Project Garden: the beginning

Project Garden: the beginning

Mr S bought his house in February 2015. Save from a lone summer barbecue, the square of grass out the back lay virtually unused for over a year. One ill-fated attempt to spruce up the area left me pulling up weeds alone with nothing but a broken trowel for company. Boredom, hayfever and an aversion to sunshine drove Mr S into the shady confines of his mancave.

Moving in last winter gave me unprecedented access to the house and I quickly claimed the outside space as my own. Planting my flag firmly in the patchy lawn of course piqued Mr S’s interest. We have therefore embarked on a project to transform the space.

The first step was to take a look at what we’ve got. There was a moss ridden, waterlogged lawn, a square patio, a couple of areas of stone chips and a rather sad-looking plastic excuse for a shed. The fences had, at some point in the distance past, been treated to a coat of grim brown paint and were slowly being overtaken by neighbourly foliage. It was essentially a dull, characterless space with no purpose and unsuited to any sort of social event. (We did host one barbecue last summer where we perched borrowed garden chairs and an Ikea coffee table among the weeds.)

Original Garden
‘Before’ garden design.

Top priorities for project garden:

  •  Add colour through planting and accessories
  •  Add height and structure
  •  Furniture and lighting
  •  New shed
  •  Keep the lawn
  •  Repaint the fences
  •  Improve lawn quality
  •  Encourage wildlife.
New Garden Plan
‘After’ garden plan.

Back in April we went into this project with a huge amount of misplaced enthusiasm, believing it would take a weekend, maybe two at most, to carry out a complete transformation of the garden. Three months down the line a combination of inclement weather, inexperience and an ignorance of the effort required has taught us otherwise.

(For infor: sketches using’s My Garden design tool.)




These snaps were taken on my last visit to Sidmouth, my late grandparents’ seaside abode, when we lunched at the top of Jacob’s Ladder. I have two very distinct childhood memories of this particular place: 1) my grandmother falling down, spraining her ankle and breaking her arm but not her spirit; 2) the flowers.

The garden ‘rooms’ are filled fabulous, flamboyant creatures made up of beautiful blooms – it was a veritable wonderland for a little girl. Although the sea is hidden from view, you can still taste its saltiness in the air and hear the gulls calling out (a sound that evokes the most glorious of seaside-y feelings when trapped in the landlocked Midlands).

The triumphant bursts of dahlias caught my eye on this last visit. I utterly adore these flowers.

Jacob’s Ladder, Sidmouth