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Completely London

London property market blog


/ by Ben West

New builds with space to grow

Developers are increasingly making gardens and outside space a priority when planning new builds.

What we want

Outside space is high on property buyers’ minds. A 2011 report by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The Case for Space: the Size of England’s New Homes, found that the three main things people look for when moving are room size (42%), proximity to local services (42%) and, top of the list, outside space (49%).

Creative and sustainable

Well-designed gardens, landscapes and communal space transform a good development into a great one. Creative outdoor space injects a home with life and identity and, coupled with sustainable design, can greatly improve the ecological impact of the property as a whole.

An essential component

The organisers of the New Homes Garden Awards have ‘seen the quality, innovation and sustainability in outdoor space transformed from an afterthought considered relatively unimportant by most housebuilders to an essential component of any worthy and desirable new property or development’.

Landscape features

Increasingly, architects are focusing on features such as garden squares, living walls, green roofs, sky gardens, communal allotments and glass-walled winter gardens that can be used for growing produce and year-round living. Housebuilder Henley Homes has taken great care over the exterior spaces of its development, Baylis Old School in Lambeth SE11. Housed within a Grade II listed former school, the development comprises 89 one to four bedroom homes.

A sense of wellbeing

Designed by Conran and Partners, extensive themed landscaping provides private courtyards, urban oases and generous external space. ‘With access to outside space top of many of our buyers’ wish lists, we endeavour to ensure all our homes have either a private balcony or access to sociable communal grounds or raised terraces and sky gardens,’ says Tariq Usmani, CEO of Henley Homes. ‘Having a garden or access to well-maintained communal gardens generates a sense of wellbeing, giving individuals the opportunity to relax in the open air. Baylis Old School, for example, is a calm oasis in the heart of London, with water features and communal seating areas.’

Space to relax  

Hill is another housebuilder putting landscaping and garden design high on the agenda. The architects of its Park View development in Sidcup, South London have taken great care over the outside space. ‘Park View is surrounded by nature reserves and parks so we wanted the development to reflect these exceptional surroundings,’ says Nick Parkinson, design director at Hill. ‘We designed the homes around mature tree-lined avenues and communal open spaces, ensuring each home has a private garden, terrace or balcony. Outdoor space is a place of refuge after a long day at the office or at weekends.’

With these benefits, the trend for gardens and outdoor space isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.

Contact Land and New Homes on 020 3486 2250 or




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Ben West
Ben West Freelance journalist
Ben West is a freelance property journalist who has written several books on property, has had property columns in the Financial Times and Daily Express, and has written on property and many other subjects for publications including The Times, Guardian, Telegraph and Independent.

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