This post has been a long time coming, but we are finally getting to a place in the garden where I feel like it is taking shape. Whilst the main garden will take a bit more care and planting over the coming years, I am excited to show you what we have done so far and then maybe next year I can do an update and show how much has changed/grown.
Last year the garden was a building site, so we are very much looking forward to being outdoors this summer, soaking up the sun, relaxing and simply making the most of outdoor living.
Here’s our garden’s story:
Our garden took a bit of a battering when we were focussing all of our attention on the house renovations and needed a fair bit of TLC afterwards. We are lucky it is a really good size and is surrounded by a lot of mature trees and plants, however the neglect (during our tenure) along with taking a VERY large tree right out of the middle that was blocking all of the light really meant it needed some help.
In the end we realised we were going to have to give it a pretty radical make over! We have done it in stages and the patio was the first area to get some attention. We did the bulk of the hardcore work when we built the extension over four years ago (I really don’t know where time has gone) and then ignored the garden until last summer when we started work back up.
When we moved in there wasn’t much of a patio at all – just one slab outside the patio doors and then straight to grass – or as the case may be, mud. The side return patio was too high and above the damp course so we needed to dig that out. There was also the most beautiful old vine that climbed up the old extension of the house that created the a lovely canopy of vines leaves and grapes (never edible unfortunately) in the summer. Sadly, despite trying to save the vine when we knocked the old extension down, it didn’t make it so we were really left with a blank canvas.
We decided to lay a reasonably good sized patio that went across the back of the kitchen and stepping down to the side return. I thought it would be nice to have a curve to balance out the hard square angles of the house and that would also create a triangle type border fill with plants. We also decided a wall would be good as the levels are all different and that curved round too. A lesson we learned during the building of this wall is that curved walls take longer and cost considerably more than straight walls!
There are a number of fig trees in the garden that provide delicious fruit, and two of them are either side of the patio. We curved the wall round the trees making it look like the wall had always been there and that it was all planned!
As part of last summer’s work, we dug out part of the lawn so we could create the flower beds. The landscapers did plant them up but they weren’t quite as I wanted them so this spring we have been adding/editing what’s in there. My vision for the overall garden is for it to be a modern country style garden, and I love perennials such as roses, peonies, foxgloves, hydrangeas and lavender as well as anything that is edible and can be used in cooking – so rosemary and bay too.
We edged the lawn side of the beds with box hedging and started filling the beds with some of my favourites. We have planted lavender closest to the wall so the purple heads will just be peeking over and giving off a lovely scent, with rosemary in the near side corners – perfect for easy picking for the Sunday roast. We have just planted up some other bits so they are still looking pretty small but I am hoping they will grow and spread and look less bare and formal soon. I think it will take a few years to get it to where I really want it – and I am learning as I go!
The other big thing to happen to the patio last year was of course the pizza oven which you can read all about here. This year we managed to invest in some beautiful outdoor seating and it has transformed the side return in to a really cosy and useable area.
I have planted up loads of herbs in old terracotta pots which are perfect being so close to the kitchen and the pizza oven – I have a number of oreganos which are perfect for sprinkling over pizza just before it goes into the oven, and mint for Mojitos of course!
shop the patio
Garden shelving unit – Cox and Cox
Whitewashed rattan tray – The White Company c/o
Coriander and citronella outdoor candle (smells AMAZING) – The White Company c/o
Glass cocktail jug – The White Company c/o
Cube dining table and chairs (similar) – Ebay
Amazing patio heater – Sunwood (our friends very generously gave
us ours and it looks so beautiful lit)
Slatted fencing (behind pizza oven) – Garden Trellis Co.
And I think I love it even more when it starts to get darker. Lighting all the candles, putting on the festival lights and firing up the BBQ or pizza oven makes for a perfect evening in the garden. I snapped a few pictures as the sun started to set one night to show you.
I’d love to know what you think?