What the numbers say
In recent months gardens have become a must have for many potential home buyers. In the seller market there seems to be some confusion about the value a garden can add to the value of the property.
As part of our market research we have been conducting an ongoing study to find out just how much your garden can add to the value of the property.
Using data gathered on the importance of different garden features to potential values we build a garden value calculator. This shows you how much your garden is currently worth, how much it could be worth and what investments are worth it as far as property value is concerned.
A word of caution
Before you read this and go out spending thousands on your garden, bear in mind the risk factors when it comes to making money from property.
House prices are area dependent and also react to national events.
It is a common belief that regardless of the investment you put into a property it will not go much past its ceiling price.
It would be worth looking into the area ceiling prices and gaining a good understanding of the housing market before making a decision to invest.
Should you invest in your garden?
There is no one size fits all answer for this however you can get a good idea by answering a few questions.
- How much could my house improve in value
- How much could the value of my garden be increased?
- What investments will make the biggest difference?
- How much will those investments return compared to their cost?
The first question is for you to answer. The rest of the article will use our data to help you answer the last 3 questions assuming you are far enough below the ceiling price to be able to improve the value of your property.
How much could you increase the value of your garden?
We looked at the potential value of each garden based on the house value and the overall size of the garden. The chart below shows the average house value increase that our participants could achieve through investing in their garden.
Based on our data, the average person could increase the value of their house 7.4% by investing in their garden.
Based on the national average house price is £231,855 this would mean an average house value increase of £17,157 through improving the garden.
How garden size effects house value
As you would expect, not all gardens are equal. Generally speaking, the smaller the garden the less it can add to the value of the house.
We asked our participants to rank the size of their garden from very large to tiny. Garden size should be compared to the common size for your size of property not the total size.
A small garden for a £1,000,000 house may be a very large garden for a £200,000 house.
The next chart shows the potential property value increase our participants could achieve depending on their garden size.
If we worked out how much a fully optimised garden could add to the UK national average house price it would be something like this:
A large garden would add £22,026
A medium garden would add £18,084
A small garden would add £9,854
Even for small gardens, this amount is nothing to turn one’s nose up at. Especially as this is the average amount that could be added to an already existing garden which holds some value already.
Most valuable garden improvements
Now that we have looked into how much value could be added to your garden depending on the house value and size of the garden, let’s look at which improvements could add the most value.
Based on an average house value of £329,617.49 the chart below shows the potential house value for a range of common garden improvements.
These were picked as the most commonly asked about factors.
Here is a quick explanation for each of the features above. In the next section we will cover return on investment from each of these garden improvements.
The garden shed
Coming in first is the humble garden shed. Having somewhere to store things that don’t need to live in the house is high up on the list of desirable garden features.
We recommend a good quality wooden shed or a composite shed. Go for a standard or neutral colour to make sure it works for most potential buyers.
At the very least it needs to be able to store some bikes and some furniture. If you don’t have a garage it may be a good idea to invest in a bigger shed.
A nice patio
As people spend more time at home, having somewhere to enjoy the garden has become a must. With our unpredictable weather a lawn can be too wet to use and wont support furniture.
A good quality patio made from sandstone or porcelain will create a practical and visually stunning area which will last years.
When planning out a patio think about both how it will look and what it will be used for. Most people use patios for tables and chairs and as a social area.
A good quality fence
Coming in closely behind a patio is the garden fence. Buyers care about security and privacy when thinking of enjoying the garden. We recommend at least a 6ft fence.
Close board panels with concrete posts are the go too but if you are going up market there are plenty of unique options to choose from.
If you have nosey neighbors or closely overlooking houses it can be a good idea to get 8ft fences or to extend the top of the fence with a small trellis to obscure the view.
In fourth place is outdoor lighting. This one was a surprise as not that many people have it but outdoor lighting is one of the things people look for.
It makes the garden pretty in the evenings and darker months, can make people feel more safe and also acts as a safety feature if there are trip hazards.
You can get an electrician to install some quickly or there are plenty of good options which you can install yourself and just plug into an outdoor socket.
Performing a similar function to paving but offering more versatility where elevation is needed for drainage is poor. Decking is fast becoming a popular feature with composite decking being one of our most requested items this year.
Outdoor features and water features
In 6th place garden ornaments and water features. These need to be chosen with care, work for the garden and not be too specific in their taste. Adding a feature such as a small gabain pond or a fire pit can be attractive and excite ideas about relaxing and enjoying the space.
A must at the moment, good garden furniture can make or break a garden. At the very least you should go for a table and some chairs for those sunny afternoons.
Last of all is artificial grass. As the trend of low maintenance gardens picks up we have seen huge demand for artificial grass to replace lawns. Artificial grass lawns were at one time seen as cheap. Now with new materials they are highly realistic, last or decades and are not too bad price wise.
Artificial grass won’t appeal to everyone but it is gaining popularity fast so it could be a good investment, especially if you don’t take care of the lawn.
Best return on investment for garden upgrades (ROI)
By now you should have a good idea if investing in the garden will be a good idea and what you could do.
To know which investments to go for you need to weigh up the potential return on investment. This will assume that each feature is either terrible or non existent so it needs to be fully replaced.
Below are a couple of screenshots of our average house with an average garden. I have added a reasonable size and type of each feature. Below we will go through the ROI on each garden investment using our real prices.
This is an example of a garden with all the features, now this isn’t necessarily optimised so it may not achieve the full added value but most features should get it part of the way there.
The chart below shows the ROI as a percentage based on the features in the garden above.
Even if we decreased the ROI to account for other factors there are still some impressive potential returns to be had.
The winner here was ornaments and water features. The fire pit we used in this design is likely to be one of the cheaper features you could opt for.
When thinking about adding a garden feature make sure it is something that most people would like to see in their garden. Things like ponds can be off putting if they need maintenance.
Second is outdoor lighting. Garden lightning has an outsized impact compared to its price and ease of installation. It’s a no brainer as an investment.
The garden shed is a solid investment even if you go for something more expensive like a composite shed.
Work out the best garden investments
Now you’ve had a brief run through the whole process to work out what garden Investments are best.
Find out exactly how much garden improvements could increase your property value with our garden value calculator.
You can do this exercise for your own garden using our landscaping cost calculator which gives you real time prices for full supply and installation of most garden features.