Before and after: See how greenery was cut back to create a more useable garden

Lawn and shrubbery were traded for seating, an outdoor kitchen, a summerhouse and even a hot tub

garden with grass lawn green plants and purple flowers
(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

After extending and renovating their home, which took around nine months, the owners of this five-bed Fifties house in Middlesex decided to take a break 
for a couple of years before turning their attention to the garden. ‘We are both complete garden novices, so we really needed to think about what we wanted and do lots of research,’ they say.

See all our our garden ideas and make grand plans for your outdoor space

The garden was a good size, stocked with mature shrubs and trees, but the couple rarely ventured past the patio seating area, which meant all that space was going to waste. ‘We went to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show as a starting point,’ says the owner, ‘then we used Pinterest to find images to illustrate a wish list of what we had in mind for the garden.

‘Luckily, we knew a landscape gardener, Simon Fraser, and trusted him to do a good job. Initially, 
we paid him a £500 design fee to plot out everything on our wish list. We tried not to be too prescriptive, so he had the freedom to come up with creative solutions and ideas that we hadn’t thought of.’

sloping roof house with grey sofa table at balcony and grass lawn

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

‘We wanted to connect the house to the garden and make it a space 
we could use all year round,’ says the owner. ‘We still wanted it to look lovely, but also be 
a sociable space for entertaining, and we needed storage, too.’

Once the plans were agreed, the garden was cleared and the summerhouse was built, taking five days including one to lay the foundations. Simon did the rest, including the raised beds, outdoor kitchen, shed, wood store and planting. ‘We wanted low-maintenance plants, especially various grasses, to create the Mediterranean look I had in mind,’ the owner adds.

The all-weather sofas can be left out all year round and match the interior decor.

garden with grass lawn and green plants

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

Wooden elements – a deck, raised bed edging and a plank path – give the garden structure easy-maintenance 
style. Reclaimed timber
 gives the garden a lived-in look. The grey stones and paving setts were chosen to tie in with 
the house’s window frames and roof, although the owner does have one regret.

'We chose the wrong pebbles for the path! They don’t blend well with the garden and are tough on bare feet. It would be easy to change, but we’ve decided to live with them,' she says.

Another brilliant outdoor makeover... Before and after: enjoy this gorgeous garden makeover with fab she shed!


room with balck wall and white tiled flooring

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

The landscaper built this outdoor kitchen from scratch using breeze blocks, which were rendered white to match the house.

garden with grass lawn and wood stack

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

It's been fitted with a pizza oven from Blistering Woodfired Ovens.

Get the look
Buy now: Sussex 80 80cm Woodfired Pizza Oven, £1,297, Blistering Wood Fired Ovens.

house with glass door and garden with purple flowers

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

This garden room doubles as a living space and home office, decorated with green accents to visually link with the garden beyond. Large windows keep the pod light and airy and make the most of the garden views. The lavender row
 will grow into a fragrant hedge.

Get the look
Buy now: Similar Moroccan Berber Rug, £495, East Unique
Buy now: Moroccan leather pouffe in Pishatchio, from £79.99 each, East Unique

living room with wooden flooring and photoframe on white wall

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

A restful study area fills one corner of the pod. ‘We found a brilliant company, Green Retreats, which sorted it all – design, build and electrics,’ says the owner.

Get the look
Buy now: Phillippe Starck Green Masters Chair, £168, Graham & Green

room with hanging chair tiled flooring and glass door

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

Perfect for idling away the afternoon away with a book, the hanging chair creates a restful spot alongside the house.

Get the look
Buy now:
Indoor Outdoor Hanging chair, £375, Cox & Cox

garden with wooden hot tub and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies)

More great ideas! Lose yourself in this multi-zoned garden oasis in south Wales

Fast-growing bamboo
 screens off the hot tub, which 
is overlooked. ‘We saw hot tubs on a trip to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and it inspired us to buy one – a natural wood design from Riviera Hot Tubs. It was definitely the right decision. It means we are in the garden summer and winter – we were even in 
it on Christmas Eve!’

'And now we feel like we're on holiday in the garden in all seasons.'


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.