How much value do you think a garden can add to a home?

If you listen to the experts, good landscaping can add anywhere from 15–20%, and even up to 25% in exceptional circumstances. So whether you’re looking to get your home sale-ready or simply interested in flexing your green thumb, we spoke to Peter Stievenard, who runs local landscaping business The Proud Gardener to get his helpful tips and advice for 2021.

Peter, what can we expect to see this year in garden designs?

Since the beginning of COVID last year, people have been thinking a lot more about what they can do with their garden, especially in terms of sustainability – recycling home waste into compost, mulching lawn clippings and other kinds of green waste. They’ve also started to think about what they can do with their garden, because they’re spending more time in it. They want to see more edible plant components in their garden designs too.

I’ve just installed four Colorbond garden beds for a client who wanted to grow veggies for their family as well as creating some fun for the children. This is the kind of thing that people are asking for as an add-on to a bigger landscaping job. I think it’s about the desire to start looking after the environment a bit more. We are also seeing more requests for native gardens and privacy screening.

Is there such a thing as a ‘low-maintenance garden’ and what plants should you focus on?

Let’s be honest about this – there’s not really a maintenance-free garden. If you have a garden and you want it to look great all the time, then you’re going to have to spend some time looking after it. It won’t take care of itself.

I try and encourage people to set up a simple maintenance program. Pop it on the fridge for a reminder of what needs to be completed. If you do just a few things every week, rather than every couple of months, then it will keep the garden looking good.

For low-maintenance gardens, you can choose drought-resistant plants such as succulents. Kalanchoes and aloes are hardy and require little water and provide some welcome colour when flowering. Rosemary and lavender are drought tolerant and provide some nice scent to the garden. They can also be used in food and complement indoor flower arrangements. When selecting plants try to go for dwarf varieties. These are slower growing and require less maintenance, especially pruning.

What’s your advice for homeowners who are looking to sell – what do they need to do with their garden?

Firstly, if you’re selling your home, it’s absolutely vital to present a well cared for garden and outdoor area.

The garden is the first thing a potential buyer is going to see. Mow the lawns, prune the hedges, remove all weeds. Remove all vegetation against the house and pressure clean all hard surfaces like paths and driveways. Presentation really is everything.

All of these things give the impression that the owner cares for their garden and, if they care about their garden, they also care about their home.

Can you expect a return on your investment in landscaping before a sale?

Absolutely! Just as vendors may “stage” or style the inside of their home for sale, a well presented garden and outdoor area will return great dividends. An investment of $2,000-$3,000 for an overall cleanup will reap major benefits as will a total makeover for two or three times that amount.

How important is it to design your garden around your environment?

Newcastle is a pretty hilly area, so there’s a lot of structural work and retaining that’s necessary around gardens. It can also be an area that a potential purchaser will inspect and if there is damage, then that may be one of their bargaining points. It’s an essential item that can be very expensive to replace.

Environmental factors help choose the type of garden that suits the area but there is no limit to what can be achieved with imagination. Formal, cottage or native gardens can be designed for the smallest of spaces or the grandest of gardens. Choosing plant species that are native to the area in which you live is always prudent, but it’s not the only option. Newcastle has a fairly temperate climate, which allows us to consider most varieties of plants. Cool climate trees and plants are probably the exception.

What does The Proud Gardener do to help people with their gardens?

The Proud Gardener offers a full landscape and consultation service. We are licensed structural landscapers and qualified horticulturists. We can renovate your garden and outdoor areas prior to selling, and are frequently called in to enhance a property prior to it going on the market. We cover all aspects of landscaping including retaining walls, paving, concreting and soft landscaping.

We’ve been around for over 35 years landscaping new builds, repairs, replacements and makeovers

So… if you don’t quite know what to do with your garden, we’ll come out to have a look and provide you with a comprehensive quote or a consultation on what needs to be done. You can visit our website at: to request a quote or call us on 0418 495 622 to book an appointment.

If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Maitland, Lake Macquarie or Newcastle area, contact our team today.

Photo credit: The Proud Gardener website

Altitude Real Estate

Altitude Real Estate

Altitude is known as one of the region's most successful real estate teams for constantly exceeding their client's expectations. Our award winning agents provide our clients with specialised services across all facets of real estate incorporating Residential Sales, Property Management, Strata Management and Project Marketing. Learn More

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