Magical makeover: top tips on improving your garden
Looking for ways to breathe new life into your garden? There’s no need to spend a fortune on a landscaper. We have put together our top tips to revitalise your garden and increase the value of your property as well.
Is your garden neglected and weedy?
Start with some basic maintenance. Gardens need to be cleared of clutter and paths made weed-free. Cut back any trees or shrubs that have become overgrown. A good thinning out will let in more light and can make a small garden look bigger. Once you have done this, you can start thinking about filling those gaps with colourful new planting schemes. Cutting back foliage in front of windows also allows more light into your house. “This is important, especially in cottages with small windows,” said Mark Fry, manager of Evans and Partridge estate agents in Stockbridge.
Overlooked? Plant a hedge to provide screening
Overlooking can devalue your property and make it difficult to sell. Most people value their privacy and prefer not to be overlooked by neighbours whether they are entertaining or simply pottering about. “If your garden is overlooked, you can put up a 6ft fence with trellis on top to provide instant screening,” said Mr Fry. Evergreen hedges also provide all-year round screening although they take time to cultivate. You can bring permanent bright colour into the garden with golden or red or purple foliage or choose a flowering variety like hawthorn. Just avoid very fast-growing conifers like leylandii as they are a major cause of neighbour dispute, said Steve Moir, director of Hennings Moir in Saltash and south east Cornwall.
Plant bulbs and flowering plants to add colour
If your garden lacks colour, don’t just stick to the same old plants and shrubs – experiment with new blooms. Plant bulbs for flowering next spring and summer. Daffodils, tulips and dahlias add colour and visual excitement. In summer, nothing beats roses. Choose a repeat flowering variety. If you have few flower beds, make use of vertical space. Plant roses, honeysuckle or clematis on an arch, pergola, trellis or up walls. Mix plants that look good with those that have a lovely fragrance such as lavender. For containers, flowering patio plants like pansies provide instant colour. “One of the easiest ways to brighten up a garden is with flowering plants, said Mr Moir.
Look after your lawn
Try to cut the grass at least once every two weeks in the summer growing season. If your lawn is sad-looking, other tasks may be necessary such as removing moss and weeds, feeding and watering. Falling leaves must be removed because otherwise the grass beneath will turn yellow. Re-seed or re-turf any bald spots in the lawn. If you have a small plot, artificial grass might be the easiest solution.
A view of the garden helps
A view of the garden from the house is always a selling feature. “A lot of new houses have bi-folding doors that lead onto the terrace and overlook the garden,” said Mr Fry, adding: “If the garden is landscaped with pergolas and climbing roses it can look quite romantic.”
Alex Leschallas, manager at Douglas & Gordon estate agents in Balham, London, said how people improve their garden largely depends on the size of plot, whether it is a house or flat and their lifestyle. “If it is a family house, the priority might be open space and a big lawn for children to play.” Meanwhile an older couple who have downsized might be more interested in cultivating flower beds. “It is down to personal preference how you improve your garden,” said Mr Leschallas.
Don’t have a garden? Well-kept shared garden will help
If you live in a flat, a tidy communal garden can dramatically increase the price or your property. “People usually want these spaces to be easy to maintain, not a lot of plant life but perhaps a few raised beds and paved for a barbecue and outdoor entertaining,” said Mr Leschallas.
Create outdoor seating areas
Nothing beats sitting in the sunshine in your own garden to relax and enjoy all the work you have done. Invest in a bench or garden table and chairs and you can create an attractive outdoor dining or refreshment spot. “Without a doubt, if the garden is nice it makes a big difference to selling a property, said Mr Moir. “Flower beds, patio and seating areas add interest rather than just a flat lawn which can look a bit barren.”