The experts at Belvoir reveal seven simple steps to making the most of your outdoor space if you’re remarketing your rental property this summer
Providing appealing outdoor living solutions for tenants can help add a premium to your rental property. However, following the long winter months, most outside spaces will need a little extra help so give your garden an annual MOT maintenance makeover now…
1. Pest control
Weeds can infiltrate flowerbeds, pots, gravel, lawns and even patios at speed so it’s important to keep on top of the problem before it grows.
“An abundance of unsightly weeds can make even the nicest of outside spaces look uncared for and unkempt,” says owner of Belvoir Bury St Edmunds and Belvoir Norfolk Patsy Day.
“They instantly affect a property’s kerb appeal and if yours appears tatty on the outside, potential tenants will undoubtedly question what it looks like on the inside.
“There are a variety of ways you can help stop weeds in their tracks,” she continues. “Remove them by hand (including the roots), try a topical weedkiller, or help prevent their ability to grow and spread by laying a weed-suppressing membrane or tightly packing borders and beds with ground-covering plants and shrubs.”
Pay particular attention to signs of Ivy and Japanese Knotweed too. These invasive and destructive pests can quickly suffocate surrounding plants, plus cause damage to nearby infrastructure, guttering and drains.
2. Cutting back
Fast-growing shrubs, trees and bushes can quickly get out of control so take preventative action now.
“To make the most of your outdoor space cut back overgrown shrubs, bushes and trees,” says owner of Belvoir Nuneaton and Hinckley and co-owner of Belvoir Tamworth Clayton Foston.
“Not only will this make your garden look larger and neater it will also free-up space for other plants to shine, plus prevent a potential safety hazard to your tenant and property.
“If any of your trees or bushes are already out of control it’s advisable to seek professional guidance.”
3. Clean sweep
After the long cold snap it’s time to win the war on winter debris.
“During the winter months dead leaves will fall and debris will gather in most gardens,” says Patsy. “In addition to making your garden look untidy, if left it can also pose a slipping risk, plus provide snails and slugs with a place to hide.
“Give your garden a good spring clean to keep it looking at its best. Rake up, sweep up or invest in a leaf blower, disposing of the debris appropriately, perhaps on a compost heap.”
Remember to check guttering and drains too. Blockages from winter debris are a commonplace occurrence and, if ignored, can cause damage to the fabric of your property.
4. Create some colour
Nothing shouts summer more than a colourful visual feast of flora and fauna.
“An array of colourful plants, shrubs, containers and pots all add a touch of summer impact and desirability to a garden,” says Clayton.
“They add interest, texture, colour and fragrance as well as attracting summer wildlife, such as butterflies, birds and bees.
“A colourful garden, with a well-thought through scheme, can add visual appeal for a tenant and can brighten up even the smallest of spaces.”
5. Seating plan
With outdoor living becoming more and more popular offering a stylish outside seating area can help ‘sell’ the indoors-outdoors lifestyle.
“Most tenants will want a defined space where they can dine alfresco with family and friends throughout the summer months,” says Patsy.
“Patios or paved areas are particularly popular, as is raised decking. Before committing to an outdoor dining solution, however, always consider the initial costs, plus potential longevity and possible maintenance needs.
“Decking, for example, can be slippery in winter, plus will need regular applications of wood treatment and periodical checks for signs of decay or rot.”
6. Safe and secure
Well-maintained boundaries keep a garden self-contained, adding an extra layer of security and privacy to a property.
“Are your boundaries and borders safe and secure?” asks Clayton. “After the rainy and windy season, check out boundary walls, fences and trellis for signs of deterioration or decay and repair as necessary. Likewise, look out for loose panels or posts which could pose a safety risk.”
Patsy agrees. “Always ensure your boundaries are well-maintained and, if you’re unsure which are your responsibility, find out now,” she says. “If you find an issue with a boundary which belongs to a neighboroughing property it’s advisable to make sure that the owners are aware of it.”
7. Maintenance made easy
How maintenance-friendly is your garden?
“Not all tenants will have the time, desire or skills to maintain an elaborate garden scheme so, however large or small your garden is, creating an easy-maintenance space is advisable,” says Patsy.
“Fast-growing shrubs, for example, plus delicate plants and intricate borders and beds are best avoided. Instead opt for low maintenance options, such as pots and containers, which will be better for your budget and easier for the tenant to look after.
“Before the tenancy starts make sure your tenant is aware of the garden’s needs, plus their own responsibilities.
“And, if your garden is particularly large or high maintenance, offering your tenant the services of a professional gardener may be beneficial.
“Remember, too, that if your incoming tenant is greeted with a neat, tidy and debris-free outdoor space they will be more likely to look after it throughout the tenancy for you.”
Summer checklist… gardens at-a-glance
√ Refresh and renew thinning gravel and soil
√ Mow lawns, dethatch and aerate
√ Win the war on weeds to stop them spreading
√ Look out for destructive Ivy and Japanese Knotweed
√ Trim back fast-growing shrubs, bushes and trees
√ Sweep away winter debris and fallen leaves
√ Add summer interest with the clever use of colour, texture and height
√ Create seating areas to provide outdoor living solutions
√ Check your boundary walls and fences for signs of deterioration or decay
√ Consider the services of a professional gardener if your outside space is particularly high maintenance or large
√ Always ensure the tenant is aware of their responsibilities and your expectations of them during the tenancy