Grand Designs: Add Curb Appeal
Mon 31 Aug 2015
The desire to bring the outside in is now so widespread that few homeowner, can resist the pull of a bi-fold door that opens up on to lawn or decked area. There's also a trend for taking the inside out, creating external rooms that mirror indoor living spaces, right down to the sofas, fireplaces and lamps. Our gardens and terraces are no longer spaces designed as after-thoughts - they're as pivotal 15 the must-have open-plan kitchen-diner or family room. The earlier a landscape garden designer is involved in a house building or renovation project. the better. Plus, it's now a planning requirement that new-build houses view landscaping as integral to the development process, with issues such as trees and uses of external spaces taken into consideration. 'With a new-build, ifs important for the property to fir in with its surroundings.' Says Barry Burrows of Bartholomew Landscaping (bartholomewlandscaping.com). Burrows advises budgeting around seven-12 per cent of the property's value for landscaping. 'Plan the garden you want. then work to create it in budgeted stages rather than compromise the design, he says. It may seem a big outlay, but a well-designed garden will pay back, too. The general consensus is that an attractively landscaped garden will add five to 10 per cent to your property's value - more in urban areas, where outdoor space comes at a premium and is a desirable way to increase the useable footprint of your home. New figures from Marsh & Parsons (020 8846 2320; marshandparsons.co.uk) show that the average price of outdoor space in London is 0,652 per square metre and having a roof terrace or balcony adds 12 to 25 per cent to the value of a flat. 'Even if you use the garden for only three months a year, you are getting substantial value for money per square metre of investment,' comments Tony Woods, founder of Garden Club London (020 3126 4994; ganienclublonclon,co.uk). As for trends, the current demand is, according to Burrows, for seamless leisure areas inside and out. including external kitchens rather than barbecues and every mod con for contemporary living migrating into the garden. `The line between indoors and outdoors is becoming ever more blurred,' he says. For those who don't have six-figure sums to splash out on a Rally-fitted outdoor zone, low-maintenance minimalism is the favoured look. Firepits and pizza ovens are on many wish lists and it's hard to go wrong with feature lighting - an instant and inexpensive way to transform any garden. Developers have also latched on to the importance of providing more than just a token green space in big new schemes. Through clever use of living walls and elevated gardens - particularly in the capital, where every inch of greenery counts. even if it's 15 metres up - the pleasures of attractive outdoor areas can be a reality for every owner, not just those who buy garden flats or penthouses with roof terraces. In Stratford, Manhattan Loft Gardens (020 7620 3803; manhattanloftgardens.co.uk),
where flats cost from 615,000. provides residents with three communal sky gardens designed by American landscape architect Martha Scharrz, with wildflower areas, trees and water features. Lillie Square in Earls Court (020 7381 9800; lilliesquare.com) - where current properties on sale are penthouses from C1_575million, but less expensive properties will be released later this year - has an 80-metre-long landscaped garden by award-winning designer Andy Sturgeon. Berkeley (bakeleygroup.co.uk) also prioritises the communal green areas in its developments - including Goodman's Fields in the City of London, which enjoys two acres of landscaped gardens - as a way of creating a sense of place and open space for those buying into their latest residential skyscrapers. Besides aesthetic gratification and possible payback, good-looking gardens have another important benefit. `It is now well-documented that having a green view from a window can lower stress and blood pressure and aid recovery from an illness: says Julie Johnson, director at Emiron Communities (01225 864 429; environcommunities.com). `We arc designing homes with glazed winter gardens and a house based around a central courtyard that can be viewed from all rooms, such is our belief in the benefits of landscaping, both financially and spiritually.' Something that's good for your bank balance and your soul? It's time to get digging.