Spring is usually the busiest season for real estate sales in Australia, with the property market traditionally seeing an upswing in housing stock, auction clearance rates and selling prices. And if you’re thinking about selling this spring, it’s worth recognising that you can potentially add thousands of dollars to your sale value by enhancing the outdoor aesthetic of your property.
That said, you’ll want to avoid spending loads of money on improving a property you’re soon going to pass to someone else. So how can you make improvements to outdoor spaces but that’ll bolster your selling price, but that won’t cost you an arm and a leg?
Below, Matt Leacy from Landart Landscapes shares his top 5 cost-efficient tips for getting your outdoor areas primed and ready for a maximum sale price this spring.
Image source: Landart Landscapes
5 budget winter landscaping tips to prepare for a spring sale
1. Be strategic – “Starting in winter is optimal if you want to maximise your results in spring,” Matt says. “New plantings, in particular, will need at least some time to mature, and you’ll get a lot more value out them aesthetically if you don’t leave them to the last minute.” Matt adds: “When planning the types of improvements you’re going to make outdoors, it’s worth keeping in mind the key outdoor property features that most prospective buyers will look for – and you can then strategically prioritise your budget, time and resources. “Coming into a new property, most homebuyers are – at a bare minimum – going to want outdoor spaces and gardens that are relatively low-maintenance, well-presented and cost-efficient.”
2. Prioritise curb-side appeal – “If you’ve got limited budget and want to prioritise a few quick and key things, I’d always recommend focusing on the front garden or property entrance as this is where the first big impression on a prospective buyer is going to be made,” says Matt. “It sets the tone for what’s to come and allows you as the vendor to get on the front foot.” “One cost-effective but very impactful way to boost curb-side appeal is to incorporate verge planting into the front garden area,” says Matt. “You’ll need to get council approval first, but it’s often worth the effort because verge-planting almost always enhances the aesthetic of a front garden area, makes the property look larger and it’s much lower-maintenance and pleasing on the eye than grass,” Matt explains. “You might also consider giving your front garden a little boost by introducing some small hedges or adding a potted plant near the front door – one on either side will help to create symmetry and balance,” says Matt. “This will help to inject a little extra greenery into the space, which is especially valuable if you’re selling an apartment or property with limited garden areas.”
3. Light it up – “Many property viewings occur in evenings and afternoons, so it’s important to be able to show off key outdoor areas in their best light,” says Matt. “As such, it’s often worth investing in some basic outdoor lighting if you don’t have it already. This doesn’t have to be too pricey and you don’t have to go overboard and purchase a lot of lights; a few mood and up-lights can be strategically placed to highlight the best facets of you outdoor spaces,” explains Matt.
4. Love the lawn – ”An overgrown or dead lawn screams high-maintenance to a potential buyer, so it’s really worth making sure that all of your lawns are trimmed, tidy and green for viewings,” says Matt. “Lawns should be a focus in winter if you’re planning on a spring sale because they can take significant time to improve, and they can also easily go from good to bad in the cooler months,” he explains. “You’ll need to do more work than usual on aerating the turf zone in winter,” Matt adds. “A motorised aerator can be effective for larger lawns, and a garden fork or a pair of spiked aerator shoes will do the trick for smaller lawns. That said, it’s important to make sure there are no irrigation lines running underneath before spiking the lawn, because you’ll have some real headaches if you end up cutting into them. You’ll also need to fertilise in the last month of winter to get it ready to go for spring,” Matt says.
5. Plant for quick colour – “Before putting a property on the market, you’re going to want to make sure that the gardens look as lush and visually stimulating as possible,” Matt says. “This often means injecting additional colour into the garden – and there are plenty of quick and inexpensive ways to do this in time for a spring sale. You’re going to want to introduce plantings in winter that will flower in time for spring – the likes of gardenias, jasmine plus some fast-growing plants like dichondra, convolvulus and Euphorbia ‘Diamond frost’,” says Matt. “Ornamental grasses and Helichrysum also grow very quickly and can easily fill and bring vibrancy to a space. Filling spaces with potted feature plants can also work to lift outdoor areas,” adds Matt. “And you can always remove the plants and take them with you post-sale if you want to make the most of your investment. For a safe and impactful option, you can pretty much always turn to a good-sized, well-placed succulent. These come in a variety of colours, shapes and textures and look great in just about any environment,” Matt explains. “Ultimately, it’s about examining the space and matching it up with a plant that’s going to be most complimentary. If you find the right plant, the space is going to appeal to buyers whatever the case.”