Garden makeovers rank among top five home improvements

Garden makeovers are among the top five home improvements for householders to carry out, according to recent research from

The product comparison site found that 17% of households have given their garden a new look in the past three years, and even more - 20% of those surveyed - say they expect to do so in the coming three years.

Other home improvements that ranked in the top five included extensions, new boilers and central heating, new bathrooms and new kitchens.

But Mark Greening, home insurance spokesman for, points out that any home improvements that add value to your property could have a knock-on effect on your level of buildings insurance coverage.

Outdoor upgrades

If you're worried that upgrades you make to your home could leave you with insufficient buildings insurance coverage, the garden can be a good place to look instead.

Many householders do not make full use of the allowed garden contents coverage within their home insurance, and even fairly modest garden projects can increase the amount of living space your home provides, particularly on a sunny day.

Take a look at your garden as it is now, and decide whether it might be worth landscaping it to fit a new seating area or patio into the space, alongside any planting areas or grassy lawns you want to keep.

Most general landscaping materials are unlikely to attract the attentions of thieves anyway, and many home insurance policies include several hundred pounds' worth of cover for outdoor possessions as standard.

Project ideas

With the sun shining down on Scunthorpe in the past couple of weeks, we've already given plenty of attention to barbecues, and patios as a steady surface on which to build a fixed barbecue, or to stand a portable gas barbecue on.

But there are also plenty of other projects you can carry out in your garden, to give it a fresh look and provide you with some useful outside space to enjoy on a sunny day.

Image courtesy of Joey Crabb

As shown in the picture above, a patio can be entirely enclosed by grass, allowing it to nestle within your lawn without taking up too much space.

Even a small garden can benefit from being given some structure in this way, with a properly edged patio offering you somewhere to put a table and chairs where they will not be unstable, and will not sink into the grass.

This area can be linked to your property by a path, either in matching concrete paving slabs, loose gravel or some other material, making it easy to reach your patio even when the ground is muddy and wet.

As in Joey Crabb's picture, you can run areas of planting alongside your path, making your garden a vibrant, engaging place to walk through, whatever the weather.

Checking your policy

If you're not sure what's covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you can always check directly with your insurer.

Concrete patio slabs, once laid, can be very difficult to steal - and as they are fairly heavy, it is unlikely that a thief will try.

Built-in brick barbecues are also very difficult to steal, while if you link your patio with your garage or shed using gravel or concrete paving slabs, it should be much easier to put portable barbecues away than if you had to drag them over muddy grass.

Ultimately, it is your garden, and your choice what you do with it - but a garden with different areas of lawn, planting and hard-standings can serve many more purposes than one that is just a patch of uneven grass.