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ADD pounds 10K TO YOUR HOME; Don't forget about your outdoor space when you're selling your home. Follow this guide to do's and don'ts and you could add thousands to the sale price...

Byline: DAVID DOMONEY

'WHEN you put your home on the market, most people are savvy enough to know that a quick spruce-up of the decor can help you get a quicker sale for a higher price.

But why stop there? The first thing to greet any viewer is your front garden. And your back garden is often bigger than the whole of the inside.

If you've given your walls a once-over with the emulsion, put down a few rugs and made your windows sparkle it's time to do the equivalent in the garden.

All your need is a few hundred pounds, a weekend and a bit of graft. It could be the difference between profit and loss...

CUTTING BACK

If you have a hedge separating your garden from your neighbour's, it is probably invading your space by up to a metre. By cutting it back you'll open up your lawn, increase the light and make your garden look bigger. Don't get too carried away. Simply take your hedge back to the greenery and trim the top.

It's the same with trees with low overhanging branches. Just lop them off. Cost: Hedge-trimmer hire, about pounds 30

TIME YOUR VIEWINGS

WORK out when the sun is at that optimum spot in your garden and try to arrange viewings to coincide with it. It can turn a dull, uninviting garden into a warm enticing extra room.

Cost: Free

GROUNDWORK

IF your block driveway or patio has been down for more than a year, it will probably have moss, lichen or algae growing between the slabs and dirt on the surface.

You'll be amazed at the difference a couple of hours with a powerwasher will make. Use it with a stiff brush and some Jeyes Fluid and you'll get a dramatic change. It's quite a satisfying and rewarding job in a grubby kind of way. When it's completely dry get hold of some kilndried sand (sometimes called silica sand) and brush it over the surface of the block paving. Over time it will wash away but it fills the gaps where you've removed the algae and growth and makes it look brand new again. We always do it when we're working on garden shows. It only takes a few hours and then it's "wow!". You won't want to move!

COST: Power-washer hire and cleaning fluid, pounds 70

WOODCARE

STAINING wooden surfaces used to be a boring job but now you can buy an automatic sprayer which makes it a lot easier. You can do a fence panel in less than 10 minutes.

Old fence panels turn green or silver or patchy over time. Cover them with some stain and they will look like new again. If the panel is in good e condition and there is just a silvery effect over the top, use a stiff broom to brush off any snags, cobwebs and dust.

If you have a build-up of damp algae, brush it off and treat with an algaecide before staining. Some stains come with algaecide already in the formula. Choose a neutral, woody colour - not blue, purple or pink. Oak or chestnut appeal to most people.

It is not just fences - your shed, the side of the garage and garden furniture will also benefit. And don't forget the garage doors. A quick paint job will make all the difference

COST: Stain and sprayer: pounds 75

TRIM THE LAWN

YOUR mower is probably packed away f it bt for winter but we've had such warm spells that your grass will have seen some growth, especially on patches where the sun has been shining.

COST: Free

DRESS TO IMPRESS

IF you have garden furniture in the shed or garage, get it out and get it on the patio, even the parasol if it's not too windy. You need to create that dream for potential buyers - don'time to see your garden but you need to start giving the impression of what it will be like come summer.

Cost: Free

ADD COLOUR

AT this time of year, spend pounds 100-pounds 150 at your local nursery and you'll get a lot of flowering plants to boost the colour in your garden. Primroses are looking fantastic, as are daffodils. If you have pots and planters on the patio or by the back and front doors, pack them out with blooms. If you have a container with a conifer or a bit of box hedging or ivy that's still going strong in a hanging basket, just dig a little hole and put your plants in. Invest in a couple of bags of composted bark to top off containers and bedding areas.

COST: pounds 100-150 GET more tips at www.daviddomoney.com'

..and what NOT to do

WHEN I was househunting last year, these were my big turn-offs:

Smelly, over-filled bins - hide or empty them!

Trampolines and other large outdoor toys. They make the garden look untidy, small and messy.

Messy storage. Get your car out of the garage and empty your shed.

Animals. Poop-a-scoop anything they have left on the lawn and tidy away their toys. Get someone to take the dog for a walk during viewings.

Clothes hanging on the washing line. Clear it away and take the line down.

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CAPTION(S):

Garden tips... David No deal... a messy garden puts off potential buyers Deal... with the lawn cut, pots on show and garden furniture out on the patio
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 26, 2012
Words:906
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