Our garden was a renovation project in itself! It was clear it hadn't been tended to for a very long time. It had become a dumping ground - everything was overgrown and broken. But you could tell it had once been dearly loved by the elderly couple before us. So we got a notepad out and started sketching ideas to make the space work for us without compromising on lawn space...
We divided our garden into three sections:
1. Lower decking: For entertaining straight out of the kitchen. Our garden parasol also offers some cosy privacy in this area.
2. Middle lawn: Sun loungers and rose borders make this area ideal for relaxing with friends in the sunshine (and for the cats to stretch their legs and chase bees on the lavender).
3. Upper summer house: A place to perch and look down on the garden below. Ideal for some shade in spring/summer and a quieter spot for bird feeders (and the occasional squirrel).
Current project: The greenhouse. We're in the middle of installing one next to the summer house (it will be featured as a Before & After post soon, keep an eye out!). We're very lucky to have an allotment three minutes walk away and have been relatively successful so far (runner beans, potatoes and onions in particular) - but would love to try starting our veg from seed. Some also fare better in greenhouses so it will be fun to see what works this year. (Keep an eye on my Instagram this spring/summer for behind-the-scenes progress.)
GARDEN makeover in pictures:
- When you move in, don't dig any plants up. Watch your garden for a year and see what appears. What might look like a weed, might suddenly bloom with white flowers in autumn. Observe, then plan.
- Tailor your garden areas to fit your lifestyle. We entertain a lot so a decking dining and BBQ area directly outside the kitchen was a priority. Saying that, ensure you keep as much lawn space as possible as it's what many new buyers look for. (Too many areas can make a garden look smaller than it is.) Utilise space at the back of your garden (particularly long ones like ours) by adding seating areas or something useful e.g. greenhouse, summer house, washing line, swing, hot tub(!).
- Get the professionals in for the important stuff (structural, removal, smart finishes).
- We opted for ribbed decking as it's less slippery in the rain than plain planks.
- If you have decking, invest in a pressure washer (we borrowed Papa B's). It's important to maintain the condition of your decking so try and have a blast once a year. Dirt and algae can look messy and cause slippages! If you're feeling heroic, take the extra time to apply some decking oil after pressure washing to keep the wood long-lasting.
- If you think you might want to take special plants to your next home, plant them in pots rather than the ground. We were given two beautiful roses on our wedding day and planted them into pots in case we ever move.
- Summer houses can be costly. We bought a basic version online and upcycled it with paint. Adding a clock on the front is also helpful for when you're gardening watch & phone-free.
- While it's smart to shop around for quotes, go for the pros you feel most confident in. We used the team who worked on our loft conversion - they were reliable, professional and gave us a competitive quote.
- Opt for plants that flower at different times or are evergreen to avoid a bare garden in autumn/winter.
- Add spotlights to your decking if you can as it looks amazing at night, especially if you entertain a lot. If you can, add them to steps for safety.
For my favourite garden looks at the moment, check out my Garden board on Pinterest.