A garden can do wonder for the lettability of a property, and when done properly, will have potential tenants imagining themselves sitting outside on a warm summer evening, drinking chilled white wine, while the kids play football.
Conversely, a messy, overgrown front yard will have tenants walking away before they’ve even stepped through the front door of your property.
Here are five top tips to make the most of the outside areas of your house, flat, or bungalow.
Keep it simple, stupid.
The English country garden is an ideal. Bowling green lawns, an assortment of delicate flowers blooming in all seasons, and the quintessentially British gravel path, winding through sculpted undergrowth.
But who’s going to take care of it? Gardeners are expensive, and tenants may not want to take on the extra responsibility of keeping your perfect vision of a garden in perfect condition. Lawns become overgrown, gravel spreads, and flowers need replanting. It can be a lot of work.
Ideally, you’ll want something which gives the maximum visual appeal, while requiring minimum maintenance, and which you can replace or renew when your tenant leaves.
Try artificial grass
Once solely the preserve of indoor football pitches, artificial grass has a nasty reputation for looking and feeling like plastic, as well as giving young football players serious burns as they attempt sliding tackles in their local arena.
We’re now in the second decade of the 21st century, and technology has come a long way. Great quality artificial grass can be had for a bargain price from many carpet shops, and will look and feel just like the real thing. It gives an instant appeal to any property, never needs cutting, and can be laid down on top of concrete or any other solid material.
Water features add a touch of class
Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in the countryside or near to the sea, but a water feature can help create the mental illusion that you’re far away from the hustle of city life.
If you have the space, a 4ft by 8ft pond can be dug in an afternoon, and lined with damp-proof membrane for under £10. A small solar-powered filter and pump can be purchased from Amazon for a similar amount.
For smaller gardens and yards, water butt features are available from hardware stores and garden centres.
Make your garden an extension of the house
The British summer doesn’t last a particularly long time, so it’s important to make the most of it while you can, and spend enjoying the outdoors while you can.
Eating every meal at the dinner table gets boring after a while, and eating al Fresco is a pleasure regardless of the size of your garden. Furnishing the back garden with a small patio dining set will make potential tenants imagine the possibilities of continental breakfasts in the morning sun, as well as long lazy evenings spent watching the sun go down over the neighbouring houses. A fire pit or chiminea will allow them to stay warm outside for longer – even when winter comes.
Recognise that there’s no such thing as too small
You may have acres of land available to sculpt into an astroturfed waterpark and dining area, but the chances are that you’re letting a property in an urban or suburban area, and the outside portion of the property may be only a few square feet.
It can be tempting to let small back yards act as storage spaces or simply the place where your tenants hang out the washing. Don’t fall into this trap Even the tiniest balcony can be home to beautiful, fragrant plants and the wildlife that comes with them. Pansies, begonias, and trailing lobelia will thrive in pots situated in partial shade, add attractive colour and scents to otherwise dull, enclosed areas.