By Richard Unsworth
When it comes to selling your house and preparing it for the mega-competitive marketplace, it’s often the case that the outside is completely overlooked, with the focus almost entirely on the interior.
Your garden is an integral part of the home, and in my opinion, presenting it in the best light can make your property really stand out from the crowd as it’s usually the first thing that a prospective buyer will see.
But it’s important, of course, not to go over the top and be realistic with your budget as the last thing you want to do is overcapitalise.
So, how do you get the best value when you prepare your garden for transformation?
- Asses the assets and liabilities in the space. What is not working, and what really are the stand outs? Can’t see the wood for the trees? Do you have some beautiful trees, but you can’t see them because messy shrubs are in the way, or vice versa? Clear away scrappy plants that add nothing. Prune to shape and give definition, prune any dead wood in trees that are unsightly.
- Bad paving underfoot? Sometimes it’s not as expensive as you think to lay a new floor, and the results can be transformational. It may just be in a certain section, a new smart front path, or stone pad for entertaining.
- Entertaining areas. Prospective purchasers like to see areas for entertaining, even if it’s just a simple courtyard/paved space with either an outdoor lounge setting or dining setting.
- Create a strong dramatic focal point with a hero planter or pot composition. It’s instant and so simple to create a strong visual using one large statement piece, or cluster of planters to draw the eye away from something unsightly or transform a dull space. Pots are so portable, you can buy the ones you love and take the pieces to your next property.
- Small touches in the right spots work wonders – use pairs of smaller pots with massed succulents by outdoor steps, doorways, on table tops. Don’t forget indoor plant specimens too in those important areas.
- Advanced plant specimens are a great way to instantly fill in empty gaps, screening unsightly views as well as creating instant scale and impact.
- Make your prospective purchaser fall in love with a stunning water feature – they are more portable than you think so you can always take it to your next home, or sell it back to the new owner.
- If you don’t have a budget for a water feature, float bowls are romantic, effective, affordable and so easy to fill with inexpensive blooms before an open house.
- Border plants – if the front of your garden beds are messy and inconsistent, plant multiples of the same low plant to tie it all in together. Repetition is the key to replacing order. Use long flowering plants such as lavenders or flowering kalanchoe for instant colour.
- Fresh mulch on tired beds can make a huge difference and costs next to nothing. Same goes for pebbles or gravel walkways, use a natural Nepean pebble or Cowra white for a fresh contemporary look. Drop in pavers as stepping stones, so easy.
- Ugly timber fences – paint in a dark colour and watch them disappear. Rubber wall pots massed with assorted succulents can create a very affordable and instant greenwall.
- If you have the budget, mount laser-cut screens, or other wall art in high visibility areas.
—Richard Unsworth is a renowned garden designer and owner of Sydney’s iconic outdoor store, Garden Life St Peters.