Garden Makeover – Landscaping, planting and creating zones
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that we’ve spent the last three months working on our garden makeover. I thought it was time to write the first of my Garden Makeover posts. In this one I share the landscaping work we undertook, planting and some of the key pieces we introduced to the space to create various zones within the garden.
Key Features of the design scheme
- Creating a walled courtyard garden with both patio and loose gravel areas.
- Using sustainable and natural materials where possible, including vintage pieces and reclaimed items.
- An overhead pergola stretching from the garden building to the main house, creating the perfect evening space for convivial entertainment under atmospheric festoon lighting.
- A comfortable outdoor sofa area as well as a dining table and chairs will allow for both dining and relaxing.
- Introduction of an outdoor oven and prep area would provide the perfect outdoor kitchen space and also provide patio heating.
- Using existing plants and shrubs, planting some in the ground and others in a selection of containers including vintage dolly tubs and stone troughs.
- Reclaimed arched window mirror to be added to garden building wall to increase the sense of space.
- Garden lighting used to create mood and highlight areas of the garden.
We used a local company to undertake the landscaping for us. The first job was to lift the existing lawn and the slabs from the existing raised patio. Once this was done they were able to prep the patio area, we chose a grey mix Indian sandstone paving, which we felt complemented the existing dry stone walls. The sandstone was laid the full length of the back of the house. The remainder of the area had membrane laid with gravel put on top, hopefully this will stop any weeds coming through for a good few years.
Here’s what the garden looked like once the grass and the existing paving and lawn had been lifted:
Once the membrane went down it wasn’t long before the gravel was down too. It looked like such a huge bare space without any planting, which worried me at first, but looked so much better once we planted the area, added pots and began to introduce other decorative items. We chose mixed size paving as it gives a less formal look, more suited to our space. This seemed to go down in no time at all and looks absolutely fabulous, I really couldn’t be happier with it.
Planting – Reusing what we could and choosing varieties that look great all year round
It was really important to us to try and reuse all the existing plants and shrubs, to this end we potted up all of the plants that were in the ground into pots and put them on the front garden whilst the landscaping was completed. The only exception being a conifer tree in the corner, we did consider taking this down however we thought we would give it a chance because it would be nice to have something established in the garden.
All of the plants with the exception of a eucalyptus survived and were either potted into planters or put back into the ground. As well as reusing what we all already had we visited a fabulous local nursery and bought a selection of plants. It was really important to us that most of the plants we purchased were evergreen so that we could enjoy them throughout the year. We chose Bay, Buxus, Ivy, Ferns, grasses, Photina and Eucalyptus. We’ve used an eclectic selection of planters in various shapes and sizes, some are vintage such as a long tin bath and dolly tubs, others are more modern.
As well as re introducing the existing plants I’ve added a selection of hydrangeas in pots too, these will add wonderful colour in summer and beyond and whilst they don’t flower in winter will return year after year.
Shop the look:
Ribbed Vintage Style Faux Lead Barrel planter Get Potted
Creating zones within the garden
The main purpose of the garden makeover was to provide an outdoor space that we could enjoy year round. We wanted to create the perfect entertaining space for summer and beyond. Our plan was to create a series of outdoor spaces, one for relaxing, another for dining and one for cooking, for which we needed to source comfortable seating, a dining table as well as creating an outdoor kitchen.
I came across a secondhand oak dining table on a local selling site for £40, I had this delivered and got to work sanding it down and staining the legs black, the top was given a coat of wood treatment to retain the natural oak whilst protecting it from the elements. We already had a couple of cane chairs that were perfect but wanted to add additional seating, I found a La Redoute oak and metal bench which was perfect, La Redoute often have sales, so I held on until it went on sale and then ordered it. They look great together and I must admit I’m tempted to order another one.
Most of you will know that garden furniture has been in short supply in the UK for the past few months, we did manage to find a corner sofa and coffee table online that were perfect, whilst the delivery was hugely delayed we are happy with it overall, it’s comfortable and having a coffee table in the lounging area is great too. The set came with a set of weather resistant grey covers which I have teamed with a selection of pretty cushions to make it lock a little more special.
Shop the look:
Parasol TK Maxx
Cushion covers H&M
Hiba bench La Redoute
Deco handle wooden trays West Elm
I’ve recently worked with Beija Flor, who make the most fabulous vinyl rugs. I’ve used them in my home before, they come in lots of designs including tile and wood, but it was one of their recently launched designs the Persian Dark Bordeaux that really caught my eye with it’s classic feel. As I’ve created a feel of the inside out in the garden I thought a Beija Flor rug would be perfect to use on the patio, their Persian design was perfect for under our dining table. The design is taken from an original and digitally reproduced onto the rug. The deep colours and beautiful design are just gorgeous. Beija Flor have launched a new size of rug, 180cm x 260cm, perfect for lots of areas, like under the dining table, desk or kitchen.
Outdoor kitchen area
Morsø , a Danish brand established over 250 years ago launched a wonderful range of outdoor ovens in 2012. I’ve been delighted to work with Morsø, collaborating on our garden makeover, Morsø asked me to choose something from their range, I picked the Morsø Forno oven which we have used so much since it arrived last month. As part of my work with them I will be creating content to share on my social media platforms. The Morsø Forno is perfect for cooking pizzas and roasting meats as well and smoking fish. It’s sleek black design resembles a sculpture and enhances the garden. The Morsø can also serve as a patio heater, great for when your guests have enjoyed their pizzas and the sun has gone down. Using the black of the cast iron stove as a starting point I decided to use black as an accent throughout the garden, in particular on the legs of my upcycled garden table, on the wood we’ve used for the pergola as well as incorporating some black planters and of course plenty of festoon lights.
There are a number of Morsø dealers in the UK, you can find your nearest stockist here.
Such an important decision when planning a garden, lighting really can elevate a garden space and add tons of atmosphere during the evening. As well as adding tons of overhead festoon lighting we’ve also incorporated some pretty solar lanterns from Fairy Dusk Lights, these give off a lovely soft glow and look pretty in the day time too. I particularly like these as the solar sensor is on the top of the lantern rather than on a separate unit attached to the lantern by a wire, so there’s no need to worry about where to place the sensor, just hang the lantern and you’re good to go!
A pair of solar dandelion lights also from Fairy Dusk Lights have been a lovely addition to a shaded area under a large tree which is home to some ferns, these look beautiful in the evening, giving off a lovely warm light in the shape of dandelion clocks. I love the below image, from the Fairy Dusk website where the Dandelion Lights have been used to highlight the specimen silver birch trees, such a clever idea.
A fabulous pair of chic outdoor lanterns allow us to light up the dining table, coffee table, or indeed anywhere else in the garden when the sun goes down. The Scandi Outdoor Lanterns turn on by simply touching the top of the lantern, also allowing you to adjust the brightness of the light. Just as atmospheric as candlelight, casting a lovely glow, but without the worry of the candles blowing out.
Shop the look:
Scandi lanterns in Anthracite Fairy Dusk Lights
Thanks for stopping by, I can’t wait to share more of our garden glow up journey with you.
If you liked this post or have any questions please do leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.