Property News

Couple know the importance of a good garden in house hunt

Restrictions in response to Covid has increased the desire for outside space

Research from Barclays has revealed that DIY and outdoor gardening has increased by over a third due to lockdown restrictions* and Laura May (52) and her husband Matthew (49) decided to take the plunge and take on a new garden project of their own. The couple bought at Barratt Homes’ Aylesham Village development in Aylesham, near Canterbury.

Laura and Matthew were previously living in a three-bedroom terrace in Sandwich. They bought the last remaining four-bedroom detached property at Aylesham Village, with their new home offering them the chance to be closer to family and have enough room for their adult children to stay. However, the real appeal for the couple was the large lounge and kitchen, both of which have French double doors leading into the spacious walled garden.

“A big garden for us was an absolute must. Matthew is a landscape gardener and he couldn’t wait to get stuck in and create the perfect space for us ahead of the arrival of the warmer weather. A new build garden is a complete blank slate which meant that we had the opportunity to really make the space our own – now we have room to entertain and relax outside!”

Laura May

Summer house planned

Matthew has installed a large Indian sandstone patio area, planting borders, a green house and will be installing a spacious summer house. Having spent six months living with Matthew’s parents prior to moving in, the couple are looking forward to returning the favour and hosting both of their families.

Laura adds: “We are both very family-oriented and we wanted to make sure that there was enough space for our children to have their own rooms when they are able to come and stay. Matthew’s parents moved to Aylesham recently too, and now that restrictions have lifted we’re able to get together more often and the garden is the perfect place to do that.”

Natalie Perry, sales & marketing director for Barratt Kent, comments: “Buyers have been looking forward to meeting up outdoors. With previous limitations on indoor contact for friends and loved ones, access to private outdoor space has been absolutely crucial for many buyers who recognise the real social benefits of having a garden. We’ve seen this change in buyers priorities reflected in the demand for outdoor space, which has absolutely rocket over the past 12 months with no signs of stopping in the foreseeable future.”

Cycling and walks

Laura and Matthew have settled into life at Aylesham Village and are enjoying having access to the surrounding countryside They often go cycling or out on walks. The couple are also looking to support local charity BeChange’s allotment project.

Laura adds: “There is so much green space here! Not only do we have our lovely garden, but the countryside is right on our doorstep, so we’re always out exploring. We were thinking about getting puppy which Matthew can take to work, and a friend lets us borrow their dog for walks which we absolutely love. It’s a great compromise as it means I can keep my brand new carpets free from muddy paw prints!”

Aylesham offers a range of small shops, a café, post office, leisure centre, health centre and supermarket. There are also several churches, a community library and two good primary schools. For those looking to enjoy the outdoors, a free Kent Wildlife Trust family membership is offered to all purchasers at Aylesham Village.

Barratt Kent is building a selection of two-bedroom homes at Aylesham Village, with prices starting from £229,995 for a two-bedroom home with a garage. To find out more prospective buyers should contact 0333 355 8503 or visit


David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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