Garden Makeover : The Plan

Outdoor living space featuring seating, rug, cushions and a bar cart

Image c/o Dash & Albert
(my garden looks nothing like this and I don’t have a pool sadly!)

Following on from my Garden Makeover Inspiration post, I wanted to tell you all a little bit more about my garden and our own garden makeover plans. We are really lucky to have a south facing garden which gets the sunlight for most of the day. In summer, by about 7.30am half the garden is already bathed in sun and it doesn’t take long for the shade to dissipate and for the entire garden to be filled with sunlight. And this lasts until about 9pm roughly before the sun goes down behind the valley at the end of our garden.

The garden is a nice size to work with, but we have a lot of work to do to transform it into a beautiful space for outdoor living. All of the gardens on our street are separated by a waist high wire fence so we have absolutely no privacy whatsoever. It’s not as bad as it sounds as the neighbours are really lovely and we often sit outside and chat. But I really would like create a more solid boundary around the space in order to create a sense of privacy and also to enable us to create a space that is a bit more personal.

I’m not sure if I want to whack massive great fences up all around though as I think that would make us look really snobby and might not be good for neighbour relations, so I’m currently trying to work out how to tackle that issue. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions please do let me know. Garden design is something I’m completely new to and really struggling with.

Anyway, the boundary issue is one we will probably try to tackle next spring. For the moment we are going to focus on creating a usable outdoor living area that will enable us to really make the most of the garden this summer. The garden is currently a lawn that is quite sloping so we can’t really use outdoor furniture on it at all. We tried last summer and all the plates and glasses kept sliding off the table. It was pretty annoying.

So our first priority is to create a flat area where we can sit and have BBQs. It would cost a fortune to landscape the entire garden so we’ve decided to go for some decking. This will give us an area of 4m x 5m in the centre of the garden. We’ll need ballustrade on at least two sides to stop the two girls falling off the edge or toppling into next door’s garden. We don’t want any accidents thank you! Work on the decking started yesterday..eeek! So exciting. (This is also why I don’t have any before pictures. I forgot to take them before we started work…idiot!)

I’ve decided to go for a nautical theme for our garden makeover, as I live beside the sea and I think that nautical decor really is chic and timeless and won’t ever go out of style. Plus dark blue is my very favourite colour. I’ve had a really hard time trying to decide what to buy though. I’ve got inspiration coming out of my ears but I’m really conscious that I need to create a space that doesn’t just look stunning, but that actually works for our family. I’d love to have candles and loads of potted plants and lovely lanterns all over the place and have a fire pit as the focal point but with a three year old and an 18 month old running around this is hardly practical.

I’m constantly reminding myself not to waste money on things we can’t use. I’m really trying to reign it in. I’m also trying to repurpose things that we already own from inside our home. Living in the UK means we only really get about three maybe four months a year when we can sit out in the sun, so I’m trying not to buy too much outdoor stuff as I’ll simply have to find somewhere to store it for the other eight to nine months of the year. Also with our weather being so changeable here, I’m not planning to leave everything outside all summer. I’ll simply take it outside when we plan to be in the garden. It will definitely be more of a hassle, but one windy evening and we’d lose half our stuff, so it’s definitely worth it.

Plans for a garden makeover with a nautical theme

Above you can see a moodboard that I have quickly put together so you can see what I have in mind for our garden makeover. I have real trouble visualising a space and I find I can only put one together once I’ve made a moodboard, otherwise I have no idea if it is going to work. Thankfully, after I created this one I had a much better idea of the end result and I must say I feel a bit relieved. I just can’t wait to get started now.

*Some of the links that follow are affiliate links which will be marked with an asterisk*

I have got a gorgeous outdoor rug though that I’ve been sent from Dash and Albert. They have the most amazing selection of outdoor rugs and cushions. They are not the cheapest but the quality is absolutely amazing. We’ll be using our denim/ivory herringbone rug to cover a large proportion of the decking. I wanted to create a nice feeling underfoot and somewhere slightly softer for the girls to sit and play. I also think that rugs help to anchor a room so hopefully it will have the same impact outside.

I also already have a 3-seater teak garden bench to work with and a Palma Cube casual dining set from Kettler. I want to work with what we have already and actually the bench and the dining cube are more than adequate for our little family. So we decided to buy two extra chairs for when guests come round and we opted for folding ones from the *Denia range at B&Q*. It ‘s important that they fold so that they can be easily stored away when not in use and take up as little space as possible. We also bought a new charcoal *BBQ from B&Q*.

I almost bought a wooden cushion storage box from the Denia range at B&Q as well as I was intending it to double up as a coffee table. However, the more I thought about it the more I thought it was a bit extravagant and would be a pain to store. So in the end I decided we don’t need a coffee table. Instead I am going to use some Knagglig wooden crates from IKEA as side tables. I figure I can use them up-ended to put drinks and snacks on, then afterwards I can use them to store bits and bobs in, in the shed. They will also be helpful if we need to bring stuff down to the garden from the flat (we’re on the first floor with no immediate access to the garden).

We recently bought a lovely 3m x 3m gazebo from Lidl of all places. It’s brilliant and will hopefully help shade the girls from the hot midday sun. It will also help to give us a little bit of privacy that we lack as it has two side panels that can be moved around. (UPDATE: This broke the first time we put it up. I couldn’t find the receipt so we couldn’t return it. AT £70 that was quite annoying).

I’ve also bought some nice cosy throws from IKEA to keep us warm into the early evening and a couple of sheepskin rugs to go on the chairs. I’m also hoping to get a load of outdoor cushions from *Maisons du Monde*. I’ve found some lovely coastal cushions that will really help to finish off the seaside theme.

I haven’t quite decided what to do about lighting yet. I quite fancy getting some *festoon lights* to drape around, but I worry this will be a total waste of money. The girls go to bed at about 7.30pm and we don’t really ever spend time in the garden after they have gone to bed. I’d have to leave them up in the flat alone and even with a baby monitor on, it makes me feel uneasy. So it feels a bit silly to buy lights when I know we won’t use them, especially as we get the sun until about 9pm as I said. I do love how they look, but I’m not yet convinced it’s worth the investment.

So that’s the plan. I’ll keep you posted as we get our garden makeover underway! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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  • Got some ideas after reading your article. we have been thinking of doing something with our garden as its just so plain and boring at the moment

  • Nice plan and a great idea of using a deck. You can have a mobile fence all over the deck. If you want some privacy just set up the fence and enjoy!

  • we’re thinking of doing something with our garden as its just so plain and boring at the moment – so i look forward to seeing how your garden makeover evolves. x

  • For privacy, I’d try planting small topiary trees or bushes. A bit of a mid-long term solution.

    And I think you’re very lucky if you can sit outside 3-4 months a year!

    • That sounds lovely Juan, thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely look into topiary trees!
      When I say we can sit outside for 3-4 months a year, I mean there are only 3-4 months a year where there is any remote possibility that the weather may be nice enough to sit outside and it isn’t raining. In general, we only get a handful of weeks with beautiful weather each summer.

    • Oooh exciting times! Actually I find it all very stressful. Since the work on the decking started I’ve had sleepless nights. I just can’t visualise how things will look in the end so seeing the development just stresses me out.