Selling a home in winter: How to prepare the garden
Winter is nearly here, but don’t let your imminent move and the cold weather deter you from looking after your garden. Outside space is just as important as the home itself to a property buyer so at this time of year, it’s a case of cleaning up, covering up and making general repairs. Gardens will be looking darker, less inspiring and bare as the vibrant colours of summer disappear. And the winter sun, wind, cold and possibly snow can damage trees, shrubs, plants, flower buds, structures and statues if they are not protected.
Looking after your garden now will prevent weather-related damage and encourage new growth for next year. And it will ensure it’s looking its best over the next few months for those all-important viewings.
Layer-de-la-Haye, Essex – for sale with Fenn Wright Signature, Colchester
1. Rake up leaves
Raking leaves regularly not only neatens a garden for viewings, but it also provides a valuable natural resource as you can recycle them into a wonderful soil conditioner for the garden – leaf mould. Don’t just think about the lawn – there’s also your swimming pool cover and area, terraces and so on to clear as well.
2. Discourage weeds
Remove all of your weeds and then spread a thick layer of leaf mould to block the sun from the seeds that remain in the soil. This should help discourage further weed growth and smarten up your garden.
3. Care for your lawn
Autumn is a great time to be revitalising a tired lawn. It is important to keep it looking neat and tidy for viewings, which can be a challenge when wet weather makes it harder to mow. Remove old grass clippings and moss and brush a sandy top over the lawn, followed by some autumn lawn feed. You could also lay some new turf if you wanted to. Also clear paths where soil may have become compacted.
4. Prepare your beds and tidy borders
Until the soil freezes, despite growth stopping above ground, the roots of bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees will be taking in as much of the nutrients and moisture as they can find around them. It’s important therefore to cut back dead debris before severe frost sets in, and spread a thick winter layer of new mulch to protect the plants and soil over the winter months. Dig up annuals and replant with winter bedding such as pansies and wallflowers for a colourful display next year. These will also require a thick layer of compost or mulch. All of this will not only neaten the garden but also remove the eggs of pests and disease spores that may linger.
5. Wind-proof your evergreens
Although eye catching and attractive, evergreens are susceptible to dry winter winds, so it’s a good idea to create windscreens such as burlap screens to keep branches together rather than flapping around in the wind.
6. Store away garden equipment
Prospective buyers don’t need to see your lawn mower and garden tools lying around so place these neatly in your garden shed or similar. It won’t do them any good being outdoors during the winter anyway.
7. Cut back climbers
Cut back climbers that have grown over windows or shrubs that have grown too large making pathways difficult to navigate.
8. Remove leaning trees
Remove and clear any trees that are starting to lean over too much, and too near the house – these are things that can worry buyers.
9. Clear out your pond
Ponds become littered with decomposing leaves at this time of year. This not only turns the pond water foul and blocks filters, but looks messy and unkempt to prospective buyers. Clear out the leaves regularly, or place a fine meshed net across the pond to catch falling leaves. Don’t forget those leaves can be added to your leaf mould!
10. Protect your statues
Natural weathering and air pollution will all cause damage to your statues. Winter covers for sculptures and decorative stonework are available and they need to be ordered and put in place before the cold and rainy weather arrives. They are a simple and yet effective way of protecting precious sculptures and stonework from potential damage from fluctuations in temperature and rainwater.
11. Tidy up the greenhouse and remove shading paint
At this time of year, the days are shorter which means less light. Removing shading paint in your greenhouse will increase the sunlight reaching your plants. Nobody likes a dirty greenhouse either so give the glass a good scrub with some hot water, sweep the floor, replace broken glass and remove trapped leaves from the gutters.
12. Clear out your compost bins
Use the compost around your garden as a conditioner as it helps smarten a garden if the bins aren’t overflowing with last season’s garden waste.
13. Clear paths of rainfall and ice
Ensure paths and terraces are not slippery from rain or even worse, ice. The last thing you want is for people viewing your property to slip and fall. Make sure that water is draining away from the house too.
Properties like the ones used to illustrate this article are handled by Fenn Wright Signature. Get in touch with the teams based in Chelmsford for South Essex, Colchester for North Essex and Ipswich for Suffolk to find out more.