With increasing free time and more people turning towards other outdoor activities, we are discovering many alternative uses for our garden, which makes living in our home more pleasant and provide an opportunity for bonding with family and friends.
People’s and homeowners’ attitudes towards the garden have also changed over the last 15 years, and some of the points to be noted are the following:
- Houses are no longer developed at a distance of 10 feet from the boundary as they used to be. Still, today’s architects make an effort to save the garden space by using two levels (2 storeys) or adopting an L-shape layout, saving land and increasing open spaces.
- The living areas and verandas are no longer placed along the road boundary, and they are now orientated towards an internal patio, providing increased privacy. Nowadays, most homes place the kitchen, garage and other auxiliary spaces along the road boundary, with the bedrooms and living areas oriented inwards to the patio.
- The garden has a much-increased value for a home. Most gatherings occur within the garden and not, as used to be, within the house living spaces, dining area, bar and TV lounge.
- There is a rough formula that I believe provides a good indication that the house plot should ideally be 2-3 times the extent of the home. So, if an ordinary home needs 200 sq.m., the plot size should be approximately 400-600 sq.m. The larger the size of the home area, the bigger the plot.
- Considering the land cost and the increasing importance of garden availability, many homeowners opt to move out of the central areas towards the periphery of towns, where the land cost is less (note houses in agricultural fields).
- In addition to acquiring land, the garden cost should also be considered, both in terms of initial cost and maintenance.
A garden should be used primarily for tree planting (such as olive, carob, and pine trees), which require little water.
Avoid the use of grass that requires a lot of water and maintenance.
Instead, depending on the size of the garden, especially if you have available 100-150 sq.m. in one compact area, opt for high-quality plastic grass (with the necessary soil preparation).
Pools & BBQs
Bearing in mind the way we now live, I provide the following thoughts for your consideration:
- A great fun activity is to adopt a BBQ or counter (with sink and drainage, plus electricity provision). For the more adventurous, the traditional oven (fournoi) – Costs approximately €
- For those who have the space and the money and wish to have a swimming pool, the cost for a 4m x 12m size is around €20,000. This includes the pool for €15,000, the patio around it €4,000, a shower €800 and a pergola (or use a large tent). If you wish to have a pool at a later stage, make sure that you dig the hole before the house is built, avoiding the destruction of your garden at a later stage. Note that if you opt for an overflow type (better looking) instead of a skimmer type pool, it will be around 50% higher in cost. Any pool less than 4m x 8m is not recommended, whereas the water depth should be around 1.80m (one level) for safety purposes, especially for children. A springboard is outdated and should be avoided.
- Do not forget garden lighting (and sockets at intervals), and you should budget for a cost of around €4,000 (including fittings).
- In terms of garden use for the more active residents, consider the following:
- A basic tennis court with an asphalt cover will cost around €20,000, but it will need the space of a building plot on its own.
- Basketball (one pole) will require around 30-50 sq.m. with around €3,500 (stone surface).
- Badminton – A game for all ages and with four players will cost you around €250, whereas a small volleyball court for 4-6 people will cost around €
- Golf putting needs top quality grass (or top-quality plastic) as an alternative or common use with the badminton-volleyball court. Used over the same ground, it can provide great fun, especially for children – Cost around €
- Green bowling is another option.
I wish to point out that using good quality plastic grass and including the soil preparation will cost around €50/sq.m., but you save on water, maintenance, and chemicals.
I believe that the provision of such facilities within a home boundary is on the increase, and I hope I have been able to offer you some ideas to utilise your garden space and increase bonding with family and friends through the use of fun games and exercise (and of course increasing your home value).
Antonis Loizou Real Estate Valuer, Project Consultant & Estate Agent