Tuesday, 12 April 2016


You might have read in my previous post about our garden landscaping plans. 7 weeks ago our contractors started working on the garden and the driveway and now I'm happy to say that we are finished! It might seem like a long time but when you take into account what's involved (builders, electricians etc) it will easily take 7 weeks. It has not been all plain sailing but I am very happy with the way it's turned out which is the main thing. Here's a sneak peek of what we've done!

The new decking is something that I have wanted for a long time. When we built our extension last year, I had this vision that we would have a lovely timber decking outside it leading into our leafy garden. Contemporary looking block paving is very popular for garden designs at the moment but I really wanted a traditional type of garden. It's very versatile and you can add accessories/furniture to give it a contemporary feel if you want.  I do think contemporary gardens look great too but considering the size and the type of property we have, keeping it simple just seemed to work better. Not to mention block paving isn't exactly the cheapest option out there. I feel that we've got a nice mix of contemporary and traditional going on in this house although it's definitely leaning towards more contemporary these days.

Our new decking is absolutely lush to walk on. I am going slightly insane trying to keep it clean though as my goal is to be able to walk on it barefoot (well without shoes anyway) at all times. This means using a patio brush on it every few days or so which itself is not the biggest job in the world. However, rain and footprints are not a great combination as you will see some nasty marks on the decking. I am mopping it using warm water when this happens. I have no idea how long I have energy to maintain this but I love looking at it when it's clean. We went for pine which is very light so if you don't like cleaning, get a darker material or paint it! In fact, there are few composite decking materials that look stunning and they are definitely worth checking out as the colour options are pretty impressive!

Gardens are these days used for chilling out and dining which means that you should really try to make them as welcoming as the inside of the house. This also means you need to make sure the lighting is well thought out. I personally love the idea of looking at an illuminated garden in the evening (I know it's not everyone's cup of tea)  and thanks to LEDs the running costs are pretty low. Our electrician installed spots onto our decking which will illuminate the garden at night. The decking lighting is timed so they come on automatically at 8 o'clock everynight which is handy. It needs to be pretty dark until you can appreciate the effect but it does look beautiful with some candles and lanterns dotted around. I am planning on adding some fairy lights to our fence to give our garden a real festive feel although I haven't found the perfect ones yet.

By the way, I absolutely adore our railway sleepers. They are nice and chunky and really make the garden look somewhat manageable. We haven't really decided whether we'd paint them or not. I am tempted but for now I love how they blend in with our timber decking.

I have been doing some planting in pots to make the garden and driveway feel more cosy. I am loving structured plants at the moment like buxus and leylandii which have quite an architectural effect. Even though we have roses in our front garden, I don't think I will be planting them in the future. The weeds drive me nuts and they only tend to look good for a relatively short period. I want something that looks good pretty much all the time which is why structured plants seem to be my best bet. There are some artificial plants that look quite good but I just feel funny about fake plants.. Never say never but I think I would prefer a low maintenance plant over a fake one.

I don't know if I will actually ever get good at gardening. I'm not even sure that I really want to. I enjoy the idea of it and the results but after 10 minutes my back starts aching and I have to question whether it's really worth it. We will be getting a gardener to keep our garden in check regularly but won't have anyone in for another month so I ended up doing some weeding myself. It was quite a good workout actually!

Can you believe we have even managed to have the first barbeque of the year? The weather hasn't been great but it is definitely getting warmer which is giving me hope. We have been toasting to our new garden a few times but there is still a lot of work to be done.

I am still in the process of accessorising our new outdoor area. This is definitely the fun part for me although finding the perfect dining set was more difficult that I thought it would be. We decided to go for black rattan to match our old sun loungers but grey and light brown are far more popular now and most garden centres don't stock black rattan anymore. Luckily, I found the perfect set in Alexander Francis and the contrast of light decking and black rattan give our outdoor area quite a dramatic look. I'm a big fan of interior and exterior colour matching. It's important that we have a nice flow in our home and the outside colour scheme should also complement the interiors. My ultimate goal is to make our decking area feel like another room in the house.

At the moment I'm looking for a side table and Moroccan style metal lanterns to fit in with our monochrome theme. If you are looking for some garden inspiration check out Top Garden Trends for 2016 by the Garden Magazine. I am especially loving the trend of two contrasting colours. People are picking bolder colours and painting their fences dark grey or even black. How refreshing! I'll be putting up some before and after pictures soon to show you our entire garden transformation.

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