Sunday, 30 June 2013

The garden

This is a name & shame post but it's my name and the shame is the garden. Our garden is in a shambles, shabby and unloved and it's my responsibility not Andrew's. He has enough to do on the renovation so, apart from hedge cutting, it's down to me. I could toss my hair, put the back of my hand against my forehead and say "but daahlings, all my creative energies have been used up in the house!' but this would be untrue. It's just I've lost my gardening mojo.

We used to have a house with a couple of acres and I loved it. I had huge herbaceous borders, a large (and productive) greenhouse and I could even give you the Latin names for a lot of plants. I would visit gardens & garden centres for inspiration, buy books and magazines and even listen to G.Q.T. But not anymore. We sold that house and lived with Andrew's parents for a year before buying the boat and setting sail, so obviously no garden there. When we came back to the U.K we lived in a townhouse by the sea with a garden about 6 x 4 metres. I did redesign that but it was mostly somewhere to sit, with one flower bed and no grass.

So back to the here and now. The house sits almost in the middle of the plot. The front is mostly a gravel drive, a shrubbery and a flower bed under each bay window.To the left is a lawn, undermined by the rabbit warren on the other side of the hedge giving it some interesting undulations.

The front garden

To the right of the house it's part gravelled and then a fence and gate leading to the back garden. This is the area that we consider as the garden as it has access from the kitchen. It's approximately 10 x 6 metres (about a sixth of the total plot size) but will be extended.

I do have several issues to contend with. Firstly we are not staying here, once finished the house will be up for sale so I can't commit to a long term planting scheme. Secondly it has to be done in phases. We can't do any hard landscaping until work has finished on the orangery. The huge workshop will be knocked down and the land incorporated into the garden (making it L-shaped) but this won't be done until most of the house is finished and we no longer need the storage space.

The attractive corrugated workshop (top left) & assorted eyesores

There are some good points, the garden is mostly south facing and I'm pretty good with pots, these geraniums are now in their third summer. We have some nice garden furniture albeit looking a bit shabby.


One of my boards on Pinterest is for gardens so I thought I'd have a look for inspiration. As I scrolled down I realised that a theme was developing, in fact the board title 'Outside spaces' should have given it away. It wasn't really a garden I wanted but an outside area for eating & entertaining - most of my pins had a table somewhere or at the very least a chair.

A typical shot from my Pinterest board

So I decided that I would treat it as I would a room in the house, do a concept board, measure and plan. First though will be to liven up the furniture we have got and give the whole garden a good tidy and feed, I may even devote some time to the lawn. At the same time I'll start looking for inspiration and draw up some plans but I think this could be a longish project!

So if anyone wants to swap a day's labour (or even a garden design) for a room design, please let me know!


  1. I think that you've largely cracked it. We had the same problem with our once truly dreadful back yard in Laroque,although it's a much smaller space than yours. Once we'd realised that what we wanted was a range of places to sit and relax away from the glare of the sun, which OUGHT to involve moving several times a day, but doesn't this year; some colour but mainly a range of restful greens (but no lawn), with most of the colour coming from pots, it started to come together. You've got a lot of good things there to give you a starting point. But how will you ever move after working so hard on making your home such a treasure?

  2. I could do without the lawn and make a really good seating area but Andrew likes them... And move - no problem as next house is in France :-)

  3. Our garden is a big ol' mess as well. The problem - we have a gorgeous terrace area off to the side of the house where we spend our time outside, so since we never have to use our garden, we ignore it, until I can't take it's jungle vibe any longer and then I send my husband out there with a weedwhacker.

  4. I remember seeing your terrace on the blog - looked gorgeous! At the moment the 'lawn' is being kept at bay by dozens of rabbits, much to Mortimer's amusement. I think he is really a Buddhist as he slows down when he gets near them or swerves off in the other direction! He is affectionately known as the BGB (big girl's blouse)!