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L​andscaping and outdoor renovations: 25+ facts about the value of gardens

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Posted
03 JULY 2023
6 min read
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What is landscaping?

Landscaping is more than simply planting a few trees and shrubs. It involves tastefully designing and shaping outdoor spaces to create an environment which enhances a home. After all, your garden is an extension of your home – it’s another space where you can spend time.

As such, landscaping involves creating a balance between hardscaping features, such as patios and walkways, and softscaping elements such as trees, flowers, and grassy areas, so that you have a usable space. For many experts, a garden should be a careful blend of nature and man-made features. But really you can landscape and design your garden in a way that suits you.

Why is landscaping important for your home's exterior design?

​​​​Most people agree a well-designed and usable garden adds value to a property – but the amount varies quite a bit and lacks current research. Data from Acorn Gardening suggests that the average person could increase the value of their house ​7.4% by investing in their garden. An earlier Post Office Money Survey suggests the amount of value ​could actually be up to 77%, although they did warn the property market changes all the time, so these values are never guaranteed.

Factors which influence how much how garden could add to your property price include:

  • Location. Reported research has suggested the value of gardens is likely to vary across the country – for example, in London, the value is huge (​​adding up £90,000 to your home’s value).
  • Size. According to Acorn Gardening, the smaller your garden, the less value it can add to the house. That’s not to say there’s no potential in upgrading a small garden, it’s just that homeowners should be aware there may be some kind of value limit related to its size. The research suggests a “fully-optimised garden” could add the following amounts to the UK national average house price (at the time they used £231,855, but this figure changes often):
    • ​​​A large garden could add £22,026
    • A medium garden could add £18,084
    • A small garden would add £9,854
  • The orientation of the garden. South-facing gardens are likely to be the most appealing for prospective buyers.
  • Trends. During the coronavirus pandemic, research from the the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, reported by This Is Money, revealed that 80% of estate agents thought demand for gardens will rise for next two years. Indeed, a key driver for purchasers since the pandemic has been good, usable outside space and we’re enjoying our outdoor spaces more than ever before. Trends like this can impact the market value of all property features.

How much does gardening cost?

While we may be appreciating our outdoor spaces more, how much does it cost us to have a nice garden? Well, it really depends on what you do, as well as the size of your garden:

Design element Unit Average cost
Lawn Per m2 £14
Turf (including top soil and labour) Per m2 £15-£25
Planting Per m2 £40-£70
Paving  Per m2  £80-£160
Decking Per m2 £80-£160
Water feature Small pond and installation £900
Source: Checkatrade

For a complete transformation of a large rear garden of 100m2, Checkatrade suggest it’ll cost between ​£5,000 and £10,000. Higher costs are to be expected if you enlist the help of a garden design landscaper (an estimated​ £100 per square metre for both the labour and materials), but you could save money if you’re happy with the existing design of your garden. Then you may only need to spend around ​£30 per square metre for planting. Other features – such as lighting, fire pits or any garden rooms – will inevitably add to the costs of your project. The price of a garden renovation really depends on how grand your plans are.

How outdoor renovations can add value to your home

While it’s worth noting there’s likely a cap on how much your garden could be worth before you start spending, it’s important to acknowledge the value of a garden beyond just what it adds to your house price. So while the first point addresses increased property values, we turn to other benefits of landscaping and outdoor renovations.

Improves curb appeal and could increase value of property

Of course, as we’ve discussed, a good garden can add value to a home. The Post Office Money estimates are based on the median asking price of a three-bedroom, semi-detached house in the UK (at the time of research, this was £286,000). They found garden landscaping added the most value to a home, with similar properties with an asking price of up to ​77% more than the local median.

Prospective buyers place a lot of value on having a garden. Foxtons estate agents found that even though over 20% of Britons only spend a maximum of two hours in their garden every month, 62% of people say having one is important when finding the right property. If you take care of your outside space, it’s likely you’ll find it much easier to sell when the time comes (and for potentially more money).

Creates usable and enjoyable spaces

Of course, you may simply want to renovate your garden for you and your family to enjoy – not to sell on. And once you see your garden as an extension of your living space, the opportunities really unfold.

In particular, adding a patio or decking space provides the perfect platform for outdoor furniture and other fixtures, such as a BBQ. These areas encourage you to spend more time outside and actually use your garden. When you consider that we tend to ​​spend around 90% of our day inside, it’s important to pursue efforts which get us in the fresh air more regularly.

Could add security and privacy to your garden

Lighting creates an inviting atmosphere at night, so you can maximise the amount of time you can enjoy your garden. But it’s also important for security reasons. A burglary takes place ​​every 106 seconds in the UK, and costs around £3,030, on average, according to statistics. So any steps you can take to enhance the security of your home from the outside are useful, including:

  • Motion-sensored lighting
  • Gravel driveways or pathways, which create noise when walked on
  • Fences which aren’t easily scalable

Changes to your garden can also enhance its privacy. From adding a fence or screen, or planning strategic planting and selecting tall trees or plants, there are many ways to create a private and intimate space for yourself – all of which stops neighbours or potential thieves from peering into your garden.

Potential to provide additional spaces for work

What people value most in a garden will vary, but a rising trend has been for additional places to work. While the coronavirus pandemic was the driving force behind remote work initially, workers now want the opportunity to work from home more often. In February 2022, government data found​ 84% of workers who had to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic said they planned to carry out a mix of working at home and in their place of work in the future. Hybrid work options are now incredibly popular.

As a result, so are garden offices. A separate space allows workers to focus in a distraction-free environment, while only having to walk back through their garden to ‘commute’ home. Housebuilder & Developer predict a garden office could add ​​5% to the value of your property, not to mention the benefits of an improved work-life balance with the necessary boundaries a dedicated workspace provides.

Can improve how wildlife-friendly your garden is

A well-designed landscape not only provides an enjoyable outdoor experience, it offers important environmental benefits, including the promotion of biodiversity. Greenery, flowers, and trees provide habitats for wildlife, and are a particularly welcomed haven in built-up areas.

Fostering biodiversity doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. It can be as simple as incorporating native plants that attract pollinators or installing a bird feeder. You can also provide shelter for various critters by adding a birdhouse or leaving brush piles in a designated area.

There's also something to be said for the wonderful feeling of seeing wildlife flourish in your garden. In fact, according to the Mental Health foundation, research shows that​​ “people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life and more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile”. Nature – anything from sitting on a beach next to a stream to watching birds from your window – can generate many positive emotions, including calmness, joy, and creativity.

Healthy habits

Gardening is an enjoyable hobby and it’s a rewarding experience – for gardeners of all abilities – to watch your space flourish with each passing season. According to reports, the average Brit spends ​​86 minutes a week gardening (as well as 16 minutes and 17 minutes cleaning the patio and driveway respectively). These habits not only contribute to a well-maintained home, but they keep us active and enjoying some fresh air outdoors.

Try to keep your garden relatively low maintenance, though, if you’re planning to sell and move at some point, as many people are put off by gardens which would take a lot of work and upkeep.

Different ways to improve your garden

Not sure where to start with your garden renovations? We’ve put together some ideas:

A deck or patio

A deck or patio is an incredible way to improve your outdoor space. It’s the perfect addition that not only enhances the look of your garden but also offers a functional area to relax and entertain guests. You can create a seating area where you can soak up some sunshine, read a book or enjoy the beauty of nature. As we mentioned before, it’s a way of really extending your living space.

Outdoor kitchens

If you really want to make the most out of having your garden as another ‘room’, then installing an outdoor kitchen could be a great opportunity. While it’s an investment (Checkatrade estimates the ​​average cost of a full outdoor kitchen is £20,000), for those who spend a lot of time having barbecues or garden parties, it could be an invaluable addition to the home. Options for outdoor kitchens may include:

  • Pizza ovens
  • Bar areas
  • Built-in BBQs
  • Covered seating areas
  • Sinks

Hardscaping features like garden walls and pathways

By incorporating elements like garden walls, fences and pathways, you not only add functionality to your space, but also create visual interest and depth. A garden wall can act as a stunning backdrop for your plants while giving them a defined space to grow within. Pathways provide practicality by creating an easy and intentional way for visitors to navigate your space while also adding character depending on the material used. Whether you choose stone, brick, or even wood, these hardscaping features can elevate your outdoor space.

And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. It’s likely you already have fences, walls or similar, but they may just need refreshing. Repainting your fences or shed, for example, can make a big difference. Similarly, weeding around your pathways and cleaning them up will improve the overall look of your garden.

Planting more flowers and shrubs

A garden can be a wonderful oasis, providing a tranquil space to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. One of the best ways to enhance this peaceful haven is by planting more flowers and shrubs.

Be sure to consider the seasonality of your garden, so there’s things to look at all year round. Choosing the right plants and trees that bloom in different seasons will ensure that your garden is always alive and full of colour – from the bright hues of flowers in spring to the warm tones of autumn leaves dropping next to evergreens to enjoy all winter.

If you’re worried about moving on soon and not being able to enjoy the investment, consider using pots for the plants you’d like to take with you.

Outdoor furniture

Whether you’re hosting a barbecue, enjoying a sunset with loved ones, or simply soaking up nature, outdoor furniture provides comfortable and practical seating options. Not only does it add to the beauty of your garden, but it also makes it a more functional space to relax and entertain.

Water features

Adding water features to your garden can take your outdoor space to the next level. Whether you prefer elegant fountains, birdbaths, or enchanting ponds, water features provide a sense of serenity and peacefulness with the sound of flowing water. They are also a vital resource for wildlife, and will attract birds, bees, butterflies and insects into your garden.

Sheds, summer houses or garden cabins

Having additional buildings outside can provide another room for you to use as you need, whether that’s for storage, entertainment, or office space. And you typically won’t need to get planning permission for a garden room as they tend to fall into the ‘outbuildings’ category. There are certain restrictions regarding the size and height of any garden room, but most homes have permitted development rights within a certain distance of the property. While you should check the regulations within your local area, the key rules to note are:

  • Outbuildings should be single story
  • They should not exceed more than 50% of the garden (including existing outbuildings)
  • They should not be position on land in front of the principal elevation of the home (the front)
  • Outbuildings can’t be considered dwellings, so mustn’t have any plumbing

Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

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