The Garden Makeover: Part 1 (Before + After)

As summer is drawing to a close, so is the first phase of our garden makeover. When we bought the house in August 2016 the ‘garden’ was devoid of any planting and looked very bleak. There were several layers of fencing partitioning areas for bins around the house and a seperate seating area at the back (pictured), which all added to making the space feel much smaller and unwelcoming.


However, despite its dreary outlook it was evident the garden had a lot of potential. As soon as we moved in we took down all the partioning and opened up it up into one larger space.  We chose a beautiful light blue/grey colour paint called Rocky Shelter (Vaspar Paint – available at B&Q), to lift the tired fences and it instantly made the space look much lighter and fresher.


With the blank canvas now in front of us we were able to visualise the space and work out the new layout. After hours trawling pinterest we came up with the idea of raised rendered planters and dramatic, structural archi -plants. We were also desperate to swap the dull grey paving blocks  for a softer, green lawn.

garden sketch

The construction of the planter was far more fiddly than we had anticipated and it took a lot of attempts to get the blockwork and render looking good. Back on the day job I got some great tips from my builders on site about mortar and render consistencies which were really helpful in getting the render smooth (I’ll share these tips later in a seperate post!)



garden refurb


garden from above

With the planter rendered and painted we were able to do the fun bit of choosing the plants! To give the garden a strong focal point we planted a Cherry tree in the square section of the planter and to provide balance , we planted tall grasses on the other side and ‘Pink Passion’ Cordyline at the bottom. We were recommended a great cash and carry plant centre in Sevenoaks called Coblands and managed to get all the above for under £100.

planter ixed.jpg

Once the topsoil was down we installed timber edging to form a planting area at the front and a gravel border/mowing edge at the side. The last thing we did was lay the turf  by closely following this Alan Tichmarsh how-to video on You-Tube. Initially the lawn looked very patchy as we bought the turf on a very hot day (not recommended), however after a bit of sun, rain, fertiliser and patience, it perked right up again.


At the front of the lawn we created a border of Lavender which has brought lots of lovely bees and wildlife to the garden. In the corner we planted a single climbing rose in an effort to break up the blank mass of fencing and a mint plant to add to the wondeful smells.



Opening up the garden has brought lovely long views from the hallway, instead of seeing the back of the fence. It has also brought much more light into the back of the house.

window view edited.jpg

For the final touch to Part 1 of our transformation we bought a set of Miami table and chairs from M&S in lime green. As well as being very comfortable they give a pop of colour and intrigue to the front of the garden, where we haven’t done much work yet.


For now we are delighted with the transformation, however there’s still a long way to go. The next phase of works is to build an L-shaped timber bench which ‘floats’ against the planter. We are also hoping to plant more grasses and ornamental plants in the gravel border and fill with pale limestone cobbles.

I hope I have inspired you to get out in the garden in the final weeks of sunshine! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve also been busy in your gardens this summer 🙂

3 thoughts on “The Garden Makeover: Part 1 (Before + After)”

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