From introducing bird feeders and water features to choosing bee-friendly flowers and wildflower lawns, there are many ways homeowners can welcome wildlife into their gardens. Plus, it could add up to £27,000 to the average UK property, according to experts. More and more people are rewilding their gardens as research by BBC Gardeners’ World in 2021 found over half (54 percent) of respondents were creating an uncultivated area in their garden, an 11 percent increase on 2020. There are now over 1,000 ‘wild garden’ boards on Pinterest, highlighting just how many people are looking for ideas on the topic.
According to Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at MyJobQuote, “A well-designed wildlife garden could add between five percent and 20 percent to your house value, depending on its size and your location.”
To help those looking to boost their home’s value and attract potential buyers, Sean McMenemy, a garden wildlife expert and director of Ark Wildlife, has shared his top tips for wildlife gardening and gathered insight from estate agents and property buying experts.
The first tip when gardening for wildlife to add value to a property is to appeal to people’s aspirations.
Jonathan Rolande, founding member of The National Association of Property Buyers and director of House Buy Fast, noted that this can potentially “help sell the house quickly and for more”.
He said: “When people walk into a house, pleasant smells can help them imagine themselves living there.
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“Then your garden will look and smell great, and you’ll be helping bees to spread flowers and fruit around the neighbourhood.”
Experts also advise that homeowners take a step back from garden maintenance.
Nick Lewis-Smith, director at Michael Anthony estate agents, explained: “Even the smallest garden or outdoor space is more likely to add value to a home if it’s lush and somewhere that looks natural enough to attract wildlife.
“And although gardens need maintenance, gardening to welcome wildlife means adopting a lighter touch with that maintenance.”
Sean noted that gardens should look “designed” rather than “neglected”.
He said: “More grass means more habitats for all kinds of animals. You can achieve a beautiful look with a mix of grasses and wildflowers, helped along by using wildflower seed balls.
“Just remember to plan it carefully, so it looks designed, rather than neglected.”
Property experts also shared that gardens need to strike the right balance between being “beautiful and usable” but still need to “attract wildlife”.
George Clover, Partner at Helmores Estate Agents, explained: “Most people like wildlife and in smaller gardens they could be adding a pond or big bug hotel or planting specific plants and flowers to attract insects and birds.
“This means that gardens can be beautiful and usable but still attract wildlife for pleasure and the good of the ecosystems we share.
“A well-designed garden that incorporates all the elements for enjoyment and wildlife could add up to 10 percent on the average UK property over a bare garden.
“That said, a wildlife garden could be completely left to nature, which is great for wildlife but not appealing to a lot of buyers.”
Sean McMenemy recommends adding a water feature as a fantastic way to strike this balance.
He said: “Sources of water provide habitats for frogs, newts, dragonflies and, of course, visiting birds in need of a bath. The best position for a water feature is somewhere that enjoys plenty of sunlight.
“You can attract more wildlife to it by placing plants, flowers and logs around it, which will also improve the look for homebuyers.
“I’d go for bird baths over ponds when considering adding house value, depending on your property type, as ponds could steer away families with young children in need of a safe garden space.”