But what are buyers looking for in a garden? The use of garden design to affect the value of a property is a more complex process than you may think. The answer isn’t always obvious.
When a property is going to go on the market, the owners go to great lengths to increase its value. They may add extensions to the home, like conservatories or garages. They might refurbish the living room or modernize the kitchen. But what do you do with the garden? It can be tempting to give it a flashy makeover, as with the rest of the property. But you must be careful here. Going overboard in this department is easier than you think. Garden design remains a largely misunderstood aspect of home renovation. Too many changes can be detrimental to your property value!
You should, of course, smarten up your garden. Maybe you’re not someone who has very green fingers. Many people don’t pay much attention to their garden. As a result, it can get a little untidy. The undiscerning eye may not even see the garden as untidy. But someone with gardening expertise may see a plethora of small problems that never even occurred to you. If you have a friend who knows their way around a garden, ask them to take a look. They may be able to identify areas that could do with a little TLC before you start selling the property. This being said you don’t need to panic if your garden isn’t perfect. A garden that’s a bit rough may even be a selling point.
Let’s say you have a potential buyer who is also a keen gardener. An untidy garden sounds like the death sentence of your sale wishes here, right? Not necessarily. A green-fingered buyer may actually relish the task of getting the garden trim and proper. There are, however, limits. If your garden is untidy to the point where it’s unhygienic, then you will have a problem. A keen gardener may like the idea of getting your plants and grass back into pristine condition, but if the garden is dirty, then they will be reluctant. Rotting leaves, an abundance of bugs, mold, dirty plant pots; who would want to deal with all that? That’s going to turn off all of your potential buyers, not just garden geeks. You can get more info about such issues at http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org.
The point here is that a buyer who is into gardening doesn’t necessarily want all the gardening already done for them. You want the garden to show a lot of potential. Getting your garden neatened and as close to a blank canvas as you can get it may be the best thing you can do. A featureless stretch of glass will excite the imagination of renovators more than you might think.
One thing you shouldn’t do is make your garden flowery and ornate in the hopes of increasing the property value. This will often backfire. Potential buyers will probably find exotic plants and a big, fancy pond pretty. But they'll also be thinking about the required maintenance. The hours it will take to keep those things in good shape may turn off your potential buyers completely. You should liken garden features like these to household objects. It’s almost like selling your home with a preinstalled television and mountains of your books. You’re forcing upon buyers things that suit your tastes and needs but in all likelihood doesn’t suit theirs. They see a problem that it will take time and effort to remove. Ornate gardens also don’t tend to be very family-friendly. They can create several small, enclosed areas. People like to have a lot of room in which to play football or have barbecues. If your garden features stand in the way of that, you may have a problem.
So should you just tidy up the exterior of your property and leave it at that? Not necessarily. You just have to be careful about what you’re doing. Keeping it simple is the key. When people mention ‘landscaping’, what comes to mind is probably the opposite of what we’re trying to say here. People picture bulldozers and chainsaws. They see complete land-upheaval and the planting of thousands of flowers. But it’s not something you should dismiss. Landscaping can be a lot more subtle that you think. It can help you revert a grubby or ornate garden back to a smarter “blank canvas”. Landscapers can help you replace old garden furniture and broken stone. They can also flatten uneven and unsightly land. You can get more information from websites like http://www.poynterlandscape.com/.
If you do want to make additions to your garden with a landscaper, then there are some smart choices you can make. Some trees are always welcome. Not only are they pretty to look at (provided you get a pretty tree); they also reduce the carbon dioxide in the area. They also act as energy savers. By shading the home in the summer and protecting it from the harsh winds of winter, trees help protect your home from the elements. That means less use of air conditioning and heating. It may seem like a small improvement, but prospective buyers do keep this kind of thing in mind, and most of them will appreciate a good tree.
One of the most popular garden trees - and certainly one of the most luscious to look at - is the acer rubrum. You will probably know it as the Red Maple. It may be commonplace wherever you go in the country, but don’t let this fool you. A Red Maple in the garden can do wonders for property value. Check out a tree benefit calculator to work out the financial benefits to a planted tree. One can be found at http://www.treebenefits.com/calculator. Native plants such as the Red Maple are also much easier to take care of than exotic plants, so they won’t scare off potential buyers!
Be sure to keep changes subtle and useful! Buyers may appreciate a simple garden more than you think.