aerial
aerial
Courtyard Garden Makeover
pleached
pleached
Courtyard Garden Makeover
lupin
lupin
Courtyard Garden Makeover
bird house
bird house
Courtyard Garden Makeover
bottle opener
bottle opener
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Grey Wooden Outdoor Bar
grey
grey
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Grey Wooden Outdoor Bar and Painted Storage Box
tipple
tipple
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Grey Wooden Outdoor Bar
bar
bar
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Grey Wooden Outdoor Bar
ikea
ikea
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Grey Wooden Outdoor Bar and Storage Bench
steps
steps
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Grey Wooden Outdoor Bar
house
house
Courtyard Garden Makeover
bench
bench
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Grey Painted Garden Furniture
summer house
summer house
Courtyard Garden Makeover
garden
garden
Courtyard Garden Makeover
eat
eat
Courtyard Garden Makeover
stocks
stocks
Courtyard Garden Makeover
pouffe
pouffe
Courtyard Garden Makeover
lounge
lounge
Courtyard Garden Makeover | Cushions & Pouffes
before - september
before - september
before - february
before - february
Before - spring
Before - spring
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Lauren’s House | The Garden Reveal

Author: Lauren Coleman

Allow me to set the scene. Four years ago we moved into what was originally two teeny shoemakers cottages. It was converted in to one dwelling about fifteen years ago and now makes up a modest size home for James and I. As with many Victorian terraces the garden consists of a walled courtyard plot which isn’t particularly large. Thankfully when the house was converted some bright spark also landscaped the space creating a split level garden with a lower cobbled patio, adding steps leading up to a higher level complete with small pond and brick summer house. Thanks to the split level positioning (and a very low house) our east facing plot actually receives sunlight all day with the sun finally disappearing up the distressed wall around 7pm.

Last summer was a busy one. In fact we hardly spent anytime at home at the weekends. There was literally no time for gardening and by the end of the summer you’d have been forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a neglected, rambling jungle. If you look back to my post fourteen months ago you’ll see the garden was jam packed at the start of the growing season and by September it was an overcrowded mess. Our bottom patio was so full of weeds we avoided accessing the garden through the back door (instead using the doors from the top level summer house). On the left hand side the shrubs had become unmanageable dwarfing the garden and swallowing light to the living room. The top right hand area of the courtyard was completely unused and had become a dumping ground for pots, parasols and deck chairs. All-in-all we were only using 50% of the outdoor space.


Anyone who has followed my garden chronicles and cast their eye over my inspiration post from last weekend will know #projectcourtyard has taken an unjustified length of time. The amount of work we’ve done could easily have been achieved by a couple of people over a week or two so apologies if you are expecting a complete overhaul with bells and whistles. Truth is, like most people, we are time-poor and could only afford to commit a day or two per month to getting the garden ship-shape therefore it’s taken months to get it in its current state.

The aim here was to make more of the space and define areas into ‘zones’ if you will. Here’s what we did:

  • Scraped the mortar out of the bottom level patio, spraying weedkiller and extracting the little blighters before refilling with weed control paving sand. A morning cuppa is much more pleasant out here now
  • Cut back our rampant chinese wisteria in September and again in January
  • Hired a tree surgeon to take out our Purple Flowering Potato Bush and Pyracantha to claim back about a quarter of the garden of the garden
  • Removed two fence panels, replacing with a more modern horizontal design. I’m still in two minds whether to paint over the dark brown stain and instead go for the grey garden paint I tracked down from Wilko.
  • Planted four pleached hornbeam trees. The technique of pleaching creates a lollypop style tree, with a thick trunk at the bottom topped off with shaped leaves on top. They are fairly feeble now but in a few years time they should have filled out to provide more privacy.
  • Added new lighting, including an industrial galvanised lamp in the previously disused area.
  • Removed slate chipping from the disused top right area of the garden, dug foundation and laid new patio slabs
  • Constructed a storage unit with a quarry tiled bar top to store all our gardening paraphernalia, finishing off with two utilitarian stools kindly sent for product review to me by Out There Interiors. This space now works extra hard as not only does if offer storage but also offers many G&T sippage opportunities.
  • Repainted our old garden bench and new storage unit, step stool and outdoor bar with several coats of Wilko grey garden paint. Next year I may go a shade or two darker but for now I think the paler shade fits well with the cottage-urban fusion thing I’ve got going on.
  • Planted tall structural perennials in a purple colour scheme in the the new beds
  • Reworked the overcrowded, haphazard centre bed with shrubs and plants of gradual varying heights. All year-round colour is definitely something I’m going to focus on next year. These images were shot at the end of June when my wisteria, alliums, peonies and scabiosa were nearly finished but my agapanthus, sweet peas and vebena were yet to make an impact. I’m looking forward to watching the borders fill out and spend some time pottering rather than grafting!

The Bar

Headshot
We constructed ‘the bar’ over a series of evenings using regular decking boards from B&Q. We made a simple frame then clad with boards.
Inside we added a shelf for extra storage. I’d like to say this is filled with bottles of spirits but instead it’s a home for secateurs, plant food and string. Very rock n roll.
For the top we made a tray like contraption then inside set leftover quarry tiles (from our kitchen floor) and grouted with regular flexible grout.
The team at Out There Interiors contacted me when they found out I was planning a garden renovation and and discussed garden product review options for the courtyard. I am really happy with their Tolix Style stools. I’ll be bringing inside over the winter but as they are stackable they’ll be really easy to store.


Anyone else finished any garden makeovers? Are you getting to spend lots of time outdoors in this glorious weather?

{Contributors}
Author
Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @fairlylight

41 thoughts on “Lauren’s House | The Garden Reveal

  1. Oh my goodness Lauren-your garden looks absolutely AMAZING!!!I love it!
    Well done on all your hard work,it has truly been worth it.I love all your different areas and all the little details/accessories.The planting is gorgeous and all works together really well.Your bar is fantastic!Can I ask if the string of lights above it can be kept out all the time?
    The sun is out this morning and I am now feeling very inspired.Wishing you many days of joy in your garden! X

    1. Thanks so much Jenny. We’ve just got back from holiday this morning and it’s lovely to see the garden in full bloom!
      The string lights are ikea solar ones so yes, I keep them up all year round. They’re on their third year now x

  2. Wow, this looks so totally fabulous I can’t quite believe it’s the same place as in the before shots!

    Love the separate little areas, especially the bar area, and especially love the raised beds. You’ve worked in so much colour as well – so much inspiration to draw on here!

  3. That looks great, very inspiring for our own tiny little courtyard garden which is all hard landscaped aside from a few random shrubs that I take the shears to when the mood takes me. We have relatively new neighbours who have turned their own little courtyard into a wonderful garden with raised beds, lots of colour and free standing veg/salad planters. It looks great and makes us look like the poor garden relations. Between them and this I think I’ll have to get stuck in to our own.

    Is your grey storage box waterproof to keep the textiles dry when stored away?

    1. Ooh your neighbours garden sounds very fancy Steph. So much can be done with a relatively small space.
      The box isn’t waterproof (but I believe you can get a bigger one from Ikea which is). I pile all the cushions in our summer house most of the time and drag them outside when the sun shines.

  4. WOWSERS! I’ll be round after work on Friday for a G&T at the bar! 😉 You guys must be chuffed, you’ve done an amazing job! We have planned to do some decking this summer, we overhauled our garden a couple of years ago but new fencing is also calling, lets just hope our summer holds out!!

    1. Jenna you’re more than welcome! A whole host of other beverages also available 😉

      Good luck with the fencing.

  5. Utterly beautiful! Some wonderful ideas to pinch for next year when we (hopefully) can tackle the garden properly.

  6. Erm…..Wow! Absolutely beautiful Lauren! I am looking forward to drinking gin whilst sat at your new bar 🙂 x

  7. You inspired me to paint my sheds Lauren!! They are now pretty shades of muted clay and country cream!
    I’ve loved being nosey and watching your garden transform into such a gorgeous space. Just make sure you get to sit in it and enjoy it now!xx

  8. Wow Lauren you have done a great job on the garden it looks beautiful – what a fabulous space you have created.
    I have recently sold my flat and am shortly going to be moving to a house which comes with a HUGE garden, we have gone from one extreme to the other with our outdoor space so I am desperate for some inspiration and this post does just that! Gorgeous!

  9. Wow! I love it Lauren! You have a fantastic eye for design and have managed to make your garden not only look stunning but comforting and welcoming too. I would love a G&T at your bar.

  10. Lauren your garden is fab! I love the different sections of the garden, you really have filled every spot with wonderful things. I’ve really enjoyed reading about the latest updates and seeing the final thing in bloom. Enjoy using it now!

    Back in the spring I planted some pleached trees in my moderately sized garden too. I love what a difference they make. I will certainly be borrowing some of ideas for my own garden, not least of all the outdoor rug.

    1. The outdoor rug is definitely one of our best ever garden purchases. You won’t be disappointed Lucy. Thanks for your kind words x

  11. Well done Lauren! Your garden looks great and you definitely deserve a G&T after all the hard work. I need to tidy my garden up and despite the best of intentions I have not done anything other than paint the shed this year. Once I have a new fence up I want to make pallet plant holder. Hopefully it will turn out as I envisage it to.

      1. Your hubby obviously has great taste! A couple of weeks ago I drove past a skip on the next street to mine with the perfect pallet on top and in the time it took me to pull over and park my car someone else had nabbed it!

        1. Oh no! That’s so annoying. I have a rural pet shop near me where you can buy them for a £1. Hope you manage to track one down soon.

  12. Wow! There are not enough heart-eyed emojis in the world for this! What a beautiful job you’ve done Lauren, massive well done. We get the keys to our new house within the month and it is currently just concrete but this has given me some lovely inspiration! x

    1. Thanks so much Marianne. So sweet of you! Don’t be daunted by the concrete, you definitely don’t need a patch of grass to create an oasis x

  13. Just Wow! I’ve only managed to have fleetest of glimpses on my phone on the train but I can’t wait to settle down later (maybe with. G&T) and pour over it in detail. I’ve already spotted so much inspiration*

    *ideas I may steal.

  14. Um, wow! This looks amazing – I don’t know what you were having a meltdown about a few weeks ago! Seriously, well done. Hope you are making the most of it now that it is in great shape. x

  15. Absolutely love this Lauren… You can see how much hard graft this must have taken but so so worth it.
    So beautiful and reminds me of the secret garden.
    Xxx

  16. Can I be really cheeky and ask for more info on your pleached hedges? I’ve been after some for ages – we have a gorgeous old stone wall down one side of our garden that I don’t want covered but needs some privacy above. I’d need about 40 of them tho! What type of tree did you go for? And will you be maintaining them yourselves?( i.e how easy are they to look after?! )
    All advice enthusiastically welcomed!

    1. Hi Ali, I wrote a little bit more about the trees here – http://rockmystyle.co.uk/april-jobs-in-the-garden/
      We went for hornbeam pleached trees from a nursery not too far from us – http://www.seagravenurseries.co.uk/home/trellis-pleached-and-arched. They weren’t cheap but were right for the space (don’t disrupt foundations and don’t need a lot of care). We’ve been told to prune the sides (but not the top in the first few years) but they don’t seem to need much care at all, just a regular water.
      They sound great for your space but might be a pricey option x

      1. Thank you! Will check out the links. I love the look of them and have um and ah’d for ages… Now I’ve seen how lovely yours look I might have to make the ( rather expensive!) plunge!!

  17. That’s one smart looking courtyard. I really love how you created distinct areas. We’ve taken pretty much 2 years to clear our garden (http://tinyurl.com/oh87ybt if you fancy a look at something far worse looking than your before pictures) and now it’s pretty much a clean slate which is rather daunting as there are so many decisions to be made! Did you lay the new slabs yourselves? We’re toying with the idea of doing our own patio but not sure if it is too much of a big job. Also what is the lovely white flowering plant in your dining area?

    1. Oh wow Kat! That’s an impressive plot you’ve got yourself.
      Yep, we laid the slabs ourselves (I say ‘we’ it was more James while I supervised…) but it was just a weeny area at the top. If it was any larger I think we would have got someone else in to it because it probably would have taken quite some time.
      We inherited the lovely white plant and unfortunately I don’t know the name of it. I keep meaning to find out.
      Keep me updated with your garden adventures, would love to see your progress x

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