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Not the garden variety: growing value in your home with a garden

In 2013, a study from Lloyds TSB Insurance claimed British homeowners spend an average of £894 a year on their gardens.

For the most part, this is for personal enjoyment, with 29% of Britons investing in a BBQ, 22% in trampolines and 19% on children’s outdoor equipment like swings, slides or see-saws. However, what homeowners may not know is how the value to their property could benefit from investment in their garden.

Gardens are a major influence on homebuyers, with two-fifths of homebuyers saying they wouldn’t even consider a property if the garden was not big enough. Add to this that a study in 2014 found garden renovations the second biggest return on investment (ROI) for property value (second to conservatories), with an 88% ROI, averaging around £4000 profit. With so much evidence, you might be thinking about jumping into garden renovations to raise the value of your property, but slow down! You may wish to mull over some factors first to make sure you’re getting the best possible return.

Consider Maintenance

A flashy, flamboyant garden is a great sight, and in the movies all the expensive houses have them. Water features, trimmed hedges, ponds full of fish, swimming pools: they make a great first impression. But they might not be what homebuyers are looking for. Your target market are quite savvy and won’t only be looking at your property as what it is now, but also how they will maintain it and develop it themselves. A high maintenance garden might seem a bit too daunting to buyers and actually put them off. This is especially true for any buyers looking forward to designing their own garden, who will need to spend a lot of capital removing your features to make room for their own.

Don’t think TOO big

It would be tempting to assume that, since gardens offer an average of 88% ROI, that the more you invest, the more profit you can make. This isn’t the case, however; investment and ROI with gardens is not exponential. In fact, investment-to-ROI ratio works as a bell curve. An 88% average ROI of £4000 is based on an average investment of £4550. When you start to invest in items like decking or paving, the investment becomes less profitable. If you find your projected expenses in your garden rising above £4550, you might consider scaling back slightly to keep a healthy profit.

What’s the local parking like?

There are exceptions to the above, however. Consider the parking situation near you. Is it particularly expensive to park near by? You can take advantage of this to increase the value of your property.

Converting a front garden into a concrete area for parking could cost up to and over £10,000 including planning permission, but will make your property far more desirable. It could double that investment in increased property value. Just bear in mind that it means you won’t have a full front garden now!

When are you selling?

We’ve covered this in our seasonal guide to the best time to buy, but the time of year you are intending to sell will impact on the effect your garden has on increasing the value your property. In the summer, late spring and early autumn, your garden will look great and can have house-hunters staring goo-goo eyed at your property. However, in the winter the garden will look its worst, and anyone viewing the property will want to spend less time outside due to the weather.

Get some colour!

Flowers make your garden look great, so make sure your garden is full of colour. A variety of different colours and flowers would be best, with colours such as purple, red and yellow being favourites for house buys. A survey revealed the best flowers to help sell a house, with roses taking the top spot, but lavender, fuchsia and tulips taking high positions on the leader board too.

Hopefully you’re ready and set to get going on your garden! Those green thumbs won’t just get you a nice place to experience summer at home, but could also add some value to your property. Just make sure, if you’re selling, you keep the lawn tidy and well groomed. Consider who you are selling to – a swimming pool might be an absolute must for some people, but considering outdoor swimming pool maintenance costs are as high as £10 per day (£15 per day for indoor) it will alienate buyers who aren’t willing to commit to regular expenses.

If you’re looking to sell to the wider audience, you may consider an investment of a few thousand so to enjoy the benefits of an 88% ROI.