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Seven garden sins that devalue your property

From leylandii hedges to shabby sheds, these garden gaffes could be knocking thousands off your house price. Find out which blunders are the worst and how to put them right.

Wooden garden shed (© Simon Battensby, Photographer's Choice, Getty Images)

1. Planting the wrong trees

Putting a new tree in a garden is always a matter of diplomacy and caution. You might like how it looks but will it end your neighbours' sunbathing sessions for good? Some trees - such as leylandii - shoot up and up and up, becoming much too tall for the average garden, robbing it and surrounding plots of sunlight. Many trees also have invasive roots that can damage drains and cause subsidence in nearby properties. So, unless you want a shady garden where nothing grows and insurance claims from next door, do your research first and steer clear.
Most British gardens are long and thin and would need smaller specimens - take a look at the RHS's Guide to Trees for Smaller Gardens for suggestions.

2. Neglecting your shed

A dilapidated shed is a real turn-off for potential future buyers so make sure you maintain yours to keep it in good condition. Ensure its roof is sound to keep the rain out, carry out repairs in spring and autumn, and give it an annual coat of Cuprinol Shed and Fence Protector, which comes in a range of natural shades and protects the wood itself against the weather.

3. Letting it become overgrown

Failing to trim hedges, allowing weeds to run wild, moss to overtake the lawn and letting unattractive climbers such as Russian vine to get out of control, all tell a tale of an unloved garden that will soon become unusable. Not only that, allowing some weeds, such as spear thistle, Japanese knotweed or ragwort to spread is actually a legal offence and can incur a fine. So get digging...

4. Crazy paving it

Crazy paving (© Imageworks, Getty Images)

Popular in the seventies but past it now, crazy paving is a real garden no-no.

You wouldn't, would you? Crazy paving is the outdoor equivalent of woodchip wallpaper - nasty to look at and a pain to get rid of. If you've inherited some, the quickest and cheapest way to hide it may be to cover it in decking - see our feature on Decking Design Ideas for inspiration. If you do decide to lay a deck, ensure you maintain it regularly to keep it in tip top condition - use Cuprinol's Ultimate Decking Protector once a year, which prevents rot and preserves its colour.

5. Allowing fences to fall apart

Neglected boundaries are a real no-no, so don't let yours lean, become gap-filled or disintegrate. Check your deeds (or ask your landlord to) to find out which fences you have responsibility for, but if you can't get your neighbours to pay to have their side maintained, offer to chip in or save up and pay for the whole lot yourself - it will be worth it in the long run if you decide to sell. The best way to look after fences is prevention - so spray yours with Cuprinol One Coat Fence Treatment - you can effortlessly cover a panel in minutes and there's a range of natural colours to choose from.

6. Ignoring garden pests

Japanese knotweed (© Barry Batchelor, PA Archive, Press Association Images)

Japanese knotweed can grow an inch a day, crack concrete and new plants can grow from tiny fragments.

Whether you've had a go at composting but got it wrong and only succeeded in encouraging rats, or have an invasion of slugs and snails, turning a blind eye to a pest problem in the garden is never advisable, because they won't go away by themselves. Slugs and snails will happily munch their way through your veggie patch, and it won't be long before the rats find their way indoors - through the cat flap maybe or a damaged airbrick - and start helping themselves to your store cupboard food. Either way, you're down financially, and the sight of rat droppings will send future buyers running for the hills.

7. Allowing it to look like an adventure playground

Okay, so we know children love the garden and enjoy toys, but if you pack your plot with garish, plastic pieces, you're not doing the value of your property any favours. Strewn bikes, untidy toys and an oversized trampoline are all turn-offs to potential future buyers, as is a gigantic climbing frame in bright, clashing colours. So, keep it tidy by stashing toys away in the shed, and choose wooden play equipment that you can stain to blend into the foliage behind. Use Cuprinol's Garden Shades to colour and protect at the same time - there's a wide range of greens to choose from.

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