KISS your garden before thinking of selling. This is what Sandy Geffen, director at Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty recommends. According to Geffen, if two similar homes are on the market in the same area the only real differentiator is the garden. The majority of potential buyers will go back to the property with an attractive outdoor space for a second viewing. Thus, it is important to KISS your garden, Keep It Sleek and Simple, no matter the size of your outdoor space. As cities densify and space becomes scarce, the importance of creating an outdoor space with dual purpose as an additional living space increases. “The catch-phrase that you see all over when desirable properties are put on the market is ‘indoor-outdoor flow’, because functionality-wise gardens nowadays have to service many more needs than a patch of grass to kick a football and a place to park a car,” says Geffen.
It’s a buyer’s game
Prospective buyers still prefer minimalistic gardens designed with clean lines, cautions Geffen, so it is important to keep this in mind when designing your outdoor living space. Hot international trends to consider implementing in your own garden are miniature landscapes in pots and vertical gardens that make the most of our smaller outdoor spaces. Potted vegetable and herb gardens are also very much on trend. South Africa is a water scarce country so indigenous plants are definitely the way to go – bonus being that these plants will keep your outdoor space attractive year-round.
Geffen says to achieve that desired indoor-outdoor flow invest in extended patios with room to entertain. From a design perspective, local buyers are attracted to international trends – weathered multi-level decking with built-in planters and anything made out of sustainable materials.
Hard structural changes to a home must be carefully weighed up however, cautions Geffen, “The danger here is over-capitalisation.” The substantial investment of creating a dreamy outdoor, extended living space must be weighed up against the potential increased return on investment when the property is eventually sold.
According to Geffen, a relatively inexpensive upgrade to modernise your garden is well-designed outdoor mood lighting. Geffen says that this aspect is often forgotten by sellers and can make or break the atmosphere of open-air entertainment areas. “Gone are the days when a single lamp over the front door comprised the only lighting in your garden,” explains Geffen. “Outdoor lighting is now very much a feature rather than a necessary evil and should be worked into a garden’s overall design plan.”
Geffen’s final tips for creating a great outdoor space with minimal effort? “Don’t pave over the whole garden, don’t let it become totally overgrown, try your best not to remove mature trees, and add interesting visuals such as pots and feature walls that capture the imagination and make people want to spend time there.”