As mentioned a couple of months ago in Green Fingers, my love of gardening has come out of nowhere. My idea of a nice garden before moving here involved decking, shale and a pot with a plant in. That one plant would die. The end. I had no patience for things that actually needed watering, feeding and “protecting from strong, cold winds”.
Then we moved here. And the garden, although not huge had so much potential. I didn’t really know what to do with it the first year we were here and we had so many other jobs that needed sorting internally, the outside was left to my MIL to be, who was assigned the task of “garden manager”. She took bits out, planted some new stuff and slowly I started to see the woods for the trees so to speak.
Potted Hosta and Aubrieta growing in the left bed
Roll on two years later and i’m bloody obsessed with gardening. I can’t get enough of being in there, making things look as beautiful as they can be. I think having a toddler who likes to run around outside, practice on his balance bike and make a mess in the soil, made this space a more much important and valuable space to me and the family. My cat, Chooch is also super happy here. Her cat kennel above is a proper little quiet space she can run to if she wants to be left alone by my son.
We unfortunately had to build a timber garage in the garden which took up a large area of patio. This was a short term solution while we save up for a pretty big extension. I was a bit gutted we had to have this big piece of garage eating up so much space so I decided it needed painting a slightly more attractive colour than ginger wood stain. Bleugh. We opted for Cuprinol Garden Shades in Muted Stone. Later on I added the trim in Rich Berry. It looks very “vintage classic” and works great when looking out from the kitchen as the colour complements our worktop. Bingo.
See that trough planter? We made that. I wanted to add a small bed down the side of the garage and I began buying, painting and planting small pots. About 4 pots in, I thought… hang on a minute, this is going to cost me a bloomin fortune. I needed about 15 pots to cover the 3.5 m length of patio that lay grey and bare. So I said to my OH, have we got any wood? Can you knock me up a trough planter? “What’s a trough planter?”
Well a few hours later we had one and then he knew what it was. We had a few lengths of wood left from the timber garage. It was meant to be a door, but never got used. So a door became a trough planter and I bloody love it. Painted in Cuprinol Wild Thyme to match in with the garden bench and planted with white, pink and purple perennials, annuals and herbaceous plants (don’t I sound like a proper gardening geek with all those fancy words?)
From left to right – Nemesia, Herbacious Mix, Pink Geranium, Campanula
Looks reet doesn’t it?
The patio area which leads out from the dining room patio door still needs sorting. I’m not a fan of all that concrete grey vibe and ideally I would prefer decking. Decking makes the outdoor space look softer and is a nicer link between indoors and outdoors me thinks. So to add some colour, I painted an Ikea Applaro Garden Table in Cuprinol Rich Berry along with some cheap terracotta pots. I’m always a bit confused why garden furniture is such a boring colour. Looks so much cooler now it’s red and adds a little pop against our stone wall. Oh and my obsession with clocks continued outdoors too. I love the little detail on the wall.
The Ikea Socker planter hanging on the side of our log store come toy store adds a little flash of green against all that red.
A pot I found in the loft and painted with Annie Sloan Mustard and sealed with clear sealer so it’s all good for outside.
A potted Lavender and some Bacopa Bluetopia.
The patio was a little dull compared to the bottom of the garden where all the plants and colour are, but with a bit of paint, some potted plants and accessories, it’s starting to look much more welcoming. The burgundy throw was from Ikea and is currently used for about a million things: Picnics, a sleepy blanket, my chilly blanket and my son’s Elsa dress. Excellent value.
A bit of Rich Berry on the trellis and some cool cage outdoor lights from Sainsburys which I still haven’t seen on as I can’t stay awake long enough for it to actually get dark. But i’m sure they look lovely… We had new fence panels put in this spring as our old ones were falling apart. They were from Jacksons Fencing and are guaranteed for 25 years, so these should last us until I get my pension. They’re great quality, don’t rattle about in the wind and look pretty posh for a simple featherboard fence panel.
And more painted trellis with a nice Clematis climbing up the corner of the garden.
So, top tips for sprucing up your outdoor space:
- Add some colour through painted pots, accessories or furniture
- Add plants and greenery along long areas of wall and concrete
- Outdoor lighting can look great in daylight as well as in the dark. There are loads of cool pieces around at the moment so add some colour to your borders, hang solar lights from tree branches or on wall brackets for hanging baskets.
- Get as much colour as you can from your beds. I’ve worked with pinks, whites and purples which means the garden looks united as your eye moves across the space.
- Get to know your garden centre and ask as many questions as you need to. I have honestly asked the most stupid questions. But i’m learning as I go. You just have to get started and learn along the way.
Top plants for novice gardeners (what I started with):
- Lavender – Hardy as hell. Looks cool. Grows quickly. Smells great.
- Dianthus – (Carnations). Flowers from spring through to autumn. Don’t need much help from me and the flowers keep coming and coming. Just cut the dead flowers off to let the knew ones grow (deadheading).
- Aubrieta – Evergreen. Just leave them and let them do their thing. Good for ground coverage and have lovely small bright purple flowers from spring through to autumn.
- Hebe – I call these the boing-y plants. Evergreen and flower through summer. No help required. Just cut them back if they get a bit big for their boots.
- Choisya – Green glossy leaves. Grows super fast. Has small white flowers through summer. I don’t think i’ve touched this one since it was planted about 18 months ago and it’s all good. Good for providing a border.
We’re still a long way away from having the garden of my dreams, but for now i’m well chuffed that I have a space that’s welcoming, colourful, has space to sit and eat and space to run around.
I hope that’s been helpful for anyone who’d be up for sorting their garden but doesn’t have a clue where to start. And fellow gardeners…. do you have any top tips for sprucing up your garden? I’d love to hear them as i’m still learning so much. Gardens are da bomb!