Gardens generally look awful at this time of year; the grass is patchy, the flower beds are covered in leaves, and your patio is covered in some slimy stuff that you’re sure wasn’t there last year. In addition, family gardens may be scattered with unloved toys, a rusty barbecue, a whirligig showing signs of wear and the discarded Christmas tree, which you haven’t got round to taking to the tip yet.
But it’s spring time! The buyers are back, and they are raring to view; your house is on their list, so with only a few days’ notice, what can you do to make your garden look its best once again? Follow my 10 point action plan to help your garden really sell your house:
1. Take out anything that is letting your garden down; toys, rubbish, dead plants, washing line, dog chews; anything and everything that wouldn’t be there if your garden was in a gardening magazine! Throw it, give it away, or hide it in your shed or garage.
2. Clean every single plant pot, plant holder, window box, bird table, and anything that needs the winter dullness replacing with spring shine.
3. Now get out your gardening tools, and turn your attention to the flower beds; turn them over well, getting rid of any weeds, old plants, any debris, and cover with a layer of good quality bark chippings, so you don’t have to keep doing it.
4. Pruning is next: take your secateurs to your trees and bushes, to make sure they look neat and tidy, with no straggling ends. If you’re not sure a shrub is adding anything to your garden, perhaps because it’s too old and looking a bit sorry for itself, maybe it’s time to send it to the garden in the sky. Be brutal, your garden will thank you for it.
5. Hire a power washer, and clean off your brickwork, patio slabs, paths, decking and anything else that needs a good scrub down.
6. Re-paint and re-stain anything you think might look better with a refresh; your garden gate, fence, shed, all would look much better if given some tlc.
7. Now is the fun part! Go to your local garden centre or DIY store and treat your garden to lots of colour; don’t go mad with lots of different colours; try to stick to two or three key and complementary colours and buy plants for pots, bedding plants for your beds, and some nice new pots to dress your patio and paths.
8. If there’s room, a bay tree, or shaped conifer, look very smart when placed either side of your front door, and really help to define your entrance.
9. Look critically at your patio furniture; is it good enough to stay? If it’s of a good quality, and can be successfully spruced up, then spend some elbow grease bringing it back to its former glory. If on the other hand it’s broken, split or otherwise just not salvageable, get rid of it and replace it with a nice new set. The value it will add to your garden will be many times your investment.
10. Open your parasol; is it green with mould and on a skew? Time to replace it then. Unless it’s blowing a gale, have it up for viewings, to help your viewers imagine themselves sitting there in our oh so fragile English summer.
And there you have it – follow these ten steps and your viewers will be wowed into an offer!