Kirsty McLuckie: How does your garden glow?

This week I took the plunge and invested in some proper outdoor furniture, having agonized over the indulgent purchase for months.

Image: marinadreams - stock.adobe
Image: marinadreams - stock.adobe

Since about mid-February, every time the sun comes out, I’ve been dreaming of the type of set-up often seen in pictures of prestige property featured in these pages – with designer sofas, coffee tables, parasols and teak dining sets.

While our subsequent purchase isn’t going to make the cover of any homes supplement, the modest rattan set that we’ve plumped for has, in the four days since it arrived, hosted a barbecue, late-night drinks with friends, afternoon tea with the parents, and a lazy day of lounging in the sunshine.

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If it weren’t for Monday’s torrential rain, I’d almost say it had been worth the money already.

According to my husband, however, it has turned me into something of a Hyacinth Bucket.

He baulked at my suggestion, for instance, that our young adults ought not to sit on our new furniture while drinking lager out of a can, they must use a glass.

Likewise, dishes should be immediately removed from the table at the end of a meal and the whole set should be wiped down and rearranged in a symmetrical manner at the end of use – no matter how long into the wee small hours that should be.

No doubt it is all very shallow of me to be so concerned with appearances, but part of the reason I wanted to create a nice seating space outdoors is that keeping it aesthetically pleasing is so much simpler than managing the interior of the house.

Keeping the garden looking nice means that people who call round unexpectedly can be hosted in a controlled environment – in a holding pattern, if you like – without ever having to set foot in a house that hasn’t seen a window cleaner since the beginning of the pandemic.

The panic that sets in when visitors need to pop in to use the loo is something that I haven’t yet solved, but focused decluttering, tidying and decorating the route in and out should sort it.

Apparently, I’m not the only one for whom appearances matter. Living in an internet age has affected the way we prioritise buying a home.

Research from Scotland-based proptech company Pixel has revealed that the modern home buyer is more concerned about the perception of a property than its features. Street views of developments receive nearly a third more views from potential buyers than the actual properties they want to buy. Once virtually inside, public spaces such as kitchens, lounges and dining rooms receive 150 per cent more attention from buyers than private spaces.

The data presented took in more than £218 million worth of property sales at 100 developments marketed through the firm’s digital showhome and option-selector tools throughout 2021.

Cat Smith, director at Pixel, says, “It’s not surprising that appearances are a higher priority for the new generation of home buyers, because we live in a world of Instagram and Tik Tok.”

Which is just another way of saying that today’s youth are just as interested in Keeping Up Appearances as Hyacinth ever was.

- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman