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How does your garden grow?

In the warmer climates found throughout NSW, outdoor living spaces are highly valued commodities in a home. But what is the best way to add the most value to your clients’ properties before sale?

The rule of green thumb according to Matthew Cantwell, Director of the landscaping firm Secret Gardens, is that 5–30 per cent of a property’s value should go toward landscaping the garden, if a professional landscape design is the way that your clients want to go.

He provided these tips to keep in mind when advising vendors about designing a residential garden or outdoor space.


There is a considerable difference in the style of garden that works best in an urban space as compared to a rural property, but what particular elements work best in these locations?

  • Urban homes – Buyers typically want a clean, modern look for their gardens, a space that is an extension of their indoor living area.
  • Suburban homes – Typically buyers are after entertaining areas, but designs also include swimming pools, expanses of lawn, layers of planting and play zones for children.
  • Rural properties – These designs are about providing similar elements to suburban residential properties, but ensuring that the design is not too overstated and the planting blends into the surrounds.


Potential buyers

If your clients want to appeal to a particular demographic that is drawn to houses in their area, these hints may help them to determine the style of garden to choose for the best return.

  • Young singles like outdoor entertaining areas and prefer an edgier, more current look. As they tend to be drawn more toward inner city suburbs with smaller-sized properties, this style can be easily achieved in a paved courtyard with minimal low-maintenance planting and space for outdoor seating.
  • Families like a softer looking space, generally with an established lawn. Planting is important to incorporate in line with the structural requirements of the house, and the style of the garden can be classic or contemporary depending on what the architecture dictates.
  • Investors who will be letting out the property will be interested in appealing to the broadest range of buyers. The trend towards outdoor entertaining has been strong for at least 10 years now, so designing a space with this in mind could very well be a wise investment, but be careful not to overdo it.

There are many other less expensive ways to improve the appeal and resultant sale price of a home, however, if expenditure is an issue for your clients.

A 2011 survey conducted by Turf Australia found that simply adding a lawn to a property can add up to $83,000 to the sale price of a residential home. Studies have shown that 73 per cent of homebuyers are more interested in properties that have a safe place for their children to play, so adding a lawn is definitely a sound investment.

Patios and decks are another way to considerably increase the value of a home, especially when considering the trend for outdoor entertaining spaces. Structural integrity and durability of materials are the most important elements to consider, particularly if your clients intend doing the bulk of the work themselves.

Another common trend in urban and suburban environments is the cultivation of kitchen gardens for both homeowners and residential tenants.

Accommodating this desire can be as easy as setting aside an area of the garden that can be used to create raised beds for planting.

An important final touch is renovating an existing front yard to improve the kerb appeal of the property. While ensuring that the area is clean and well maintained is essential, adding a carefully designed garden path, planting selection or rockery could make a more significant difference when it comes to your clients getting a higher sale price for their property.

Whether for entertaining, relaxing or providing a safe place for play, gardens and outdoor living spaces are excellent selling points for all kinds of properties. Finding the right style to suit individual properties is vital to helping you achieve the best price for your clients, so do your research to ensure you provide the right advice.



Although more commonly seen as an addition to residential properties, gardens and landscaped areas can also add a great deal of value to commercial properties such as industrial parks, office blocks and retail spaces.

Gunning Commercial Director Malcolm Gunning said, “If a business property is attractive and has well-designed gardens or landscaping that seems to be fresh and healthy, it will attract more interest and this drives up the sale or rental price.

“Landscaping for commercial properties should be low maintenance,” Malcolm explained.

“Planting should be organised and not scrappy, and complementary to the style of the building. Any building that has been purposely designed to incorporate user-friendly gardens or landscaped areas will draw people to it.”

This article was first published in the May 2013 edition of the REINSW Real Estate Journal.