the time to dismantle them.
Keep it simple, and focus on “clean”
When you’re preparing your garden to sell your home, don’t worry about perfection. The majority of buyers are just looking for a canvas for their own ideas. The main thing is to show them a simple, fresh and clean space where they can picture their own car, their own furniture, and their own lifestyle.
Take a look at low-maintenance garden ideas for more tips on how to make a simple space look beautiful. By stripping back excess decor, you can highlight your existing garden features, minimise upkeep and keep your home looking ready-to-sell.
Low-Cost Garden Tips for Selling Your Home
If you have the time and money, it can be worth investing a little bit into your garden to make it really stand-out. Keep in mind that there’s always a limit to how much value you can add to your home (especially last-minute), so don’t feel pressure to overspend.
Well-planned garden lighting
Gardens need three kinds of lighting: task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting. A floodlight is a great security feature and will help you show off your garden to viewers after dusk. Ambient lighting will create a welcoming, intimate mood in cosy seating areas, and accent lights should be used to spotlight your garden’s best features. Browse more garden lighting ideas.
Dress your flower beds
Want a cheeky cheat for making your flower beds look like they’re straight from a magazine? Use mulch to cover them. Not only will it make your planted areas look crisp and neat, mulch makes it harder for weeds to grow, holds moisture and gradually breaks down to fertilise your plants. Plus, certain kinds can even deter certain pests, like snails.
Add a mirror
Strategically-placed mirrors can make even the smallest garden look bigger and brighter. Try tucking them behind climbing plants and trellises for added depth, or use a window-effect mirror behind a seating area so it feels more open.
In a show home, you’ll often see books on the bedside table, glasses in the kitchen cupboards and even clothing in the wardrobes. All of these little touches are referred to as “staging”, to make the model home feel less empty and more welcoming. You can borrow these ideas to use in your garden – especially if it’s a relatively minimalist space.
For example, set your garden table up as if you’re about to use it – removing covers and putting cushions and blankets on chairs. Turn your garden lights on for evening viewings, and consider putting candles or lanterns on tables. If you have a fire pit or water feature, make sure it’s clean, and get it going to create ambience.
Pump up the colour
A happy, colourful garden will bring a smile to anyone’s face. It definitely won’t hurt to grab some extra flowers and shrubs to cheer up your borders and planters for house viewings. Lavender, sweetpeas and marigolds all deliver bright pops of colour and are relatively easy to care for.
Blooms are a little harder to find in winter, but you can still add colour. Use pots in vibrant shades, add patterned cushions to your furniture, put an outdoor rug on the patio and consider painting your fence in a bold new shade.
Which expensive projects are worthwhile and can add value?
There’s always a limit on how much “extra” value you can squeeze out of your home, and not every buyer will be looking for the same thing. Be especially careful when making big changes to your garden, as your potential buyers might have very different opinions about lawns, hardscaping, garden buildings, plants – and just about anything else – meaning that your “investment” just doesn’t hold the same value to them as it does to you.
However, there are a few garden features that cost significant time, money and/or effort to replace. If you have a little bit of money to spend on your garden, focus it on these next few features so viewers don’t start adding up money they’ll have to fork out when they move in before they’ve made you an offer.
A sturdy, sizeable shed
Having a shed in your garden is almost always seen as a bonus, especially if you’re willing to include it in the sale (or sell it to the buyers in addition to the house). Make sure it’s well-maintained and is proportionate to the size of your garden.
That actually goes for any building – a shed, summerhouse, “man-cave” or hobby space. Not only will potential buyers appreciate having the bonus space, an out-building doesn’t create the same structural complications as a conservatory or extension might.
An attractive patio
Hardscaping is a fairly standard feature in British gardens, so it won’t hurt to make sure yours is looking tip-top. If your patio is in good condition, you might just need to give it a clean. If there are cracks, loose or broken stones or damaged grout, assess the damage and figure out whether repairs or replacement are in budget.
Fencing is there for privacy and security, so you can understand why your buyers might be checking it out. Make sure yours is sturdy, and replace any damaged panels. The same goes for walls, gates and any other entrance areas.
A simple water feature
Okay, adding a water feature can be a little risky in terms of appeal. On the one hand, they’re great for the general ambience of your garden and for subtly masking nuisance sounds like traffic.
On the other hand, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Because of this, I recommend looking for a relatively simple, self-contained feature that doesn’t scream “high maintenance. You should also make sure it won’t pose a risk to children or pets if you’re trying to sell a family home.
Creating additional privacy
You can’t always choose your surroundings, but there are ways of concealing a particularly unappealing view. Planting fast-growing hedges or trees is a great option for this. Alternatively, a privacy screen, pergola or trellis can sometimes sweeten the surroundings sufficiently.
Give your garden some structure
What are buyers looking for when they check out your garden? They want to envision themselves in it, using the space comfortably. If your garden is disorganised and chaotic, this can be challenging.
So, if you can, highlight and define the different sections of your garden. This could be as simple as edging your lawn and putting patio furniture out – giving you clear spaces for relaxation and play.
If you have a vegetable patch, how can you visually separate it from your flower beds? Make sure your shed is easy to get to and, if you have a garden BBQ or fire pit, it won’t hurt to have it set up in a way that emphasises the possibilities of your space.
Which things put buyers off?
Prospective buyers can supposedly make their mind up on a property in just ten seconds. With that in mind, some of the most important garden tips for selling your home are about being aware of the features that could devalue your home or put off certain buyers. There are also some very common deal breakers to be aware of when you’re trying to sell.
Japanese knotweed is the obvious number-one issue, and unfortunately one of those problems that you can only do so much about. Although it’s perfectly possible to manage this invasive plant, eradication is incredibly difficult – so lenders, and therefore house-hunters, tend to be extremely cautious about it.
Large water features, like fountains, ponds, pools and – my personal favourite – hot tubs, are either going to be a buyer’s dream feature or deal-breaker. If you have one, you don’t necessarily need to remove it or fill it in, but be aware that you might have to wait a bit longer until the right buyer finds you.
Artificial grass is another polarising garden feature. As it can be expensive to replace, so you might want to wait for that person who’s going to see it and be chuffed to bits… but talk to your estate agent about feedback on whether it’s putting the majority of your viewers off.
Grass, flowers and trees generally have a timeless quality – don’t let dated decor distract from that. Having a garden is a massive bonus to the value of your home, but weird furniture and ornaments from past decades will reveal that you really haven’t paid attention to it in a while. Leave a couple of classic ornaments or traditional seats out, and tuck the rest into storage.
Remember, your buyers will almost certainly be expecting to make changes when they move in, so don’t strive for perfection – you’ll never reach it. The key garden tips for selling your home are to tidy it as much as possible, and create a simple, welcoming scene for viewers to picture themselves using.
If you do want to add a small feature to your garden before you sell, I recommend checking out our water feature ideas and furniture tips. Take a look at our ideas for rental gardens too, as it’s packed with temporary, portable ways to improve your garden (so you can take them with you when you go). Good luck in selling your home!