The Wild Bunch
Everything’s coming up roses? Not anymore, as an increasing number of ‘Rusticarians’ favour a dishevelled array of flora attracting bees, birds and insects, instead of precisely laid out plantings.
“Gone are the days when purchasers in London or the Home Counties demanded landscaped and manicured grounds,” explains Mat Hahn of Knight Frank in Richmond. “Formal borders are expensive and people don’t have time to tend them.”
Along with rampant greenery redolent of illustrations in Where the Wild Things Are, foodie buyers also desire veg patches where they can harvest carrots, kale and beetroot.
Almost one in four people with a garden allocate outside space to grow their own food, encouraged by TV chefs, a warmer climate and the popularity of organic produce, according to a new study.
Seventy-two percent of clients surveyed by Foxtons declared they’d pay more for a home with a garden, which could add up to £90,000 to a property’s value.
Greg Nickson from Foxtons Guildford observes how vegetable gardens used to be hidden away – “and now they’re a feature right outside the kitchen door”. Other big must-haves are privacy and security for children.
Rory McKenzie from Savills’ Farnham office notes a trend for wildflower meadows, beehives and chickens. “It’s a Good Life thing. People – mainly 30-40-year-olds with kids – want to know where their eggs come from.”
However, our newfound love of cultivation needs to be as immediate as swiping for partners on Tinder. “Homeowners want instant results and are willing to pay a fortune for imported, mature trees from Italy,” he says.
Developers have got in on the act, too, creating biodiverse environments that not only look inviting, but make it easier to sell homes to those longing to be in touch with nature.
On the flip side, traditional walled gardens – which have come top for the third year running in Strutt & Parker’s Housing Futures survey – can add greatly to the value of a home, insists Rory.
As they typically come with expansive Victorian or Edwardian houses that remain within families for some time, there’s a rarity worth to walled gardens, believes Greg. “I’m selling one that’s been in the same family for the past 40 years.”
Whether you opt for the laissez-faire look, or more tidily turned-out surroundings, you’re bound to enjoy your particular brand of outdoor space – and it may well appeal to the next horticulturally inclined buyer.