Take a look at any 'house' magazine and one thing that you'll notice is that all the lovely homes they profile also have outstanding gardens. Some may be heavily planted and a floral profusion, others might be ultra-modern and be more like an extension of a sleek interior. Either way, they will be lovingly maintained and a huge asset when it comes to selling the house.
As a person who has bought their last two houses with the garden being one of the key criteria, I know how important gardens are to me, and this is echoed by people that I show around properties. A garden that is too small, or too big, or too shaded, or too hilly, too noisy can lose you a buyer, even if the house itself knocks their socks off.
The key is to make the most of what you've got. With most gardens nowadays you can be restricted by the size of your plot, so it is important to make the garden seem bigger than it is. If your house is in an area popular with families, always have part of the garden laid to lawn, so there is room to put up a swing, or somewhere to kick a ball.
If a garden is large, make sure it is easily managed (unless you're selling a property at the upper-end of the market where the buyer will probably have a gardener). Your labour of love may not be everyone's idea of how to spend their spare time, so be careful how labour intensive you make things.
If you live in a new-build house, you have the perfect opportunity. Most modern developments are based around 3 or 4 different designs, and all have very similar sized gardens. In Nottingham many have been bought up by landlords and rented out, or they are owned by busy couples & families with different priorities than tackling the garden. This gives potential sellers a real opportunity to make their house really stand out from the crowd and achieve a selling price their neighbours can only dream of.
It doesn't need to cost the earth to do, and it best done sooner rather than later if you are contemplating selling. Having a nice patio or deck in a sunny spot can make a big difference, and having an interesting path and maybe a pergola with climbers can add a whole new dimension. If your garden is on the small side, maybe having a raised bed for vegetable growing could be really appealing, and then plant bushes in the corners to add a splash of colour.
Think about who is likely to buy your house (often somebody like you when you bought it!) and cater for their tastes. You won't appeal to everyone, but your efforts won't go unnoticed by the person who ultimately agrees to buy it...
If gardening isn't your thing, find somebody who can help. Relatives & friends can often be easily bribed with a barbecue or similar, or if you're feeling flush employ a gardener to do it for you - it doesn't have to cost £000's but it could easily add £000's to the selling price.
If you're short of inspiration, take to Rightmove or On The Market and have a look at gardens of similar properties that have sold. Also, talk to your Estate Agent - they'll undoubtedly have some examples of gardens that have been popular with buyers, and they also have contacts & recommendations for local gardeners that can help if you need it. If you'd like to talk to us about how to present your garden to appeal to the widest market, give me call on 0115 9629770. I'd love to help!