Whether you’re planning to sell in the brightest months or dreaming of long days and balmy evenings outdoors at home, May is the perfect moment to start planting for summer.

And if a move is on the cards, a blooming garden or balcony is proven to add many thousands to your sale price and help you sell faster as well.


Beyond the basics of a freshly mown lawn and jet-washed pavers, it’s planting that adds the real pizazz, so our blog this week is filled with modern gardening tips on:


  • Preparing the ground
  • Perfect pots and planters
  • Beautiful beds and borders
  • Designing for the senses
  • Keeping up appearances


Whether you’re a seasoned plant-whisperer with your trowel at the ready, or a complete gardening novice wondering where to start, you’ll find everything you need to get seriously down to earth.



Healthy soil is the foundation of perfect planting. As well as providing nourishment, it holds water more effectively and helps everything thrive, making your efforts all the more rewarding.

  • Damp soil is the easiest to weed, so take a trowel and lever each one out by the roots to prevent Modern gardeners don’t double dig, so everything gets easier after this bit.
  • Remove stones, then gather twigs and leaves (with a blower if necessary) to bag up and rot down for compost (you can also give it away on Facebook or perhaps to the council).
  • If your soil isn’t looking that good, spread compost to give it a nutritional boost, and worms will do the rest. Otherwise, you’re done and ready to plant.

Although you might want to get right in there and begin with the more glamorous task of planting, there’s something to be said for finding joy in preparing the ground for wonderful things to come.



Pots, hanging baskets and window boxes can fast-track your outside space into an oasis of colour, texture, shapes and aromas, from enhancing a plain patio to making a front door more welcoming.

  • For containers on patios, decks and terraces, mixing glazed and terracotta finishes with a combination of trailing and structural plants will help you create a flowing and natural look.
  • Fill pots and window boxes so the soil stops about two inches short of the rim to leave enough room for a top dressing of bark, slate, or pebbles for more effective watering.
  • Use bigger pots for larger plants, but check the growing times and recommended container sizes to ensure full and luscious pots.

Finally, to reduce the amount of replanting needed to update the look, fill some of your pots with annuals that die after flowering, and others with perennials that bloom year after year.




Creating a garden bed isn’t as tricky as it might seem. As long as your plants have enough space to grow and you mix evergreens with seasonal varieties for year-round interest, nature will do the rest.


  • For borders against a fence or wall, put the tallest-growing plants at the back and graduate the heights down towards the front, off-setting each plant in a series of triangles for a natural
  • Use island beds as transitions between lawns and patios with low-level planting, or to screen off private zones behind tall stems like pampas, bamboo, fatsia japonica, and canna musifolia.
  • Add definition and design with edging materials like high-end steel strips, ceramic blocks, or hardwood sleepers, or use an edging tool to get a crisp line between your lawn and bed.


Most of all, don’t be daunted. Plants come with labels that tell you whether they like the sun or shade and how much water they need, while the nice people at the garden centre are also on hand to help.




Just like your rooms, gardens and balconies are at their best when they’re designed for enjoyment as well as style, from relaxing in comfort to encouraging biodiversity.


  • Lavender and old English Roses attract butterflies and bees, while birds love sunflowers and teasels. So, for an outdoor space that’s truly alive, look for plants that welcome wildlife.
  • Create a comfy seating area to savour the results of your hard work, and dress with weatherproof cushions, throws and lighting for the ultimate in cosiness by day and by night.
  • Introduce sensual and restorative elements like the sound of water and the flickering of flames with accessories like contemporary fountains and fire pits.

Just imagine kicking back to the humming, tweeting and fluttering of visitors against the rustling of leaves in the breeze, with the sun’s warmth on your skin and the scent of a lovely summer – bliss!




Having made your outdoor space a thing of beauty, investing a little of your time and attention each week will help your plants delight you every day, and charm your buyers on every viewing.


  • Keep your soil covered with mulch like bark, slate and gravel to minimise weeds and help your beds retain water. (Bark is particularly easy to change as it naturally rots down.)
  • Deadhead your plants regularly by removing spent flowers with scissors or snips to encourage new buds and stop the old ones from dropping off and seeding elsewhere.
  • In dry weather, water plants at the roots in the evening so less water gets lost to evaporation in the sun. Pots need water more regularly, but check first for leaf wilt and to see how dry they are.


As you watch your plants bloom and grow before your eyes, watering and weeding can offer wonderfully Zen-like moments in the open air without ever leaving home.


Are you thinking of planting for summer?

Having a garden or balcony that looks fabulous for photos and viewings can make all the difference in how much interest you get, and boost the price you finally achieve.

If you’re selling a home in East Dulwich, we’d love to help you perfect your presentation and sell at a premium, so call us on 020 8690 7766  or message us on info@fishneedwater.com for a friendly chat and expert advice.