WHEN it comes to choosing a property to rent or move to, the past year has taught us that an attractive outdoor space is as important as a clean, tidy and functional bathroom or kitchen.
There have been numerous studies and surveys into how gardening and being outdoors during months of lockdown have benefitted our nation’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
More and more people have developed an appetite for gardening, growing their own flowers, fruit and vegetables – while others have allowed their imagination to adapt their outdoor space to suit their own lifestyle and make it an extension of the home.
So, it seems that promoting your property’s outdoor space and making your garden look nice could attract that perfect tenant, with research from a large study carried out last summer revealing overwhelmingly that renters put ‘access to a garden’ (60 per cent) at the top of their priority list.
The garden has become about much more than just potted plants and decking!
From lockdown landlords setting up their own beer garden (literally), BBQ fans taking it to the next level with fancy fire pits, to others using holiday fund savings to splash out on a hot tub; outdoor spaces have never been so desired.
With soaring online sales of seeds and sundries, garden centres being classed as essential retail during the last two lockdowns and the return of outdoor socialising, it is little wonder that the average household has spent £241 on renovations and £180 on accessories during the pandemic.
A garden census commissioned by power tool manufacturer STIHL revealed a further £140 has been spent on tools by DIYers with more time on their hands, helping to grow the trend for moving the indoors outdoors.
Hot tubs and exercise equipment also proved popular, with one in 20 respondents owning one or the other. Some households have spent cash from cancelled holidays on their own hot tub treat and others have hired them for family lockdown celebrations or birthdays.
How to give your garden a makeover
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be as green-fingered as Monty Don or Alan Titchmarsh to give your garden, courtyard or outdoor space a summer vibe. A few simple and inexpensive tricks will create a fabulous first impression among potential tenants – so time to get to work!
- Tidying the garden is as important as de-cluttering the inside of your home. Put away any tools and throw away any broken pots or planters. Store items in the shed or invest in a portable storage box.
- Show your lawn some tender loving care! Mow the grass and if there are any bare patches, sow some inexpensive grass seed.
- Trim overgrown shrubs and hedges, and ensure flowerbeds and paths are weed and moss free. A few carefully placed potted plants will add instant colour and provide a nice view from rooms looking out onto the garden – particularly if your tenant is working from home.
- Lighten things up with some solar-powered lights and put out some bird feeders or a bird table. These will give the impression that your garden is used and homely.
- And it looks like there is a growing trend for plants and greenery in the front garden too. The number of front gardens with no greenery at all has halved in five years, according to surveys for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) carried out in 2015 by Ipsos MORI and in 2020 by YouGov. Twice as many people said the space at the front of their house is entirely greened up compared with five years ago.
A garden can be just as seductive as the house to prospective tenants– particularly if it is recognised as an extra ‘room’.
A garden or outdoor space, whatever its size, can mean different things to different people – but interesting research from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) carried out at the height of the first lockdown revealed the many wellbeing positives of pottering or relaxing in a garden.
It also found:
- Nearly six in 10 people (57%) said they now value their gardens more than pre-lockdown.
- Over half (51%) said they will value their garden more after lockdown.
- Nearly three quarters (71%) of those who have outside space, said their garden, courtyard or balcony had helped their mental health during lockdown.
- Some 60% of respondents felt that having some outdoor space had helped their physical health during the coronavirus crisis.
- Even the smallest gardens have been helping with people’s mental health, with 59% of people with 10 sq metre or less of outdoor space saying it helped their mental health.
If you have a property that you would like to discuss the management of, or you are looking to become a portfolio landlord, speak to a member of the City and County team today, to understand more about the benefits of partnering with us.