14th May 2019
The perennial appeal of London's green spaces.
With the RHS Chelsea Flower Show almost back in bloom, and the sun finally shining, thoughts are turning to the great outdoors. My local garden centre in Wandsworth was so busy at the weekend that it took half an hour just to find a parking space as Londoners prove that it is not just those with large country gardens who want to make the most of their outside space, even if it is only the size of a postage stamp.
When a buyer engages us as to help them find a home, they will inevitably have a list of ‘must haves’. Often the list includes a green view, whether that be a communal garden – of which London probably has more than any other capital city in the world – or a park view, or open aspect.
This is the case whether the buyer is British or international. For many international buyers, the amount of green space in the capital sets London apart from other cities across the world. New York famously has one big central park but London is much more diverse, scattered with communal spaces, gardens and parks across the city.
Many of these busy public parks are protected, preventing change or development. They differ in terms of style and scale, providing various amenities: some are elevated, some are wild, some have deer or water, or opera, or a cricket pitch, or offer open-air swimming. In each case they provide something rare in a built environment – the perfect antidote to urban life.
Property with a view over a park or access to a communal garden attracts a premium. This is largely driven by its rarity value. Private, communal gardens are a special haven of tranquility, often run by committees who put on parties and pull the community together in a shared space.
Gardens are becoming a real selling point. Bi-fold doors mean the lines between indoor and outdoor space have become blurred. One of the first things I do when viewing a property is look out of the window. How light the property is and what you are looking onto is so important but having said that, even if the garden needs some work, it is much easier and cheaper to transform than a house. A trip to the garden centre and you can do it in a weekend, at a fraction of the price. It is also good for the soul.
The trend towards more healthy, eco-friendly lifestyles with the growing popularity of outdoor pursuits such as running means easy access to one of London’s many parks is an absolute minimum requirement. Whether it’s pulling up weeds, playing on the swings, or simply running across the grass, being outdoors is a welcome alternative to too much screen time for young and old. As we move into summer, the appeal of the great outdoors is stronger than ever.