Firepits are passé and an outdoor fireplace is the thing. “They’re becoming a popular feature for those who are doing up their garden – but don’t let it take up too much space so that it detracts from the usable area of lawn,” advises Rampton Baseley’s Director, Joel Baseley. Prices range from £800 to £7,800 depending on size and whether they are gas or wood burning, says Rocio Castro from Urban Roof Gardens (urbanroofgardens.com). The company works with steel artists and sculptors to offer a range of simple firepits and bespoke wall-mounted solutions. And if wood fires are not allowed in your area, there are eco-friendly alternatives such as bioethanol which burns cleanly and produces serious amounts of heat.
Forget a barbecue on the deck; outdoor kitchens with integrated fridges, sinks and islands are de rigueur. Landscape gardener Andy Sturgeon recommends upmarket garden-furniture firm Gaze Burvill (gazeburvill.com), which sells a modular “a la carte” kitchen in handcrafted oak. A 1m grill unit, including a Wolf grill and special liner, is around £11,000 and an 80 cm storage unit is around £3,800.
Once derided as a cheap-looking option for hands-off landlords, artificial grass has taken on a new lease of life and is the lawn of choice for many families. It’s ideal for small spaces, can be used all year round, requires little maintenance and doesn’t get muddy. What’s not to like? “An expanse of green lawn is synonymous with English gardens, but whether the grass is real or fake has almost become immaterial,” says George Franks of Douglas & Gordon.
A well-designed, modern garden room that lends itself to extra accommodation of varying sorts will win over prospective buyers. Media room, gym, office, teenage pad, whatever. “Just remember that garden rooms can’t be included in the square footage of the house,” says Rampton Baseley’s Co-Director Joel Baseley. Substantial garden rooms start at around £30,000, though Julia Robotham of Marsh & Parson reckons that the one at the back of the house on Madrid Road, Barnes (pictured) would have cost nearer £50,000. The vendor, a trader, built it as his office, but it was the log burner that provided the wow factor when conducting viewings.
A living wall – also known as a green wall or vertical garden – planted with lush foliage, grasses or brightly coloured blooms, is a great way to bring a sense of the great outdoors to even the smallest courtyard or terrace where planting areas are thin on the ground. Choose ornamental or edible plants with a “living louvre” or “green screen”, as offered by Tree Box in Wimbledon (treebox.co.uk). The eco benefits are bringing vegetation to urban areas, including reducing air pollution and helping to regulate air temperature. “Clever planting will allow for a year round display of different shades of green, from golden and yellow hues to rich purple and burgundy – and most are available with integral watering systems so upkeep is minimal,” says Barry Burrows of Bartholomew Landscaping. Budget for around £400 per square metre.