ej_topmost
Property Hawk

Growing gardens & returns

Landlords are probably well aware that many areas are suffering from an oversupply of apartments as speculative building has outpaced the demand from tenants.  One of the reasons for this potential over supply is the fact that many of the young trendy tenants that these apartments were meant to appeal to are actually inherently more conservative in their tastes than both developers and investors first anticipated.

Where do professional landlords go for their landlord insurance?

The fact is that many tenants, young and old like having a garden however old fashioned this may seem.  An outside space to sit out in or even try their hand at a little bit of horticulture or increasingly agriculture as higher food bills turn us all into a nation of small scale farmers.  Landlords know that tenants don’t need a large space.

Even the smallest of outside areas can add another dimension to the living space you’re hoping to let. And, the good news is that it can be created with minimum effort and little outlay - it doesn’t have to be time consuming or high maintenance either.

Need to remortgage in 08 - 1 FORM - 4 leading brokers

Property Hawk has been given some top tips from a national letting agent Belvoir Lettings who have asked some of their letting agents how to create a stunning low-maintenance garden on a budget:


Q. What are the benefits of having an investment property with an outside space?


A. “Properties with outside space can increase the living area of a dwelling and are particularly popular with young couples who do a lot of of their entertaining alfresco or have barbecues,” says Neil Jones proprietor of Belvoir Cambridge. “Families with young children also say they are attracted to properties with space for their kids to runaround or a have a paddling pool. And, for tenants with pets outside space is a real plus.”

A well thought out and well-maintained front garden can also make a big difference to first impressions when a prospective tenant comes to visit. Even gravelled driveways should be weed-free and in immaculate condition.



“Having space for off-road parking can even add a premium to the monthly rent you can ask,” adds Neil.
 
Q. How can I make a small space look bigger?


A. “Make a plan – and stick to it,” says Neil. “Map out your space on a piece of paper and fill in the details like a jigsaw puzzle, remembering to keep ideas simple.”

If you have room for a small flower bed, choose a maximum of five different plant types and avoid rapidly spreading crawling plants. It’s useful to have a colour scheme too, contrasting two or three colours that work well together, such as lilac and yellow or white and pink.  If you can’t find room for a flower bed, a clever use of pots and containers will create the illusion of space. Cluster them in groups of two or three in the corner-spaces or line them against a border wall.
It is essential to create height with tall bushes and shrubs, such as a bamboo plant. A high trellis is ideal for climbers and vines, such as clematis, honeysuckle and morning glories. If you have room, raised decking or steps to a staged seating area can also look very dramatic.  Create a focal point of the garden too with a tall-standing plant, shrub or tree. And, don’t forget those sweetly scented plants, such as jasmine, roses and sweetpeas – their beautiful perfumes will make a small space an even more enjoyable place to spend time. Even the smallest of spaces can smell gorgeous.

“Whether you have a lawn, borders or shrubs, always make sure you keep the area tidy and cut back as much as possible,” advises Neil. “Overgrown shrubs or weeds will instantly make your space look smaller and less attractive.”

Q. How can I make the garden low maintenance?


“For an all-year round low maintenance garden replace lawned areas with paving slabs, gravel or slate and concentrate the garden’s focal point on an attractive seating area,” says Neil.
 
A raised platform or decking can create visual interest with virtually no on-going maintenance. Patios and slab-work are very labour-intensive but a ready-made decking kit for home assembly is a practical solution and can usually be laid within a day.

“Also, choose plants that don’t grow wild and spread too quickly – these can quickly get out of control,” continues Neil. “Clever planting will create an impression of a well-stocked garden, even through the winter months.”

And, remember pots and containers are much easier to maintain than heavily-planted flower beds. But watch out for those vintage aged pots. They may be attractive but the porous pottery can be brittle and may not survive more than a couple of seasons. Stick to durable lightweight or glazed containers which will be able to handle extreme weather conditions and should last for as long as your property is available to let.

Q. Who’s job is it to look after the garden? Landlord or tenant?


A. “Unless stated otherwise in the contract the general upkeep of the garden is usually up to the tenant, much like keeping the interior of a property in a good condition,” says Neil.

A landlord is still responsible for structural problems, like fencing or tree surgery etc, but the day-to-day upkeep, such as mowing the lawn and weeding gravel, is the tenant’s responsibility – for this reason a low-maintenance space is usually the most attractive to potential tenants.
A landlord may want to provide a lawn mower and other gardening essentials to enable their tenants to do this.

Q. How can I create a gorgeous garden on a budget?


A. “The secret to creating a low-budget yet well-stocked garden is all in the planning,” says Neil.

 “Forward planning means you can take advantage of end-of-line sales at garden centres for low-cost furniture, paving slabs and trellises. Even cut-price plants can be available at certain times of the year. And, if you have more than one property, buy large spreading plants that you can split between the two gardens.”

Cuttings from your own garden, or that of a friend, are also an ideal way to pack borders or containers without any expense – although they will need some short-term maintenance.
Invest in sturdy pots, too, that you won’t have to replace through breakage – you can sometimes pick these up for a few pounds at charity sales, markets or car boot sales.

“In addition,” concludes Neil “Buy plants which come back year after year and search the web for mail order garden centres – their bulbs and seeds are often much better priced than those on the high street and can sometimes be bought in bulk at a reduced price.”



Belvoir Lettings is recognised as the largest specialist letting franchise agency in the UK, with more than 135 franchises nationwide and aims to have 300 franchises in the next ten years.



Comments (0)

Name
E-mail (Will not appear online)
Subject
Comment
To prevent automated Bots form spamming, please enter the text you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
»
This comment form is powered by GentleSource Comment Script. It can be included in PHP or HTML files and allows visitors to leave comments on the website.
Most popular landlord information and FAQs

 

What rental yield should a landlord try to achieve?
Accelerated possession - Section 21 Notice
Non payment of rent
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
How to prepare a property inventory
Grounds for possession of a rental property
Fair wear and tear on a rental property?
Filling out a N5B form for possession
Landlord insurance advice
Letting to students
How do I choose the best tenant?
Should I use a letting agent?
Commercial Mortgages

Whole market search.
Instant personalised quote.
Rates updated in real time.

Find the most suitable mortgage for your individual requirements using our advanced buy-to-let mortgage finder.

Search
News and Advice for Landlords

MAGAZINE
Landlord Freehold Ground Rent Investments Many landlords are attracted to investing in proper...
Hello, I am Amy Castleman, a specialist Housing Solicitor at Premier Solicitors in Bedford. M...
One of the biggest issues that landlords face when tenants move out is the oven clean. Why is...
Should landlords let to students? Students can make good tenants & here’s why: ...
The risks of a leak in an apartment block To date I have bought two apartments in residential...
The three pillars of successful residential investment I’m often asked by newbie landlo...
This has been a question that has pre-occupied me for several years.  By instinct I don’t l...
I noticed recently there have been some significant repair bills coming through as the age of my buy-t...
“To furnish or not to furnish your rental property, that is the question” The dif...
‘Rent to rent’ sometimes known as rent2rent is the latest get quick scheme dreamt up by th...
What are tenancy renewal fees? A tenancy renewal fee is ostensibly the charges made by the le...
Cleaning Deposit Disputes between a Landlord & Tenant One of the most regular a...
If I had a pound for every time over the last 25 years of renting property and more recently running P...
Dates play an important part in a landlord’s life.    Pict...
Over the last two years, the property industry has seen an increase in the number of disputes between ...
Before you turn off thinking "oh yeah it’s another plug for  landlord insurance,"...
A vital part of being a successful landlord is to get the right tenant. In fact if the truth be known,...
For property investors, particularly first time property investors there a huge number of potential in...
BTL landlords are often portrayed as money grabbing, evil, exploitative beasts. We are accus...
How I started my property portfolio I started my portfolio back in the early 90's. We had jus...
INVESTORS CHECKLIST For potential property investors there is a huge amount to take...
We have spoken before about the life of a student landlord, but here's a little bit more advice for th...
Lease options are all the rage in some landlord discussion forums having usurped BMV or Below Market V...
Property gurus & experts The rise in the buy-to-let residential investment market has bee...
  Advanced residential investment strategies Buy-to-let investment is pretty st...
For landlords with residential investment property it’s rapidly approaching that time of year &n...
Since the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) on the 6th April 2007 it has been a legal r...
It seems timely with the deadline for paying and submitting your self assessment t...
Lee Sharpe from TaxInsider.co.uk looks at the implications for property businesses considering incorpo...
This modern day ‘knight’ of the urban realm can be hero or cowboy depending on the one you...
I'm fascinated by 'financial engineering' and how every so often, quirks of timing cause financial opp...
Rental period confusion One of the most confusing aspects of let...
Caveat emptor for the non-linguists means ‘Let the buyer beware’.  Loosely translate...
Property Hawks Property Manager software is mainly designed for individual buy to let landlords to man...
Here we go again. The leaves are turning a riot of oranges & reds before we descend headlong into ...
Landlords could be forgiven for feeling a little brow-beaten. Over the last 12 months, we hav...
The Government have produced a new Section 21 Notice. We have updated the version of our free...
A number of users have contacted us to share their concern over the proposed tax changes in the Budget...
Is Landlords Boiler insurance worth it? Getting your boiler fixed can be costly for landlords...
Landlords looking for a buy-to-let mortgage will face more restrictive lending criteria in the future....
Cash Back Offer Landlords looking at taking out a buy-to-let mortgage want to look at the Pro...
The Chancellor has not been overly generous to landlords and the buy-to-let sector in his Summer Budge...
PM3s is the 4th generation of our Free Property Management Software. The software has been free to use...
Section 21 Notices are about to change as a result of the Deregulation Act 2015.  Rebecc...
Following the election result. many landlords are breathing a sigh of relief.  Economic stability...
Landlords should be fully aware of the importance of being adequately insured. I know it's a pain to s...
Taxing Concerns for the Buy-to-Let Market The UK’s property market was given an unprece...
I hate change and regulation.  Most of it is badly thought out, counter productive & pointles...
The latest legal case to unsettle the traditional certainties of a landlord’s world is the case ...
Private Rental Sector – Party Policies The big day approaches and finally it will be yo...
Changes that came into force this week (6th April) (see for instance http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32087038) now allow many ...
When selective landlord licensing was introduced  by the Housing Act 2004 it was intended to be a...
My small claims court experience My case came about because my tenant stopped paying the rent...
Rents are rising. Great!  According to the Rentindex they are up over 2.5% over the last year. ...
My tenant has always been an exacting type but it's now getting beyond a joke. Every few week...
Most landlords know that they need specialist landlord insurance.  Why? Because household policie...
It's been a while since I've sold one of my buy-to-let properties, but the potential of a new buy-to-l...
Christmas is a time for reflection and after over 20 years in the landlord game I've seen a fair few c...
Landlords are never off duty.  Last week I was in the middle of a patisserie class of all things ...
Tenants are getting more politically militant! They are mobilising, pulling together, and forming grou...
After 12 years of owning and renting out a flat, the freehold landlord has decided they want to start ...
Refubish to let – finance is key 'Refurb to let' is the latest trend in buy-to-let acco...
The the referendum and the party conferences of the past few weeks have thrown politics back into the ...
We have warned landlords before about the purges on landlords. The cash strapped Revenue periodically...
My problem tenant has gone, and finally I have possession of my rental property. ...
What interest rate should a landlord charge on late rent payments? My problem tenant has fina...
Tenancy Deposit Scheme disputes Tenancy deposit disputes are a messy business, so we asked th...
My tenant has left - time to celebrate? This week I was greeted by a text from a friend/neigh...
Revenge Evictions –time to act? 'Revenge eviction' is a new concept to me .  It&rs...
Letting agent questions I’m just in the process of selecting a letting agent.  I&r...
Buy-to-let hotspots are the ‘talk of the town’ right now.  Clearly we are in some kin...
Letting agents are not the ‘favourite kids’ on the property block. Landlords tend to view ...
Landlords should get fixed up I have been eyeing the latest developments in the economy and t...
What are the new court fees for possession? The court fees for landlords obtaining possession...
What are my allowable expenses? I’ve been contacted recently by several landlords who w...
Solicitors are costly. I'm all for landlords using their initiative and avoiding paying unecessary pro...
Section 21 notice dates – where are we now? Rebecca Brough our resident expert from Fid...
People frequently ask me what is my biggest tip on how to be a successful landlord. The answer is simp...
Not all our users realise that having signed up to our website they are FREE to start using our Proper...
I've been hit recently by a range of maintenance issues on my buy-to-let portfolio, including a number...
We are just a couple of weeks into 2014, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the best deals ...
OMG!  It's here again.  The ‘bloomin’ personal assessment tax deadline looms lar...
It looks like ‘Austerity’ …..‘Prudence’s’ long lost sister is on ...
The Section 21 Notice has not been the easiest of things for landlords to get right. Using the right o...
In the week that the Land Registry released historic data going back 18 years, I thought I would share...
Rebecca Brough solicitor at Fidler and Pepper highlights the potential dangers and consequences of the...
It appears that landlords are starting to fight back over unfair licensing charges by some local autho...
Access to finance is key When I started as a landlord the key for me was access to ...
Prospective property investors thinking of dipping their toes into the residential property market, or...
Longer tenancies?  Sounds like bliss to most landlords. Most of use love the thought of long-term...
The section 21 notice is a powerful tool. It is the one document that gives a landlord the certainty o...
When is a landlord not a landlord? Well the obvious answer is when they are a leaseholder.  ...
Creeping landlord licensing is on its’ way affecting many landlords.  A perfect example is ...
I was talking to one of the waitresses in my local.  She is so excited! She’s ...
Tenancy agreements are our thing.  We have been providing a free tenancy agreement to the landlor...
The latest projections see no immediate end to the long run of low interest rates.  This week Mar...
Our Property Manager software has come on leaps and bounds since we first developed it as free propert...
In these tough financial times some landlords may be looking at how they can pull in a few extra quid ...
The Government's latest proposals are to introduce a statutory obligation on landlords to check whethe...
Many landlords have been thrown into confusion over the last few months as tightening legislation and ...
I love being a landlord.  I’ve recently set up another new business.  I work ...
According to figures from the Dogs Trust, 46% of the population currently own a pet.  Now assumin...
Recently, I was talking to a new landlord about their first ever tenants.  They had been chuffed ...
Should I use a letting agent? The perennial debate amongst landlords is should I use a lettin...
Landlords who may be thinking about buying into purpose built student accommodation should stop and th...
Landlords are increasingly often under a time pressure. With the burgeoning regulatory requirements of...
Most of us ‘hard bitten’ landlords get fed up with the endless splurge of meaningless head...
Are rents about to fall? Landlords have been insulated from many of the harsh economic winds since the...
Tenancy Deposits – ESSENTIALS I’ve recently had a scare over one of my tenants de...
The queen is dead! Yes off course I'm referring to Margaret Thatcher.  Now she never sai...
Landlord Insurance Minefield My landlord insurance falls due this month.  As u...
We have frequently expressed opposition to a blanket landlord registration scheme - the ‘so call...
We’ve all had it - the phone goes, it’s one of your tenants’.  Do you:...
Better The Devil You Know?   I've recently advertised my rental property follo...
I was contacted this week by a fraught landlord who was the subject to a negligence claim from their t...
The buy-to-let mortgage market has gone from bust to boom again over the last few years.  With le...
This is a regular discussion point amongst many landlords.  Those that have been dissatisfied wit...
It's a landlords’ dread!   A nice respectable looking tenant, with a good...
Rebecca Brough of Fidler and Pepper Solicitors asks whether landlords need a tenant guarantor, and exp...
The thing with managing a portfolio of buy-to-let property is that for much of the time you don't have...
Brings Threats and Opportunities Many landlords are adopting a wait and see approach to the G...
Severe rental arrears fell by almost 16 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012 according to data from ...
Should a landlord let their tenants smoke? Landlords are acutely aware of the bad smells and ...
New Year celebrations are well and truly over, so it’s back to work, and for many landlords, sma...
I was thinking today, what would be the top 5 things I would wish for next year as a landlord.  S...
You may think that as a landlord you are not liable for your tenants’ water bill. Well up until ...
I can't begin to explain how fraught the last few weeks have been.  Most part time landlords will...
The buy-to-let mortgage market has been in the doldrums for several years after the ‘crash&rsquo...
Rebecca Brough of Fidler and Pepper explores the world of fees and charges in respect to a landlords ...
Don’t forget your section 213 notice! Property Hawk has been urging landlord not to forget about...
You are just about to let your buy-to-let.  So what are the essential bits of paper work that you...
Is there such as thing as the ‘fair wear and tear’ of your buy-to-let property? ...
Landlords looking to obtain possession have two basic choices when trying to get their buy-to-let prop...
So it all goes wrong!  The tenant moves out (disappears) and owes you months of rent.  They ...
We recently had a enquiry on the Landlord Forum asking whether it was a good idea to serve a section 2...
Landlords seeking possession frequently have to decide between the merits of using a Section 21 notice...
Renewing a tenancy is one of the most straightforward aspects of managing a tenancy.  But many la...
Getting possession of a rental property when your tenant falls into rent arrears Th...
I read recently on a landlord forum a suggestion from one disgruntled tenant that landlords should be ...
My latest round of tenant gripes has hit me after a relatively quiet period. I suppose it was...
After launching the new version of the property management software we felt the actual site pages look...
Rental yields have always been a critical metric when evaluating a buy-to-let investment and they are...
Any landlord who follows London politics will not have escaped the fact that the private rented sector...
I was chatting this week to my joiner Steve. He was having a nightmare! Steve had done most o...
The Co-op announced last week that it was stepping up lending into the buy-to-let mortgage market by a...
Legislation should be in place by the end of the year to allow landlords to benefit from the Green Dea...
It's January which means only one thing for most landlords, yes it’s time to get to grips with t...
As the year comes to an end many landlords will be drawing up their plans for 2012. With the ...
I was contacted several weeks ago by one of our longstanding users. Kevin wrote to highlight ...
I'm like the majority of small landlords in that I have opted to use the Deposit Protection Scheme (DP...
Europe is at it again! Not content with their crazy project “Euro”  putting ...
You might be aware that I’ve had a number of new tenants recently. This has i...
It’s a great time to be a landlord. Many of us including me are making record rental pr...
I was contacted last week by a landlord looking to gain access to their bu...
I’ve written before about landlords not needing to use a letting agent. We al...
It's been a while since I've had a new tenant move in. The new tenant seems amiable enough. A middle a...
My landlord insurance fell due at the beginning of this month. DAMMM! Yet again the dilemma. ...
It is possible to get a company to fill out your N5B.  This will cost anything upwards of £...
Most landlords use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement to let their property. So how long ...
I've been looking at some recent enquiries from landlords who use our Property Management software to ...
Most landlords who let a property that is tenanted will not be liable for council tax.  This is b...