We all know that when we put our house on the market it should be clean, tidy and well presented both inside and out.
The marketing of a property by a real estate agent always covers both the inside and outside of the home and includes the garden, outbuildings, paths, paving, fences and any other structures and features.
Recent overseas research has shown that people are not just gardening as a hobby, but rather enhancing the garden as a home improvement exercise. This investment in your garden can reap quite substantial rewards. Research by UK based Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed that the development of a landscaped, quality, family-friendly garden at a cost of NZD2700 could earn the seller NZD18,000.
In reality a well designed garden with indoor/outdoor flow and the creation of enclosed outdoor rooms using modern material and systems to create warm cosy spaces may add even more.
Good things take time
This value is not achieved overnight with a quick garden makeover. Like cheese, a good garden takes time. Therefore a good investment in design and construction is required before a garden can provide all the potential added value. Certainly an investment in walls, fences, garden structures paths and patios will provide an early return on investment, however to gain the most return plants need to be established and growing well.
Newly planted plants from the garden centre just look like that – newly planted. Trees of a small size do not show a garden that has been developed.
The challenge then is to have an excellent planting scheme and the plants to be planted and cared for to make the garden. This includes planting the right plant in the right place, nutrients and mulch for growth, pruning and training for the right effect and general maintenance care throughout the year.
If we want to add even greater value we need to look at some other examples for inspiration. Antiques, furniture and collectables that add even more value to a home. When choosing plants for a garden we need to select plants that are unusual, rare or of exceptional quality for their form, texture, growth habit, flowering and fruiting. Those bread and butter lines we get from garden centre today are the same plants that everyone else has. What is needed is something different, high quality and timeless. They are classic plants.
Of course collecting these plants takes time and effort over a number of years. It does not happen overnight. Like collecting antiques the pleasure lies in exploring retail outlets, the internet, mail order nurseries and of course those out of the way nurseries.
Another example we can draw inspiration from is the world of Art. Those of us who collect art know the value it can add to our property. Garden art can do this as well. Sensible investments include some of the better quality pieces of sculpture, craft or pottery.
While we can continue to invest in the garden, one of the best investments is time and expertise. There are many gardening techniques that we need to employ to bring the best out of our outdoor spaces such as soil care, lawn management, pruning and training, special planting schemes, general maintenance, weed control, plant care, and pest and disease management. This is important because once a problem occurs or manifests itself it is not easily fixed and can take up to a year to correct. Therefore good garden management all year round is important.
Investment in your garden will provide you with the benefits of an attractive outdoor area and economic gain when you want to realise your assets.