The sweet smell of jasmine means spring is in the air, heralding the start of our prime selling season for real estate and a fabulous time to give your garden a makeover.
And the optimism that spring inspires is also with us. Owners who delayed their plans to sell because of Covid are now in the market. CoreLogic research shows 11.3% more homes were for sale at the end of August than last year.
First-time ads for houses and apartments were up 13.4%, beating the five-year average by 6.5%.
It's not just the sellers coming out for spring – the gardeners are, too! If you intend to sell this spring or summer, investing a little cash and energy in your garden will pay you back in spades.
Buyers love a beautiful garden, especially when the hubbub of city life surrounds the property. A little piece of paradise at your back door is a winner.
Here are eight suggestions to brighten a courtyard or small garden. You can adapt these ideas if you have more space.
Be ambitious but strategic. The secret to a successful project is planning. Organise your layout and determine the right plants for the available space and sunlight. The time you spend doing this is a valuable investment.
Divide and conquer
With a small garden, it pays to think in even smaller spaces. Consider where you might sit and enjoy the sun's warmth, position a barbeque and have a small table where you'd eat and possibly work.
All things in moderation
Don't overload your garden with plants, or it will quickly turn into a jungle. An unkempt or crowded garden is a turn-off for any buyer without a green thumb.
Colour me bright
If you're selling, splash the colour around. Against a background of green foliage, it will brighten every buyer's day.
Use all the space
Don't limit yourself to pot plants. Consider how you might use hanging baskets, window boxes and living walls. Water these regularly so they're perfect when prospective buyers visit.
Plant a centrepiece
Every garden should have a focal point, especially in a small area. Consider a suitable tree or shrub. Factor in the amount of sun it will receive when making your selection. Ask staff at your garden retailer for advice if you're unsure what to choose.
Light me up
Solar-powered lights are cheap and create a wonderful effect. They also make for stunning photographs at dusk.
A watering system will reduce the maintenance burden, especially if you invest a little extra on a timer. This will be a plus for buyers who like a garden but don't want to spend hours nurturing one.