With the amount of gardening programmes on our television screens it's no wonder every second person thinks they're Monty Don. But most of us are not like Monty, with his scruffy hair and deft touch in the geraniums. Most of us are pants.
Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just pants. Last year I attempted to cultivate an allotment. The project began with creative endeavour - verve even, vision - as I drafted in a local tradesman to build me a box and fill it with nutrient rich compost. With gentle encouragement from friends and family I grew a variety of different vegetables, with mild success. I dreamt of a lifetime's supply of five-a-day, of aiding the sick and infirm with the surplus. The courgettes may have been no longer than your average gherkin, but it didn't matter, I took selfies with them anyway. Then I took selfies with the peas, salad leaf selfies, leek selfies and so on. Nevertheless, at some point after the selfies, my interest began to wane. I had other things on the go - the allotment took a back seat and never recovered. After months of neglect, the old patch became a tangled wasteland policed by slugs and other vermin. The compost dried up and the birdpoo quickly accumulated.
When it comes to preparing a property for sale it would be wise not to follow my example - especially if you are looking for a quick turnaround. This doesn't mean you need to become an expert on horticulture but it does mean that if you have a garden you should dust off the trowel and book a trip to the garden centre. A badly presented garden can have a great impact on those that come to view your property - and it may turn people off viewing it altogether. While a bit of shrubcraft and sprucing might not see the value of your home rocket overnight, it will often lead to a quicker sale.
It is a good idea to do some forward-thinking in the garden even if you are not 100% sure about putting your property up for sale. For example, planting bulbs early and planting ones that flower in succession will mean that you have a spot of colour all year round. A cursory google will help you to decide which seeds to sow each season - needless to say there is a seed for everybody. Fuschia, lavender and roses are always popular with housebuyers - and bees, of course.
Should your house be blessed with a large garden it may be that you don't have enough time to tend to it. In this instance it is a good idea to hire a gardener for a few hours a week - or if you have kids get them out digging/weeding/leaf-collecting for a few hours at the weekend. Once a gardener or team of green-fingered children have done the initial work, it should then be easier to keep on top of your garden in the run-up to a sale.
Here are a few top tips for making your garden lush and inviting:
- Mow the lawn into submission
- Declutter and edge the borders of your lawns
- Children's toys should be tidied away, or at least artfully arranged
- Remove any evidence of your pets
- Give the hedges a trim
- Sweep any leaves
- Do the weeding
- Fix broken fences/ ruined sheds/ rickety trellis
- Dredge the pond, if you have one
Gardens can easily get left behind in the push to sell your property. But if you can channel your inner Monty Don you never know who might take a shine to your hard work and make you an offer.
Words: Alasdair Peoples