Utilising your outdoor space effectively is an easy way to boost the appeal and value of your home. Outdoor areas are a huge draw for potential buyers, and a key selling point on online listings - particularly if you live in an urban area. Even if your outdoor space is small or you don’t have much time to garden, making sure it is well-maintained can leave a lasting impression on a potential buyer.
When people come to look round, they are aspirational shoppers. They’re imagining what life might look like for them if they move in. And, it’s much easier to picture lovely summer evenings on a terrace or spring days in the garden, if all the elements are already there for them.
In winter, it’s likely your garden or outdoor space isn’t looking its best. There’s less colour than when the flowers bloom in the spring and summer, and because it’s cold and wet, you’re not regularly using or cleaning your outdoor furniture. If you’re not a keen gardener, you may not really have thought about it until you realised you’d need pictures for your online listing.
Below we run through some easy (and cheap) ways to spruce up your outdoor space, despite the cold.
Let’s start with the essentials. The most efficient way to cheaply refresh a space - and this goes for indoors as well - is to give it a really thorough clean. If you do nothing else, this will make your outdoor space look significantly more inviting.
Target outdoor walls, pathways, and any ‘hard’ features
This includes your doorstep, paving stones, and ornamental things like bird baths. Use a power washer to cut through the buildup of dirt and moss. If any fencing or walls are broken, this is the time to fix or replace them.
Clean windows, window frames, and the door leading to your outdoor space
Before you reach for a damp cloth, wipe off dust and dirt with a brush or a hoover, so that you’re not just wiping it around. Once the surface dirt has been removed, use a glass cleaner on the windows, and a gentle detergent on the doors and frames. You can purchase specifically designed glass cleaners from most supermarkets, or you can make your own by combining: 2 cups of water, with half a cup of white vinegar, and a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol (70%).
Pro Tip: Gentle microfibre cloths will make it easier to avoid leaving streaks on the glass.
There’s nothing more off-putting than cracked plastic lawn chairs covered in green mildew and moss. But well-maintained furniture will evoke images of relaxing summer evenings and leave a strong lasting impression for potential buyers. Depending on what you’re furniture’s made of, give it a good wipe down or power wash.
Pro tip: If you have wooden furniture that could use a bit of a refresh, sanding it down and applying a coat of weatherproof paint can provide an effective upgrade.
If your outdoor space is looking a little bare this winter, a couple of creative tweaks can make the space more welcoming - and photogenic. Landscaping can make a garden look good even if there’s not much in the way of colour in the winter months.
An easy way to create a feature in your garden is with a pathway. This also doubles up as a practical way to avoid damage caused by walking over delicate areas, particularly grass. Creating a pathway can be as simple as placing down large flat pieces of stone in a line. A cheaper, though slightly more labour intensive, alternative is a gravel path.
To create a gravel path, mark out the shape you want it to take, then scrape away any loose soil and grass. Cut out and pin down a permeable membrane over the prepared area. The membrane will prevent weeds coming through the gravel. Your local garden centre will be able to advise which is the best material to use. Once this is securely in place spread the gravel evenly. Aim for a depth of about 2.5cm.
It’s likely that at least some potential buyers will visit your home in the evening, which are darker and earlier in the winter. Making sure your garden is well-lit is both practical - you want potential buyers to be able to see your outdoor space and don’t want them falling over on the way to your front door - and welcoming.
An easy way to attractively light your outdoor space is to be selective. Light up pathways and features to create a sophisticated focal point. If you have a smaller space try stringing outdoor fairy lights in trees or around the edge of your balcony.
Pro tip: Always opt for a warm yellow bulb rather than a bright white to create a more welcoming aesthetic.
Even though it’s cold and frosty, there’s still potential to add a bit of plant life into your garden. A bit of winter colour from greenery can really make your online listing photos stand out, and introducing it is much simpler than you might think.
If you’re lucky enough to have space for bedding plants, consider planting some winter blooming flowers to add a hint of much needed colour. Early bulbs such as snowdrops are simple to plant, and can be bought already blooming.
For something slightly different try planting hellebores. Helleborus niger (or Christmas Rose) is the most well-know variety but they are challenging to grow. If you're new to gardening try starting with a Helleborus x hybridus, also known as an Oriental hybrid. They are very easy to grow, hardy in cold weather, and come in a variety of colours.
Pro Tip: To make your flower beds look their best create a sharp, neat edge between the bed and your lawn using a spade or an edging tool.
If you have a small outdoor space, or it's completely covered in gravel or flagstones, adding a few potted plants is an easy way to integrate some colour and texture. Hardy winter heather comes in white, pink & purple and can easily be grown in pots. Easy-to-maintain evergreens like buxus or firs also make great statement pieces in a thoughtfully placed pot.
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