There are many ways that landlords can spruce up their buy-to-let properties to attract tenants, but this isn't always about making sure the inside of the house is presentable. Gardens, especially if you're looking for new tenants in the summer months, can be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the appearance of your rental property.

By carefully considering your target market and what your prospective tenants might hope to find in a garden, you can easily attract the right tenant and perhaps even increase the potential of receiving a higher rental income.

It's easy to get carried away in the garden, much like it is inside the house, but the key for landlords is to put any extravagant design ideas to the back of your mind and keep it simple yet attractive. Here are our tops tips for getting your buy-to-let properties summer-ready.

Clean exteriors

Take advantage of the (hopefully) warmer and dryer weather by checking the state of the property’s exterior. Could the external walls do with a fresh lick of paint or if the property has been rendered, are they crack-free?

And then onto the garden….

Basic TLC

Firstly, it's important to check the state of any borders. No one likes a cracked wall, broken (or non-existent) gate or mouldy fence panel. Clear up any debris and weeds, remove any dead or dying trees and plants and literally blow away the cobwebs!

Ensuring these areas are in good condition and that they are free of any overgrown shrubbery or weeds can give the garden an instantly fresher look for your tenants.

Think clean lines, distinct areas and low maintenance borders. Nothing looks better than a well-kept garden and by establishing paths, borders and specific areas, you can even make small gardens look big and inviting.

Reduce maintenance required

Even though a lawn may look aesthetically pleasing, it either costs you as the landlord more to maintain, especially if you provide a gardener, or it requires constant upkeep from your tenant. An attractive and low maintenance alternative to this can be hard paving options.

This is also why planting should be kept to a minimum. While a tenant might appreciate blooming flower beds at first, you can never predict whether they will be the green-fingered type. Perhaps think about planting year-round decorative flowers and trees and maybe fill beds with shingle as opposed to soil.

Added extras

If you're like many landlords, you might not consider providing any garden furniture beyond a shed or storage unit. However, including added extras can encourage your tenant to care for the garden as if it were their own.

Perhaps you're renting a family home where a children's slide or sun canopy would be very appealing, or maybe you're a landlord of an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) that will house young professionals? They'd be sure to appreciate a BBQ area and attractive garden furniture or bike storage. We’ve also heard of tenants requesting an outside hose so they can water the gardens themselves or wash their cars in the summer.

Make your expectations clear

When welcoming a new tenant to a buy-to-let property, landlords should try and detail any garden maintenance that is required and whether there is scope for tenants to add their own personal touch. If there is a lawn, it will need to be mowed; if there is a patio, it may need to be washed; if furniture is supplied, it must be looked after; if the tenant wants to pave an area for a paddling pool, is that allowed.

Be sure to clear up any confusion over who has responsibility for certain aspects of garden and furniture maintenance and what tenants can and can't do.

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Even the simplest of gardens can look great with a fine drop of creativity and efficient use of space and decorative ornaments can entice all kinds of tenants and ensure they feel at home.

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Whether you’re keen to find out more about Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), or want information on the latest lettings legislation, you’ll find it here on the blog.