Gardening

Casual Gardener: 'Garden fails' will slash your property value

Indulging nature in your garden could impact on the value of your property...

Letting your garden go wild can reduce the value of your property

ALTHOUGH recent news reports say property prices in south Down are on the rise, I fear I may be slipping into negative equity – and that's even when the mortgage is paid off. The bad news arrived via email last week, a press release to coincide with the vernal equinox, warning me of dark days ahead. Entitled 'The Garden Fails That Can Knock THOUSANDS Off Your Home's Value', it listed the garden features that will put buyers off, alongside those that'll apparently have have them gazumping their own granny.

The experts calling out the so-called garden mistakes didn't have any obvious horticultural associations and were in fact employed by building and renovation materials firm Roofing Megastore, which struck me as akin to a chiropractor offering advice on dental work. Nevertheless, I was intrigued and compelled to read on.

The press release revealed the 15 ‘garden fails’ that could collectively slash the value of your home by around £84,000 – many of which can either be fixed for free, or for very little investment. The findings are drawn from Roofing Megastore’s Garden Trends Report, research based on responses from more than 2,000 prospective homebuyers, who were quizzed on the garden trends and features they most value, and those that would prompt them to lower their offer on a prospective property.

According to the report, structural stuff like a damaged garden wall could see offers reduced by up £6,000, while broken fences would shave £5,400 off a home’s resale value. Others were equally obvious, such as damaged decking (-£5,615), rubbish or debris in the garden (-£5,580), and a cracked or damaged patio (-£5,808).

Interestingly, the negative effect on house prices from each of these poorly maintained features outstripped the adverse impact of having a north-facing garden (-£5,323), an aspect that no amount of building work would remedy – unless you choose to build yourself a roof garden.

What troubled me most, however, was that a number of features in my own garden with which I'm entirely happy could send the value of my property plummeting. It would appear my beloved pond – five years in the making and arguably the centrepiece of the garden – would reduce the price of the house by more than £5,000. Meanwhile, my hedgehog-friendly log pile and dead plant matter left over winter to provide bird food and shelter for hibernating insects could wipe around £6,000 off the property's value. Likewise, the absence of a lawn – a growing trend reflected regularly in this column – would see offers cut by up to £7,000. Cumulatively, it would appear that you can pay a heavy price encouraging biodiversity and indulging nature in your garden.

At the other end of the scale, the research also looked at the garden additions most valued by potential buyers.

"Flexible living and at-home socialising" dominate the top 10 most valued garden improvements, with a conservatory – +£9,550 – being the most desirable, alongside a garden room that can double as an office, which can boost your home's value by around £8,000. With the conspicuous exception of an orangery (+£7,000), all the favoured outdoor features, from a hot tub to an outdoor bar, had little to with gardening and plants, and more to do with hard landscaping. Even astroturf, regarded as a mortal sin by many green-fingered enthusiasts, apparently boosts the value of your home by more than £5,000.

It would appear blandness and sterile landscaping are what homebuyers are seeking over biodiversity and greenery. But thankfully I love my wild-themed garden so much, I've no intention of moving.

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Gardening