Getting Kerb Appeal: 6 Tips for Preparing Your Garden for a House Sale

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter.  Potential buyers often form opinions within seconds of seeing your property, and the exterior, including the garden, plays an important role in this process. A well-maintained and thoughtfully designed garden can enhance your home’s kerb appeal and influence a buyer’s decision. Here are some tips to help you prepare your garden for a successful house sale:

1. Clean and Declutter: Begin by tidying up your outside space. Remove any debris, dead plants, or clutter that might be detracting from its appeal. Clean the front door and door furniture and make sure the doorbell works.  Trim overgrown bushes and trees and clear out any weeds. A neat and well-maintained garden immediately signals to potential buyers that the property has been cared for and is worth their attention.

2. Focus on the Front Garden: The front garden is the first thing potential buyers see, so it’s essential to make it inviting and attractive. Make sure the lawn is mown and think about adding planted pots with colourful flowers as a welcoming focus on the front doorstep.

3. Address Structural Issues: Before putting your house on the market, address any structural issues or safety concerns in the garden. Repair broken fences, pathways, or retaining walls, and ensure that all structures are stable and secure. Buyers will appreciate knowing that they won’t have to deal with costly repairs after purchasing the property.

4. Define Outdoor Spaces: Like you would indoors, make it easy for potential buyers to see how the spaces can be used. Set up any seating areas and style them if possible for photos and/or viewings so buyers can see how they might relax and entertain in your garden. Pots with seasonal bedding are a great way to add colour and scent in strategic positions, especially around seating areas.

5. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you’re unsure about how to best prepare your garden for sale, don’t hesitate to get in touch. An hour with me in your garden could help to prioritise actions and pinpoint key tasks. An objective eye can be very helpful in clarifying what needs to be done to make sure your garden helps to sell your house.  Remember, a well-maintained garden not only adds value to your home but also creates a welcoming atmosphere that resonates with buyers seeking their dream property.

Making your own Secret Garden

I’m very excited!  They are remaking ‘The Secret Garden’ which is 1 of my very favourite books.  Its not to be mixed up with ‘Secret Garden‘ which is being released this year and which is about an entirely different topic!!  Its going to star Colin Firth and Julie Waters and I can’t wait to find out where they are filming it!

It got me thinking about our own gardens and how sometimes we want some secret space from the family but also private space from our neighbours.  So what makes up a Secret Garden:

  • Paths – that twist or turn or that has planting either side to create a path that runs through greenery.  What you don’t want is to see where the path goes.  You want it to draw you in to find out where it goes.
  • A destination – the path needs to take you somewhere – it could be to a seating area, a focal point or to the shed!  But the point is you can’t see the destination when you start out!
  • A canopy to cover and create a ‘room’.  This could be created with trees providing a natural canopy of leaves or it could be made by an arbour or pergola covered in climbers.
  • A garden gate – nothing more secret than to have to open a gate to go through to the next space.  It could be a wrought iron gate you can see through, or a panelled wooden one you have to open to see through!
  • Exuberant planting – that gives you a glimpse through to what is beyond.  Think of height and movement; to screen the background and colour and scent to stop you on your way.
  • Light and dark – there might be distinct areas so that you pass from shady paths into a sunny courtyard, but the light and temperature change ensures that all your senses feel the change as you explore further.
  • Organised chaos – for me a secret garden is a bit unkempt!  A bit overgrown and mossy at the edges!
  • Lights – the fabulous fairy lights that are available now are just the thing to be strung up in the trees, shrubs and canopy to let you use your secret garden in the evening when the fairies come out to play!!!

I’ve collated some images of Secret Gardens on Pinterest for inspiration!

Share your secret garden with me in the comments!







Ideas we can take from RHS Chelsea 2018

So having caught up with all the coverage from Chelsea here are my thoughts on what we can take away from the Show to use in our gardens:

Yellow seems to have been a really popular accent colour with yellow Globeflowers (Troillus), Ladies Bonnets (Aquilegia), Woad, Hot Pokers (Kniphofia) and Lupins appearing in lots of the show gardens. And we’re not talking pastel Yellow here we’re talking bold and dramatic hues of Yellow bringing sparks of brightness to the foliage. All of these plants can be used in our gardens and I would add Sneezeweed (Helenium) and Aunt May (Sisyrinchium striatum) (pictured) to the Yellow Hit List!

Plants with vertical spires of flowers also seemed to crop up all over the place with Foxgloves (Digitalis), Mullein (Verbascum), Foxtail Lilies (Eremurus robustus) and especially Lupins making bold statements throughout the show gardens. We can definitely use these in our gardens, I would clump then together in odd numbers to make more impact and add Turkish Sage (Phlomis russeliana) and Bears Breeches (Acanthus mollis) to a list of high performing Flower Spires!

Corten Steel – we seem to have fallen in love with the coppery tones of corten steel and its been used in lots of differentways: planters, pots, water bowls, edging and pergolas. It’s definitely a modern material that we can use our gardens that melds with other materials and styles, whether traditional or more modern and is easy on the eye in its simplicity and sleekness. I especially like these Light Fittings by Nordlux at Wayfair.

So yes they are Show Gardens that sometimes cost more than my house is worth but I very much see them as the Couture Shows in fashion; they’re exciting and innovative and always provide inspiration for even the smallest of spaces!


What’s a Hoedown?

Clue: it’s not a gathering involving shouting catchy phrases like “yee-haw”!  A Hoedown is what I called my Garden Consultation Service, purely because ‘Garden Consultation’ sounds so boring! If you want to yell “yee-haw” at the end I’ll be more than pleased!

It’s usually an hour (but can be more) spent standing in your garden with you talking through anything garden related!  Someone called it Garden Therapy as they were feeling so stressed and overwhelmed by their garden and not enjoying it all!  Others have found it really helpful at different times:  perhaps you’ve recently moved in, about to put your house on the market or have just built an extension and now can see your garden more.  In the past I’ve covered:

  • Identifying what plants are what
  • What to prune and when
  • How to prune
  • What to do after an extension has been built or after a garage has been pulled down
  • How to make fences and walls look better
  • What shape borders or beds to make
  • Ideas on what plants to use in different places
  • Lawn care
  • What materials would work in a small courtyard
  • What plants wouldn’t mind living in pots
  • Making decisions about taking out shrubs or moving them
  • Where it’s best to put waterbutts and raised beds for veggies
  • Pests and diseases
  • What’s a weed
  • Where to put the trampoline!

My objective pair of eyes and ears can be really helpful to solve problems, be a sounding board or come up with ideas.  After our hour I write up our discussion including any links I’ve promised and email it to you so you have a record of our discussion and signposted places to go to to take action (or delegate the actions!).

Here’s what Claire had to say following our Hoedown:

“I spent a lovely hour in my back garden with Renée having a Hoedown.  She is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I feel very inspired now and, most importantly, confident that I can change my garden to suit my family.  Renée listened to what I hoped to achieve and asked all the right questions.  I can’t wait to get started and thanks to Renée’s follow-up email with links and reminders of what we talked about it didn’t matter that I forgot most of the plant names we talked about! Thank you.”

The cost of a Hoedown is 1 hour of your time, 1 cup of tea for me and £75 (Monday to Friday) or £95 (weekends and evenings) within 5 miles radius of Redhill.  I’m more than happy to travel further afield but will need to agree additional expenses to cover mileage.

If you need that objective pair of eyes, please do just get in touch at

What would you want us to spend our hour discussing?  Let me know in the comments below!



Frost on the Leaves Photoshoot

Frost on the Leaves Photoshoot

I was really proud to be asked to collaborate with other creative professionals on a styled wedding photoshoot in the Autumn of 2016. It took place in woodland in Surrey with the theme ‘Frost on the Leaves’.  The group wanted to explore the beauty of a late English Autumn, a magical time of coloured leaves and silver frost. I was asked to contribute one of my Garlands and created one made of Star Jasmine, Ivy, Copper Beech and Hypericum which was used as a table decoration.

It was fascinating to be involved in the process and so enjoyable to see the beautiful items created and then brought together.  I definitely have my eye on the shoes!!

You can see photos of the shoot here from the day and details of all the collaborators who contributed:

Photography: Jessica Jill Partridge,
Dresses made & designed by Felicity Westmacott
Styling by Jessica of
Models Katja Cemic, Keely Simeoni and Isabella Crighton
Hair styling by Very Bettie
Make up by,
Bespoke Shoes by Marsha Hall
Jewellery by Vicky Forrester
Veil and headpieces by Jen Levet
Floristry by Michelle Knibbs of Muscari Whites

Beaded antique-silver lace dress with silk chiffon skirt by Felicity Westmacott.

Beaded antique-silver lace dress with silk chiffon skirt by Felicity Westmacott.

Table Setting with Garland acting as centrepiece for candelabra

Table Setting with Garland acting as centrepiece for candelabra

JessicaJillPhotography-26JessicaJillPhotography-141Shoes by Marsha HallJessicaJillPhotography-170JessicaJillPhotography-98JessicaJillPhotography-36JessicaJillPhotography-21