Why Functional Gardens are Important for Renters and Landlords

By 4 min read • January 25, 2024
Smart house situated in beautifully maintained gardens

For both renters and landlords, a beautifully designed and well-maintained outdoor space offers immense value that extends across all seasons. More than just aesthetics, functional gardens provide a host of benefits for tenants and property owners alike.

Here, we’ll take a look at how simple garden design choices provide sanctuary and respite for tenants, and also drive revenue for owners in a buoyant rental market. With a bit of forethought, gardens can transcend being just an amenity and become an integral part of your living space.

What Are the Benefits for Renters?

Improved mental health

For renters, a practical garden space provides mental, physical, social and even educational benefits that enhance quality of life and make rental properties more desirable places to live. Gardens are powerful for mental health, as being in nature is consistently linked to lower stress, anxiety and depression. Whether it’s having morning coffee in a sun-dappled courtyard, walking and admiring the colours and scents of flower beds, or listening to birds from a balcony, peaceful garden spaces allow renters to find calm and respite from urban life.

A boost to physical wellbeing

Outdoor spaces also support renters’ physical health. Gardening itself provides exercise and fresh homegrown vegetables and herbs improve nutrition. Community gardens have been shown to encourage both activity and better eating through urban agriculture, and landlords can provide this by giving tenants access to outdoor spaces on their back doorstep. Shared gardens can help renters connect more to the people living around them, building a sense of community and reducing loneliness for people who live alone.

Great for families

For tenants with children, gardens provide wonderful educational opportunities, from teaching kids valuable gardening skills to letting them observe pollinators and seasonal cycles up close. Gardens encourage engagement with nature from an early age, as well as providing an additional space for kids to burn off steam and have fun.

More attractive property

The inherent natural beauty of gardens makes them a wonderful addition to any property, no matter how big or small they are. The visual variety and sensory delights offered by a private outdoor space adds aesthetic value that enhances every day for renters. It’s essentially an additional outdoor ‘room’ that extends the space tenants have access to, which is a considerable benefit, especially in cities and busy towns.

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What Are the Benefits of Gardens for Landlords?

For landlords, incorporating functional gardens and outdoor spaces into rental properties adds significant value and makes properties more desirable. Thoughtful landscaping is proven to help landlords lease available units faster. Tenants are drawn to livable outdoor areas, whether they envision gardening, entertaining or simply relaxing in the space. A lack of quality green space can be a deal-breaker for some renters.

Opportunity for higher income

Once leased, properties with gardens, courtyards and other useful outdoor amenities can demand higher rents. Tenants are willing to pay more for access to well-designed shared and private exterior spaces, and market rent analyses consistently demonstrate the value added from green spaces.

Higher tenant retention

What’s more, gardens also promote tenant retention, as satisfied renters are more likely to renew leases, avoiding turnover costs for owners. Finding the right property takes time and with demand so high, it can be a challenge to find a property at all, let alone one that provides all the features and amenities you want. Tenants who have access to outdoor spaces are less likely to give up that perk, meaning they may stay longer which is great news for landlords seeking consistent income.

A boost to kerb appeal

Kerb appeal and perceived property value also increase with outdoor upgrades like gardens. Visually striking landscaping catches the eye of prospective tenants and enhances the landlord’s reputation. From neat patio areas for outdoor dining to lounge spaces or sheds and garages for leisure pursuits and hobbies, these features are an attractive proposition for renters who may be willing to pay extra for the luxury of having them on their doorstep.

Lower maintenance

While requiring some upfront investment, functional gardens save landlords money over time by reducing overall maintenance costs. Drought-resistant native plants are low maintenance compared to grass, for example. These gardens add purpose in place of more labour-intensive ornamentation, and it means that tenants don’t feel pressure to maintain particularly high standards if they’re not naturally inclined to garden.

Ultimately, livable gardens boost income through higher rents and occupancy rates while improving perceptions of landlords’ properties and management services. The benefits are both monetary and reputational, and they can save landlords the hassle of needing to find new tenants in the future when they’re planned well.

Tips for Creating Functional Gardens

When incorporating gardens into rental properties, landlords should focus first on functionality and durability to maximise the benefits for both tenants and themselves. For example, gardens should be designed to be low maintenance such as relying primarily on native, drought-resistant plants that are appropriate for the local climate. In modern or higher-maintenance examples like rooftop gardens or grand landscaped exteriors designed by architects keen to show their passion for sustainability, functionality remains integral to their plans.

If space allows, designating garden plots for tenants in MHOs creates engagement. Community gardens foster connections between renters who share tips and produce. Just be sure to outline usage policies in the contract. Clearly defining private versus public areas avoids conflict, with fencing, planting buffers and intentional layouts.

It’s also important to know your market. If you’re looking to rent your property to students, for example, they may not want to spend their spare time maintaining the garden. Similarly, busy professionals who commute to and from work may not have the time to dedicate to gardening. In these instances, a lower-maintenance garden is going to be more appealing than one filled with foliage that requires regular upkeep. On the other hand, if you’re renting to families, having a safe and secure garden will be the top priority.

Incorporating functional gardens into rental properties requires planning but pays dividends. The ideal gardens reduce headaches through intentional low-maintenance designs while increasing rental revenue and improving tenant experiences. Careful choices like drought-resistant native plants and hardscaping for entertainment spaces maximise usability. Together, the design decisions outlined here allow gardens to fully deliver on their promise, and landlords to provide a more usable space for their tenants.

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