Deb Meyer, Landscape Designer & Co-Director of Vogue & Vine, a landscape design & outdoor furniture business in Sydney, shares her gardening tips for your investment property.

Investors and gardeners have a lot in common. For starters, we both know the impact of a well-placed hedge. Hopefully, both have a sense of humour too. It’s no laughing matter, though, when it comes to protecting your property investment.

If you’re a property investor, chances are you’ll need to upgrade and maintain not only the inside of your property at some stage, but the outdoors as well. First impressions count, so enhancing the front garden is well worth the investment.

With people spending more time at home during COVID – particularly outdoors, making the back garden a feature of the home has become an even greater asset, and goes a long way towards attracting tenants.

Improving the look of your outdoor areas doesn’t require you to be a gardening guru. There are many simple ways to enhance your outdoor spaces that are both affordable and easy to maintain, whether it’s you or your tenants doing the maintenance. Either way, you’ll want to have a low maintenance garden that can easily be kept trim, neat and attractive. You’ll also want it to stand out from the crowd of similar rental properties, especially in such a competitive market.

Who’s your ideal tenant?

Start by considering who your target audience is, what would appeal to them and how they’d want to use the outdoor space. If it’s a young family, then a lawn or open area will hold great appeal. If it’s a single person or couple, an area for entertaining and relaxing might be more of an attraction.

Our five step process

Some top tips to consider to attract tenants:

  1. PLANNING – consider your target audience, budget and available options, as well as areas of greatest priority, if you need to limit your upgrade
  • PRUNING – eliminate any superfluous or undesirable elements in the garden, such as:
    • Weeds, fallen leaves, dead flowers or plants, overgrown shrubs and trees
    • Remove dirt on flooring, walls & furniture
    • Besides cleaning unsightly floors, they can be either covered with deco granite, an outdoor rug or replaced with inexpensive concrete pavers
    • Eliminate any other superfluous or undesirable elements in the garden, such as an old clothes line, play equipment or other unattractive items
    • Enhance existing plants, where necessary, by increasing watering and fertilising
    • Include additional plants in dull areas or corners that need a lift. It’s best to include plants that are low maintenance, hardy and water-wise, and where possible, to plant them in garden beds, where they can retain more moisture than pots.
    • Depending on the available light and style of your home, some low-maintenance plants to consider include succulents, such as Agave and Crassula varieties, hedging plants such as Westringia, Buxus or Raphiolipis, or grasses such as Liriope or Lomandra. These varieties, and many others, grow in full sun and part shade and tolerate harsh coastal conditions.
    • When in doubt for selecting the right kind of plants, see what’s growing well in nearby homes, with similar conditions.
    • Mulching all your plants gives an instant manicured garden, and minimises weeds and watering
    • It’s best to have a reticulation system, unless you include super hardy plants. If a watering system is not an option, consider using water crystals, which help retain moisture after it rains or in between watering.
    • For privacy or noise, plant a mature hedge or tree (even some planting is helpful)
    • A fresh coat of paint and new fixtures go a long way to making a good impression, especially when applied to an old fence or front gate. For a classic exterior, try Natural White paint from Dulux, or for a more modern aesthetic, with blue/grey undertones, try Dulux Casper White. For a charcoal colour, Dulux Monument is reliably impressive.
    • If the fence needs more than a lick of paint, planting a fast-growing vine is an option, such as wisteria, with wire they can climb on, or using a rolled bamboo or reed fencing.
    • Pots – Potted plants have the ability to transform any lacklustre space. Different shapes and sizes can be mixed and best if arranged in odd numbers. provide layering for instant visual effect
    • Additional items such as a mirror or outdoor rug add interest and can help enlarge or define a space

A landscape designer and gardener can help you transform your property, with some easy steps that don’t have to break the bank. Any improvement to your garden is certain to add value to your investment property. No matter what the outcome for 2021 in the rental market, one thing’s for certain – by upgrading your outdoor areas, you’ll no doubt be hedging your bets.