The Original Garden
When we moved in, the top of the garden was absolutely awful.It looked just like an urban wasteland, full of overgrown weeds and a complete concrete jungle.
We lifted the old random bits of decking and crazy paving and turfed this area. At the same time, we removed hundreds of roof tiles which the previous owner had used as a fence (see back of photo) and erected a more conventional low fence.
Many, many hours of work later and the garden has been transformed. It has a real Mediterranean feel to it now.
One Ugly Garden Wall
There was nothing I could do about the height of the rear wall, it’s a retaining wall for the garden behind us, as we are on a hill, the garden behind is higher than ours and so the wall has to stay. I had it rendered to give me a smooth painting surface and then painted it a fabulous terracotta shade called Hot Brick from Sandtex. As soon as it was painted, even before I started planting, the wall was transformed.
The dour, industrial look was banished and in it’s place was the foundation of the Italian Courtyard garden look that I’d set my heart on achieving.
Mediterranean Style Planting
In order to achieve a vibrant Mediterranean style, I planted a number of evergreens along the lower wall. The effect of the bold bright green planting against the newly painted terracotta wall was awesome. It’s amazing how well everything has grown if you check on a previous post on the garden which was taken last year, you’ll see just how much bigger everything looks and how healthy it all looks.
Interestingly, this is a north facing garden, which you would expect to bit a bit sun starved, but as it’s raised up above the house, we have a lower garden too with steps, it keeps the sun all day, which is great for the plants and it’s a real suntrap for sunbathing too.
From a Right Mess to a Great Garden
What can I say about the area on the right hand side of the garden. Well, it was certainly a major mess. Uneven bits of crazy paving, a tiny bit of patio that someone had attempted to build over the crazy paving and three strips of decking – all jobs started and not finished. This combined with a garden ‘fence’ built of stacked up roof tiles meant that we certainly had our work cut out.
This area looks so much better now. As no one wanted the old roof tiles, we had to bin them and filled a couple of skips in the process! We then lifted the crazy paving and this went the same way as the roof tiles, straight into the skip.
Once we lifted the sad bits of decking, we found that the original steps were OK and as we were on a budget, we just cleaned these up.
The end of the steps, near the wall, actually makes an ideal place for a couple of pots and my terracotta ornaments.
The Dark Side of the Garden
The left hand side of the garden meanwhile was equally grim. Swathes of bare concrete and hugely overgrown raised flower beds made the who area depressing to look at, and certainly not somewhere you would want to linger.
I had this area rendered too which gave me a much smoother area to paint on. Once painted up, the walls just glowed and with the planting in place it’s taken on a much more welcoming look and feel. It’s a great place to enjoy a coffee too, in the sunshine!
Giving Wooden Garden Furniture a New Lease of Life
If you’ve read my previous post, you”ll be aware that the garden furniture has undergone many a colour transformation over the past couple of months. I’ve now settled on this Seagrass shade from Cuprinol. It’s a lovely gentle greeny/blue shade which I think has a hint of the colour of a mermaids tail to it, very appropriate, being by the sea.
I think the furniture compliments the walls really well and it’s a real pleasure to sit up here now. We didn’t have the budget to take up the old concrete patio, I would have dearly loved to have replaced it with something warmer looking, but we’ve cleaned it up and actually, everything else is so vibrant now, you don’t notice it as much.
There’s Nothing Quite like a Garden Bench
Especially when it’s freshly painted, Seagrass, of course, with some inviting cushions for that extra bit of comfort.
Lighting The way
I love being able to sit out in the garden and I have a number of lanterns like this one that I’ve painted up and just added a few gold highlights. I just need to buy some inexpensive candles to go in them now and we’ll be all set for a warm summer’s evening’s relaxation.
This glass lantern also looks lovely, I picked a couple of them up last weekend and they look gorgeous during the day when the sunlight’s on them. They glow like jewels. Again, I need to buy a couple of candles to pop in them, so they can light up the evening’s just as beautifully.
A truly Transformed Courtyard Garden
These last couple of photos just sum up how our garden looks and feels now. Like my little terracotta man in the photo below, I think we’ve created a space that’s completely relaxing, a joy to relax and work in, there’s plenty of room for my laptop on the large table!
And on a warm summer’s day, or evening, you really do feel like you could be in the Mediterranean. Mission accomplished!
First Published June 2016