Hiring a landscape gardner
It’s certainly worth taking the advice of a garden designer if you’re planning fundamental changes to your garden. They will come up with a plan of how to maximise space and can show you photos or take you around similar gardens they’ve transformed.
Depending on the size of the garden, you can expect to pay around £400 for an initial consultation and plan, and from around 5 to 15% of the value of the project
Less is more
The availability of outdoor space is at a premium, so you need to consider what you want to use the garden for and what type of buyers it might attract when you eventually come to sell. If it is a family home, it’s wise to maintain a grassy area for children to play on while a low-maintenance garden will be a top priority for busy City professionals. Older buyers tend to have more leisure time, so may be happy to have more flower beds, trees and areas that need tending. But overstock your garden with plants, and you could put off all but the keenest horticulturalists.
Patios and decking
A terrace is high up on most people’s wish list, so look at ways to step out into the garden on to decking or a patio. For a family house, you need enough hard surfacing to put a table and chairs out for six to eight people plus space for a barbecue and a few plants in containers.
More people are investing in lighting and patio heaters to extend the amount of time they can use their garden. With a covered terrace and heating, you can enjoy the outdoors throughout the year.
First impressions count, so don’t neglect your front garden. Keep it tidy and well presented, and plant slow-growing plants that don’t need much maintenance. Invest in screening – perhaps a trellis or fence – to conceal unsightly wheelie bins.
In inner city areas where parking is at a premium, you may want to add a driveway – but call in the professionals. Since 2008, there has been stricter legislation on paving over front gardens, due to concerns about the effect on the environment of removing green spaces in urban areas.