Structural planting, clever lighting and built-in furniture transforms an unloved outdoor space

A professional makeover was required to create this cleverly zoned, easy to maintain outside room

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd Davies)

The owner of this garden is passionate about gardening and entertaining. She chose to work with garden designers Taylored Gardens, to ensure she got the very best out of her outside space.

'I was really impressed with their previous projects, that I'd seen, and as I needed the garden to be completely redesigned and landscaped it made real sense to go for a company which offered both design and installation services,' says the owner. 'Knowing a professional team were taking care of everything from start to finish really helped ease the pressure of the project. The work took two and a half months and it came together just before the first lockdown. 'I feel so blessed to have had such a sanctuary at such a difficult time.'

Having discussed her wish list for the space, the designer came up with some smart solutions. 'Some of them would have never occurred to me,' says the owner. 'But my own suggestions were also taken into account, so it was a collaborative process.' Once the plans were agreed, the garden was cleared in January 2020, after which the landscaping, building of the pergola, built-in seating, raised beds, and planting were done. 

Thinking of landscaping your garden? Read: Garden landscaping ideas – how to plan and create your perfect garden

Garden makeover: monochrome style

garden with sofa and table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd Davies)

‘As the garden already had a bit of a contrasting monochrome feel, with the dark toned wood fencing and pale flooring, I thought it would be a nice touch to carry that look on into the accessories, such as the cushions which I found online at Design Vintage.’ Different fencing denotes the dining area zone at the front of the garden and pale paving keeps the garden fresh and open with a contemporary finish.

‘I liked the idea of an already weathered outdoor coffee table, so that it felt blended in. I researched online and was really chuffed to find what I was looking for on eBay second hand locally for just £50!’ says the owner.

Smart built-in storage solutions

benches with lidded storage and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd Davies/Future PLC)

Built-in benches provide lidded storage which doesn't encroach on the entertaining space. ‘The storage in the rear seating area has worked so well,' says the owner. 'Initially I didn’t think that I would need more storage, but you can never have enough, especially as I have a large cushion collection, which although weather-proof, are best kept undercover when not in use.’

Pergola and artificial grass

garden with white seating

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd Davies)

It made sense to keep the existing built-in white seating as well as the fencing along one side, as it was in good condition. This saved money on the overall materials budget as well as saving time.

The owner also wanted to incorporate garden shade ideas into the space. ‘The idea of a pergola at the end of the garden, strung with pretty outdoor lighting, really appealed to me to give the seating area an encompassing feel and the garden a real focus overall,' she says. The pergola was made to measure, priced from around £2500, by Taylored Gardens. 

The garden needed to be easy to tend and, as the owner has a dog, she opted for artificial grass, a useful grassless garden idea for lower maintenance spaces. 'I am so pleased with the end results – it gives the garden a really neat finish,’ she says. Edging the artificial grass with setts has given the grass a beautiful border in keeping with rest of the garden.

Calculate the costs: Garden landscaping costs – how much to pay for garden landscaping

Clever lighting and planting

garden with plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd Davies)

The garden has been planted with structural plants, which are mainly evergreen, so the garden will look lush all year round. The design included existing features combined with new bold palms, added for structure.

Lighting was a really important consideration when designing the garden. They used spiked lights in the beds to illuminate the Silver Birches, navigator lights to highlight the path, step lights and swivel lights under the pergola. 'It looks so wonderful in the evening – even in the rain,’ says the owner.

Related: Garden lighting ideas – solar powered stakes, spotlights and wall lights to illuminate outdoor spaces

Entertaining barbecue area

barbecue area

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd Davies)

The owner loves to entertain, especially during the summer months. It is handy to have the barbecue positioned by the kitchen, for easy access, but it’s also easy to manoeuvre it around if necessary, because the unit is so compact and it's on wheels.