I read a story online this morning about the top garden features that help to sell your house.
Of course, the story was from British newspaper The Telegraph, so understandably the list was quite different from what you might see here. But it still left me feeling a little inadequate.
1 Number one was a tree-lined drive which, the story explained, announces wealth and status. It depends on the trees, of course. Our driveway is tree-lined but I fear that 10-year-old lilly pillys and palms do not equate to 100-year-old oaks and elms. But don’t lose the palms, says my local real estate agent friend. Kiwis love them.
2 A circular sunken lawn is a wonderful centrepiece for a garden, another British agent suggested. I so agree, but we don’t see a lot of sunken lawns in our neck of the woods. Even if your lawn’s not sunken, it will appeal to buyers if it’s lush, well kept and preferably mown into stripes or squares. Good luck with that.
3 In the UK, they call them “terraces “and in New Zealand they’re “outdoor living spaces”. But whatever you call them, they’re winners with home buyers. You don’t have one? Never mind, you can create such a space if you have the room. A paved area on which to sit a table and chairs is vital, while a hedge or timber panels will give privacy.
4 The English have always loved their cottage gardens, but now wildflower meadows are what’s on-trend. If I came across a house with a wildflower meadow, I’d buy it in a flash. Apparently, though, it’s not what appeals to Kiwi buyers, many of whom prefer native gardens or high-end designer spaces.
5 In North London, there’s a great fear of invasion by the Japanese knotweed plant and real estate agents there advise replacing any bizarre-looking plants with familiar varieties that are not on any council hit-list. So is it goodbye to fairy bamboo, dwarf agapanthus and many other plants that are in fact harmless versions of invasive varieties? No! Print out identity tags for them and play up the fact that you have a garden with unusual species.
6 A walled garden is a winner in the UK. Privacy, safety and intimacy are the selling points of an area surrounded by brick or stone walls. Walled gardens are delightful but you can create your own sense of enclosure with hedges, fences, shrubs, plants in tubs or a combination of all of them.
7 British real estate agents say orchards will appeal to those buyers who are searching for the country lifestyle. Even just two or three orchard trees can win people over, my real estate agent says. A word of warning, though. Buy a house with more than a couple of feijoa trees and you’ll become a major nuisance to your mates by turning up with bucketloads of your excess.
8 A kitchen garden with interesting breeds of chooks wandering about is a common dream among British buyers, and Kiwis as well. It’s been dubbed the “Monty Don effect”, after the British celebrity horticulturist. Here in New Zealand, there’s also a growing interest in growing your own fruit and vegetables. Tip from the real estate agent: raised beds that work as part of the overall garden design are quite a selling point.
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