Selling your house? Then spruce up your garden

A tidy house can help sell your home
A tidy house can help sell your home

Spring is a good time to sell your home. The weather is improving, people aren’t yet going away on their summer holidays and the garden is bursting into life.

Making sure you mow the lawn and keep your flower beds tidy could be your most profitable pastime, according to new research.

First impressions are important and if your front garden needs a quick makeover, consider buying a couple of standard trees or shrubs to put either side of the front door for a grander entrance.

Tatty steps can be masked with pots of evergreens which will last even when spring and summer are over, just in case you don’t sell the house immediately.

Hide eyesores such as dustbins by putting up a framework of trellis in front of them and plant fast-growing climbers over it, even if you have to plant the climbers in pots.

Certain design strategies can help make the garden seem bigger. If you have a narrow or L-shaped garden, consider dividing into two areas and introduce archways or pergolas which will make it seem bigger.

They say the smell of bread baking or freshly brewed coffee helps sell a house, but a gorgeously fragrant front garden may also help, if you plant low lavender hedges along the driveway or other scented plants near your front door.

Eden Project horticulturist Lucy Wenger offers these budget-conscious tips:

:: Budget bedding plants

A tray of tagetes (marigolds) or antirrhinum (snapdragons) will add instant colour to your garden. They come in a range of bright oranges, reds and yellows and both will bloom beautifully throughout the summer. Look out for argyranthemums, whose bright and cheerful daisy flowers bloom in an array of colours. They look great in the garden or in big flower pots, but don’t plant them out until the last frosts have passed, usually around late May. Feed them weekly with tomato food in the summer and keep them well watered in the heat - snip off any dead flower heads to keep them looking good. They should last until the end of the summer.

:: Hanging baskets

Make the approach to your front door fresh and inviting with a fragrant hanging basket. Use multi-purpose compost and add water-retaining gel. Trailing surfinias (try Surfinia ‘Blue Vein’ for scent as well) and bacopa should thrive in a sunny spot, but for shadier corners, try lobelia and trailing fuchsia to create a lush display. Feed them weekly in the summer with tomato food and keep well watered - which may mean twice a day in summer.

:: Lawn care

Create a greener, lusher lawn by feeding and seeding it. Regular mowing in the summer should keep it healthy. Between May and August, pick a cool, moist day to apply a summer lawn fertiliser or chicken manure pellets. Sprinkle them across your lawn and lightly water.

:: Perk up your paintwork

Revitalise wooden fences, gates and sheds by giving them a lick of paint, using paint specifically designed for outside use. To focus attention on the plants, use a colour to divert the eye away from fences and gates such as holly green. This will make them melt into the background.