When you’re preparing your house for sale, the garden can often be forgotten. Furniture is replaced, junk is sorted and disposed of, the paint is renewed, but outside may only get a basic touch-up. A minor garden makeover can ensure your property stands out, and can also generate extra dollars.
All it takes is filling plant gaps, washing the windows, removing cobwebs, laying new gravel and re-seeding brown patches on the lawn. First impressions are lasting, and gardens can sometimes be just as important as the architecture of the house. A property has to stand out on the internet, or when buyers are doing drive-bys.
So start replacing dead plants with new ones, move the old plants around, remove leaves, trim those hedges and add annuals in pots. That’s if your garden is well-established. If not, have a look at http://www.realestate.com.au/home-ideas/ for some ideas on how to spruce up your garden.
More handy tips:
• Focus on the front of the property.
• Make sure the front door is visible.
• Delineate it with standards or strappy, architectural plants, coloured pots or an obvious path.
• Get rid of clutter.
• Make spaces functional.
• External paving must be flat.
• Open up pathways to link spaces and make them obvious.
• Don’t over-prune or plants will look too woody.
• Soft new growth looks fresh and bright green.
A typical garden makeover includes:
• Clipping hedges
• Fixing loose pavers
• Pressure washing paving
• Renewing turf/adding instant lawn
• Adding colour pots
• Cleaning windows
One of the biggest trends in renovating we might be about to see emerge is the mini-makeover.
Think: paints, cupboard handles, tap fittings, wallpapers (yes, wallpapers going up, not coming down) and the polishing of timber floors. Also light fittings and window treatments. Anything that changes the feel and adds a bit of pizzazz without spending the big bucks.
If that sounds like the ’70s revisited, perhaps it is. Hopefully not with such garish results, though. And yes, if you are thinking, ‘hang on, hasn’t everyone been doing this all along?’ In part you are right. But the difference is the mini-makeover will be used by householders to make do for much longer than in recent years.
Why will we see this replace bigger aspirations – at least for now? It’s a meeting of several forces. First, the property market isn’t going anywhere in a hurry at the moment, so the belief that you can do a big reno and flip the property to make a good quid is quickly dissolving. Second, Australians are saving more than we have in years and there’s a propensity to pay down debt. That means making do with what we have and not taking on huge loans to expand our lifestyles. More broadly, employers continue to report that the biggest thing employees are chasing isn’t dollars but work-life balance. Money is still important, yes, but there’s a greater focus on living a life outside of the office, and people aren’t jumping ship for an extra $5,000 or $10,000 like they were a few years ago.
So if they are working less and aren’t prepared to move for a bit more cash, it’s a fairly reasonable conclusion that people will be looking to make their dollar stretch further by extending the life of their current home.
The garden is one place you can have fun with colour but rather than introduce lots of different colours into a small garden bed, try sticking to one shade, perhaps using varying tones. You can add instant colour with pots of whatever is in flower from the nursery.
Just like inside your house, your garden should be neat, tidy and clear of clutter. Weed your garden and keep the lawn trimmed when opening you home for inspection. Consider your plants – remove dead plants and replace with new specimens, but make sure they suit the conditions in your garden: you don’t want them to die before you sell.
You can give your garden a simple makeover before you sell by adding defining borders to your flower beds and adding a focal point. Timber borders are popular, or your can outline your beds with small shrubs or grasses. Add a few larger plants as focal points but keep them in proportion to the size of your garden.