As recent research from Barclays reveals that DIY and outdoor gardening has increased by over a third due to lockdown restrictions*, Laura (52) and her landscape gardener husband Matthew May (49) decided to take the plunge and take on a new garden project of their own. The couple purchased at Barratt Homes’ Aylesham Village development in Aylesham, near Canterbury in Kent.
Laura and Matthew were previously living in a three-bedroom terrace in Sandwich, and purchased 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.
Laura comments: “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!”
Matthew has since installed a large Indian sandstone patio area, planting borders, a green house, and will be installing a spacious summer house in the garden. 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 as the weather begins to warm up.
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 started to lift 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: “The relaxing of lockdown restrictions combined with the arrival of spring has meant that buyers have been looking forward to meeting up outdoors. With limitations on indoor contact for friends and loved ones, access to private outdoor space is 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 last 12 months with no signs of stopping in the foreseeable future.”
Laura and Matthew have settled into life at Aylesham Village and are enjoying having access to the surrounding countryside, and 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 is set in Kent, just eight miles outside of Canterbury, and 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. Canterbury is just a short drive away, with a historical culture, and a range of restaurants, cafés, bars and shops. For those looking to enjoy the outdoors, a free Kent Wildlife Trust family membership is offered to all purchasers at Aylesham Village.
Aylesham is well connected by both rail and road. Regular train services offer connections to Canterbury in 12 minutes while London St Pancras can be reached in 1 hour 38 minutes. The A2 and M2 are within easy reach via the B2046, offering access to key locations such as the Folkestone Eurotunnel.
Barratt Kent is currently building a selection of two-bedroom homes at Aylesham Village, with prices starting from £229,995 for a two-bedroom home with a garage.