When I bought my house three years ago the garden vibe was most definitely ‘abandoned prison yard’ – it was just a square of gravel, weeds growing, fence panels leaning in the breeze.
I had an equally clear vision for what I wanted it to look like – tropical paradise. I talked about it to a friend who has possibly the most tropical paradise of a garden I know, and she sketched me out a plan. I found a landscape gardener and off we went, the garden makeover began.
A couple of months later and I had the beginnings of my dream garden. The plants were a little small – something I hadn’t really considered – but funnily enough they DID grow and now I have a space where I can escape from the world. It’s been an absolute Godsend this year. If I’d not had my own outdoor space during lockdown I think I might possibly have gone mad.
Here are four things I did to turn my garden into a blissful retreat:
Make a plan
It was so helpful for me to have my friend’s sketch as a guide. It kept me focussed on what I really wanted and what was important to me and really helped to create the vision.
Think about your garden all year round
As lovely as it is just to get out the sun lounger at the height of summer and bask in the glory of the sunshine, a garden is for life, not just for Christmas. (That’s the saying right?) Although it might not be as tropical in the winter months, it can still serve as a retreat – think abut your planting and include autumn colour, winter flowering plants and evergreens that will keep the garden looking alive all year round.
Add colour wherever you can
You can add colour to your garden in so many ways, not just through planting. I painted my pergolas a lovely pink for example, which adds a lot of colour to the garden and is a nice contrast to the green. I also picked colourful pots for the patio areas, which means that even in the middle of winter you have colour in the garden.
Weirdly for someone who likes lounging about as much as possible, garden furniture was one of the last things I bought. I did have a garden bench, which is still lovely against the back wall of my house as a bit of a suntrap, but it was when I bought the loungers and a little table and chairs that the garden felt like it became a real useable space.
The ultimate dream obviously is an outdoor sofa set. Then I’d be like one of those fancy grown-up people who have a dedicated garden crockery set and entertain in the garden. Although obviously I’d mainly keep the garden sofa for my own personal lounging.
What are the things that you couldn’t do without in your garden?