Lose yourself in this multi-zoned garden oasis in south Wales

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  • An
 outdated plot has been given a new identity with handmade fixtures and lush,
 jungle-like foliage

    ‘Before my husband Gareth retrained as a builder, he worked as a landscaper, and a brilliant one at that,’ says owner Miffy Shaw. ‘He’d envisaged his ideal garden even before we bought 
the house, and watching it finally start 
to take shape gave us such a buzz.’

    For more inspiration, check out our other garden ideas

    ‘We inherited an outdated crazy paving patio with an awkwardly located apple tree right in the middle,’ she adds. ‘The patio was first to go, then we raised a portion of the ground closest to the house so the floor would be level with the kitchen, as we loved the idea of summer gatherings spilling out into the garden.’


    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    The fireplace was made using bricks that the couple salvaged when they knocked down an inside wall. It features a cavity for storing logs and openings at the top where Miffy planted flowers and shrubs to soften the look. ‘Gareth built it himself, and it looks incredible,’ she says. ‘Now it’s really lovely to sit outside, even on a winter’s evening, and keep warm in front of the fire.’

    A parasol that Miffy brought back from a trip to Spain makes the space feel extra exotic.

    Get the look
    Enquire online: Garden landscaping by Shaw Property Developments

    Buy now: Similar Liberace parasol, £399, East London Parasol Company
    Buy now: Similar Icelandic sheepskin, from £64, Hide Rugs

    Related: How to make pallet garden furniture – a step-by-step guide


    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    Gareth really loves water, so a pond was non-negotiable. It’s really cleverly designed, as the rockery forms one side, and there’s a wall with a glass window on the other.

    To make it seem like the garden was mature, the couple included structural elements made from materials that feel as if they’ve always been there. Large, rough rocks, distressed woods, old brickwork, bamboo poles and brushwood screening all work well.


    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    The couple didn’t have the heart to remove the apple tree, so they designed the lower half of the space around it. ‘Gareth was set 
on having a rockery to form an almost cliff-like divide between the two halves. He brought in huge boulders to create the look he wanted,’ says Miffy. ‘We created privacy with ferns and olive 
trees – they’re my favourites.’

    Miffy loves the smell of grass, but having a lawn just seemed impractical with a dog – all 
the digging, the mud and the lawn-mowing – so she chose to put down artificial turf instead. ‘It doesn’t have the charm of real grass, but it looks great 
all year round and doesn’t need much maintenance,’ she says.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Windermere Artificial Grass, £17.99 per sq m, Carpetright


    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    Make it sculptural with plants that have big leaves and dramatic shapes. Bamboos, ferns, cordylines and palm trees are perfect examples. Go for contrast – big leaves next to smaller, more delicate ones for maximum impact.

    Here, clusters of silver, grey and lilac blooms gives the foliage an almost metallic glint. ‘Once the oven has warmed up, you can cook pizzas in under a minute,’ says Miffy. ‘It’s great 
when we have friends over.’


    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    Another fabulous makeover: Before and after: making good use of a garden’s dead space

    ‘We clad the exterior of 
the house with scaffolding boards and used them for the window boxes, too,’ says Miffy, whose final hurdle was working out 
how to connect the two zones so the garden felt fluid and easy to navigate. ‘We didn’t have our daughter at the time,’ she explains. ‘But knowing we wanted children, steps didn’t seem like a good idea.’

    Get the look
    Buy now: Scaffolding boards, from £12.53, B&Q

    In the end, they settled on a slope made from scaffolding boards. It marries the social area at the top with 
the more playful part at the bottom seamlessly. ‘Also, by using low-cost scaffolding boards and reclaimed bricks to create features and furniture, we had a bigger budget for trees and flowers,’ adds Miffy, who filled every corner and crevice with plants and exotic trees to create this oasis.

    Love Miffy’s style? You can follow her on Instagram @miffyshaw.

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