Metro - 15 August 2014
Making the most of outside space
By Jo Eccles
With summer in full swing, more and more home owners are maximising every inch of outside space, and we’ve seen a real embrace of all things artificial. Fake planting used to be really frowned upon, but the materials and range of products have flourished in recent years. You can now buy superb faux products at events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, showing the shift in attitudes from even the professionals as well. Shops are reporting the same attitude from consumers; John Lewis recently revealed a 46 per cent surge in sales of artificial horticulture, and this is evident looking at many London properties.
The way a property presents itself is key, and greenery (whether it’s real or fake), plays a large part in the overall presentation. I’ve seen so many properties fought over because of a stunning garden or roof terrace, and I’ve also battled through purchases for clients where items such as the window boxes being included within the purchase price have threatened to derail the sale.
The artificial route can be a great option, particularly in cities. In Fulham for example, I haven’t seen a real lawn for years; the family houses all tend to feature fake grass. Not only does it mean that the grass can look lush all year round, irrespective of how much or little sunlight it gets, but it also saves the hassle of cutting the lawn. With outside space so limited, I don’t know many homeowners who are prepared to give up part of their outside space for practicalities such as a shed for storing tools. And even if you hire a regular gardener who brings their own tools, terraced housing makes accessing the rear very difficult. Some ‘gardeners’ are reported to keep their artificial patch looking fresh by rotating the flowers according to the season.
Many outdoor plants and flowers are UV-treated so they won’t fade in the sunlight with most ‘greenery’ lasting for about five years, and turf typically doesn’t need replacing for 15 years. So if you have outside space, make the most of it – whether you have green fingers or not, you have no excuse!