My big garden makeover (Part 1)


This is going to be a series of short posts for you can track the progress of my garden makeover as it happens or thereabouts.  I hope you enjoy them.

I’ve decided that after 4 years in the flat it is time to take control and give the garden a major re-vamp now we kinda understand where the sun shines and the wind blows. Over these few years I’ve managed to collect a few plants but even those that have grown fail to get the garden working for us. The garden is currently divided fairly equally between a large rockery with lots of huge rocks but with only a shallow soil covering between, and a paved area.  This means, there is what seems like a vast area of grey paving right outside the French doors.

I have a plan in mind and a budget (not a big one) and most of the budget has already been blown ……… on a greenhouse!  Needless to say we will be recycling materials all the way including plants (of course) and paving.  I do plan to spend some money on some gravel/pebbles and more plants and if there is anything left a bit of garden furniture.

You can see a few pictures of what my garden looked like around this time last year  if you visit this previous blog post , although the weather had been very much kinder. In the summer the garden looks OK as I can add flowers and colour with annuals and pots but in the winter, which here in Buxton last at least 6 months the garden looks baron and grey.  My intention is to use more evergreen planting with contrasting foliage and colours to add the interest all year round, and to bring the plants closer to the living room.

This is a picture of the rockery part of the garden from last May May garden

And this is the view from our living room through the French doors.

garden makeover (2)

So you can get your bearings, below is an aerial view of the garden taken by our ever obliging neighbour on the 3rd floor

garden makerover

The monster rockery is to the left, and as you can see at this time of year it doesn’t look as good as when everything has started to bloom. The bottom edge of the photo is where the French doors from the living room are and on the right-hand-side we have already taken up a few paving slabs and stated to create a new planting boarder closer to the house.  The wooden frame at the end of the garden maps out the shape of the new greenhouse and roughly where it is going to sit (we have already changed our minds).

Always good to have a plan – mine is mostly in my head. I have a made a rough sketch but  I am no artist.  There has already been a lot of boulder moving, soil shifting and digging by Mr Husband and his faithful helper – that’s me. As we are doing all the work ourselves in the evenings and on weekends it’s going to take a bit of time. However we have a deadline of the 4th June when the greenhouse arrives.  I will reveal which greenhouse I’ve bought soon, I think you will like it.

Next time I’ll show you how the boarders are coming along.


My first time visit to the Ideal Home Show 2017

Just thought I would write something small about my recent visit to the Ideal Home Show 2017, Olympia London, as this was the first time I’d ever been to an interiors event.  It’s only now I’ve started blogging I feel the need to attend these things, and this seemed like a toe in the water dip event where I could just mooch about.  It also gave me an excuse to go down to London for the weekend (great beer and curry at the Warwick Arms), although it was a busy few days of mainly sitting on the train.

Anyway back to the point, what did I think of the Show?  Well they have obviously done this before 🙄, minimal queuing and plenty to see, eat and drink. There was a big food event going on at the same time, which the ticket also gave access to, so if you’re a foodie too there’s even more to look at, the aromas were heavenly.

The Show itself was a bit like going around a very big department store, with unlimited spending opportunities, including furniture and gadgets.  There were numerous celebrities on small stages around the venue giving their take on various aspects of food and design plus providing demonstrations, these were a welcome opportunity to have a sit down.

So was it worth it?  It was a good day out, and as my advance ticket was only £15 not expensive for an all day event.  It was also the first time I’d been to Olympia, which is an impressive building flooded with natural light. So worth a visit if you’ve not been before especially if you don’t have far to travel or have just moved into a new place and looking for interior ideas, as it’s all in one place.

I will be exploring other events and of course sharing them with you. Next weekend I’m off to the Cheltenham Wine Festival for a family meet up – not entirely clear what design inspiration I will get but I’m sure I’ll find something amongst the bottles.

In the meantime here are some of my pics from the Show.

This garden pod  from Ornate Garden was one of my favourite things at the show, I could see this sitting very neatly in my garden (if I could afford it – maybe Mr husband could build one?). You can see more about my thoughts on garden furniture on a previous blog
pod 2

I liked the lighting from this exhibitor Culinary Concepts London, a refined industrial look


IMG_20170325_104033 (2)

And there were a number of well laid out simple garden design ideas.

As I said the venue is a great space and worth a look in itself

So if you’ve got some spare time the Show runs until April 9th 😍

A plea to leave your garden furniture outside

I was talking to my parents the other day about how they were getting on in their new home. They are in their late seventies and early eighties, I won’t say who the older is as my mum would never forgive me – oops given that one away sorry mum 😁.  Anyway the person they had bought the house from left a garden table and chairs in the garage. A standard hardwood set you can buy in most DIY stores (it’s a bit like the one in the picture below), and it looked as though it had hardly been used, I wonder why 🤔, please read on.

outside tables & chairs (2)

Great I thought garden furniture, as one of the things I found annoying when visiting the parents for the weekend was the complete lack of garden seating.  So if the sun was out there was nowhere to escape for a cuppa and a bit of vitamin D boost for the bones.  But as the conversation developed it turned out not to be so great as it appears they are planning to keep this OUTSIDE furniture INSIDE the garage and just get it out if they have a BBQ. WHY???

As you may know from a previous blog I like being outside, especially sitting in the warm. My ideal day is where it is warm enough to sit in the shade, bliss – I don’t like trying to get a tan, the object of the exercise for me is just warming the bones and listening to the birds. Bearing in mind I live in the UK (Buxton) we’re not able to take for granted the sun make an appearance, things are very changeable.  So I see it as my duty to be prepared and have a seating opportunity in every part of the garden where the sun is likely to shine.  I grab a cushion from the living room on the way out and brush the rain water from the seat, and I’m enjoy the sun in an instant. This just cannot be done if you have to think of getting garden furniture out of the shed, assemble it and position it, as by the time you’re done the tea has gone cold and the sun has disappeared. Ten sunny minutes wasted fumbling about in the shed.

I’ve found some of the best evenings have started with an impromptu gathering of friends or family in the garden, you just pop out for the last 5 minutes before the sun goes down and before you know it wine and snacks have been consumed and blankets and stars have appeared. Who needs an invitation to a BBQ.

So a plea to my dear Dad: wood looks far better for a bit of weathering, so please leave the garden furniture outside for the summer, you will enjoy it much more I promise ❤️❤️

In case you are looking for new garden furniture, I saw this utterly clever garden pod at my recent trip to the Ideal Home Show 2017 from Ornate Garden, so check out their website if you like the look, is around £7-8000 (wow) but they were doing some show discounts so get yourself down to Olympia, it could avoid you having to build that conservatory.  I really need one in my garden to protect me from the wind.

Here are a few more affordable traditional garden sets I like that will withstand the elements and have the minimal cushions to store on a rainy day.  Outside is definitely better than inside, don’t you agree??

2 seat garden furniture (2)

A Bistro Table is ideal for an early morning coffee or early evening cocktail best positioned in the spot that gets the first or last sun of the day. Saw this online at Jacks Garden Store

rustic garden furniture (2)

A bit of rustic charm and you can see how the wood only improves with weathering. Great for a little lunch with friends. Saw this online at Garden Furniture Land

stylist garden furniture (2)

You would be dining in style and the minimal cushions can easily be stored indoors ready for action. This is from John Lewis

Wouldn’t in be fab to be able to afford (I can’t) and have room in the garden (I don’t) for all these seating options 😊.  But I hope it’s given you some ideas for enjoying summer.