Mark Bell from Bell Landscapes was featured in an Article for Ray White’s “On the Market” magazine in April 2018.

Believe it or not, styling a home for sale extends beyond the four walls of a house.

Mark Bell, owner and director of award-winning landscape firm, Bell Landscapes says while sellers may overlook the condition of their gardens, buyers can be quick to judge.

“As they say, ‘first impressions are everything’ and this is certainly true when you are about to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a home” Mr Bell says.

“The landscape, and particularly the front gardens are very important as this is usually the first thing a potential buyer will see”.

Mr Bell and his team specialise in helping clients increase the value of their properties through remarkable landscaping and garden design.

He knows all too well that a simple misjudgement in where best to spend money on sprucing up a home for sale, can end in disappointment over lower than expected offers.

“I think the buyer doesn’t realise a landscape’s importance and opts to invest on styling and more internal-based improvements,” Mr Bell says.

While Mr Bell admits it’s hard to put a price tag on how much value a great garden can add to a property, he says an attractive exterior is an immediate drawcard.

“People buy emotionally, and a well-presented, welcoming garden that feels homely will emotionally appeal and attract people far more than a weed-infested, neglected and dark mosquito pit,” he says.

A small budget can still deliver big impact, as Mr Bell suggests the aim is to make the landscape look loved rather than neglected.

“Open up the spaces, de-clutter the gardens and cut back overgrown plants which will make the area feel larger and allow more natural light to come in,” he says. “Remove any weeds, add some new mulch and some ‘fill’ plants where obvious gaps may appear.”

The market the property is selling in goes a long way to determining the depth of landscape investment.

“If the property is in the prestige housing market most buyers will expect a finished product, including a beautiful garden,” Mr Bell says.

“Just like air conditioning, parking and other features, a garden becomes a major asset in the more affluent markets. At Bell Landscapes, most of our clients that invest heavily in new gardens are indeed those in the very affluent markets, those who want their homes to have all the bells and whistles and comforts. By contrast, if you are selling in the lower end or even the renovator markets then obviously less is more as these homes may be knocked down or rebuilt. In these instances, I would advise clients to keep the landscape works very minimal and often a neat and tidy look is sufficient. Early preparation is key, so fully service the landscape the day before auction to prevent any mishaps.”

“Waiting until the day can be a little tight and risky, especially if plants need replacing or rain is about,” Mr Bell says.

“You cannot mow a wet lawn or trim a wet hedge so it’s best to prepare earlier rather than last minute.”