When the owners first moved in to this modern detached house in Bristol the uninspiring garden had no plants or flowers. It was surrounded by red brick walls and a large brick outhouse that dominated the space.
‘It’s safe to say the garden was a bit of an eyesore. So after tackling the inside of the house I turned my attention to the outside,’ says the homeowner.
‘The first step was to get rid of all the red brick wall surrounding the garden, which was pretty unattractive. We painted the brickwork white, which took two weeks as there was a lot of brick to paint!'
'When it came to the back wall of the house I wasn’t sure what to do, as it’s a three-storey house, which would have taken a lot of work. So instead, we installed an awning and painted up to that – problem solved!’
Create a chill-out zone
This area is the part of the garden that gets the most sun, so it made sense for the homeowners to create a chill-out area – featuring an outdoor corner sofa and fire pit. After adding some window boxes and decorative screens onto the wall it was a much nicer backdrop to sit the sofa against.
‘Sitting outside on the sofa seating area is so cosy, especially with the awning out; the festoon lights on and the fire pit going. It’s the perfect entertaining space.' Revealing how to make an outdoor cinema with ease the owners says, 'We often hang a sheet in front of the fireplace and watch movies out here.’
Disguise a problem area
Working out how to zone the garden and hide the ugly garage was the next problem to tackle. ‘We knew we wanted a playhouse for the kids. So we laid decking to give it a bit of height and chose a summer house idea that blocks the garage out. It has plenty of room for the children to play in and has windows in it to keep it nice and light.’
Set up an outdoor living room
The home owner wanted the patio to have an indoor-outdoor feel, so added another outdoor sofa, chair and coffee table as an outdoor living room idea. Styled with outdoor rugs to add more colour and keep it soft underfoot.
A statement hanging chair, a few painted flamingos and some hanging plants complete the look. Creating a light, bright garden that feels so much bigger than it did originally.
Get clever with upcycling
‘To continue the indoor-outdoor feel, I went for some items that you might not necessarily think of putting in a garden,’ adds the homeowner. ‘I found the fireplace on Gumtree, painted it the same colour as the summer house and it creates a neat little shelf. Then above the fireplace I added a trio of mirrors – they were budget-friendly plastic designs that I painted myself.’ All great upcycling ideas for the garden.
Work in a Miami-inspired colour palette
‘My style is a bit of a mix and I wanted the garden to reflect that – with elements of the Hamptons and Miami – so the colour scheme and accessories were all bought with that in mind.’
Go for a low-maintenance lawn
The garden shed was painted a light green colour - Fresh Rosemary by Cuprinol – with the interior painted white so it feels light and bright inside. An area of artificial grass provides a low-maintenance lawn, also giving the homeowner’s children somewhere to play.
Choose easy-care planting
‘I was realistic about how much time I’d want to spend tending to plants,’ says the homeowner. ‘We knew we wanted it fairly low-maintenance. We chose grasses, lavender and geraniums for the base of our scheme as we’re not huge gardeners and these are easy to keep alive! We used sleepers to build a border for them, which we painted dark grey and made a wooden trough from our old back gate, painted dark grey to match the sleepers.’
Add outdoor wall art
Decorative screens are ideal for walls or disguising areas of a garden that are less than lovely. Screens are also ideal for easy climbing plant ideas to elevate planting.These ones from Screen With Envy, are painted taupe to contrast with the white brickwork.
Work in colour with window boxes
Windows have been given a facelift with pretty window boxes filled with blooms, which add some cheery colour and pattern to plain white walls too. The boxes are supported by simple metal brackets attached to the wall.
Liven up empty corners
‘I’ve painted an old wooden barrel and plant pots to fit in with the colour scheme and they bring a bit of interest to corners of the garden.’
Show off treasures
‘Lastly, we created a little area by a row of conifer trees to display pebbles and seashells from our travels.’
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Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.
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