Property: Make the most of your garden

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As a nation of garden lovers and barbecue fans, it’s no wonder our outdoor space is as important a selling point as a stylish bathroom suite or modern kitchen inside the home.

A garden – whatever its size – can provide all-important extra space in terms of an alfresco dining and entertaining area, somewhere to relax or an outdoor play facility for the children.

When it comes to making the most of your home as you prepare it for sale, now is the perfect time to turn your attention to the garden and bring it out of hibernation.

Survey figures from 2012 suggest that a staggering £3.9 billion was spent on gardens, with simple and achievable improvements favoured over outdoor luxuries.

According to the HSBC Gardens Survey, Brits were estimated to spend an average of £83 on garden landscape improvements during the year – a 10 per cent increase since 2011.

Independent estate agents, Harrison Murray stress the importance of having an attractive and well-maintained garden - whether it is a small courtyard or spacious landscaped area.

A few simple and inexpensive tricks will create a fabulous first impression, and could even increase the value of your home.

- Tidying the garden is as important as de-cluttering the inside of your home. Put away any outdoor toys or tools, and throw away any broken pots or planters. Store items in the shed or invest in a portable storage box. Make sure there is no washing hanging on the line during viewings!

- Spring is the perfect time to show your lawn some tender loving care! Mow the grass and if there are any bare patches, sow some inexpensive grass seed prior to putting your property on the market.

- Trim overgrown shrubs and hedges, and ensure flowerbeds and paths are weed and moss free. A few carefully placed potted plants will add instant colour and provide a nice view from rooms looking out onto the garden.

- Lighten things up with some solar powered lights and put out some bird feeders or a bird table. These will give the impression that your garden is used and homely.

Harrison Murray head of estate agency Nick Salmon said: “A garden can be just as seductive as the house to prospective buyers – particularly if it is recognised as an extra ‘room’.

“A garden or outdoor space, whatever its size, can mean different things to different people. Families may be content with using their outdoor ‘room’ as an extension of their home to create additional space for the children or for entertaining – others happy to have a small space that entails very little maintenance but is pleasant to look at.

“Whatever the size of the garden, don’t overlook it when you come to sell your home. It should receive the same attention as the rest of the property.”

According to the HSBC Gardens Survey:

- Almost three quarters of people (72 per cent) put relaxing as the top pastime in the garden, with 41 per cent saying they enjoyed al fresco dining.

- The East Midlands region bucked the trend for spend on gardens at £253, with the national average standing at £185.

- People in the Eastern part of the country spend the most number of days in their garden in 2012 – 112 compared to just 74 days for Londoners.

- The national average spent on new landscape projects was £83 – compared to £71 in 2011 – however, the amount spent on planting dipped from £73 to £39.