A couple of weeks ago Adam and I headed back to the home of Rebecca (of rvk_loves insta fame) to see how her and husband Ben are getting on with their renovations. Well as you can see from today’s post very well indeed. Over the coming weeks Rebecca will be taking over the Wednesday slot on Rock My Style sharing all the spaces they’ve made over since our last visit starting with the garden. Settle in ladies, you’re in for a treat.

Call us old before our time but Ben and I share a love for gardening and growing our own flowers, fruit and veg. We’d worked hard to transform our last garden and just as it was looking all established we decided to move! We instantly fell in love with our new house but the garden needed a lot of work. You can see from the before photos that other than a huge bay tree hedge and some shrubs, there were no flowers in the garden or even a flower bed. It was mainly just a big lawn with some crazy paving patio slabs and a dilapidated garage and shed. We hit the garden in two main stages, the first just a couple of weeks in {before we’d even finished a single room in the house, knowing that if we got plants in now, last Spring they’d start to establish before the summer}. We focused on the main part of the garden, away from the house that we’d be chopping around with building work. We had four huge conifer trees taken down which blocked half of our afternoon sunlight, dug out huge shrubs and took the garden back to a large square base of grass. A blank canvas.

We were lucky that the garden is flat and now light, open and airy since the big trees came down. We knew that we wanted lots of flower beds so set about digging out two long beds at each edge of the garden {Ben had planned this all and mapped it all out before we’d even bought the house} and then a set of beds going down the middle of the garden, creating four grass squares to add a bit of interest to an otherwise flat wide lawn. We measured up the garden, marked it all out and then started digging up the turf to create our new beds. We have a gravel, rope edged, path running down the middle and across but the rest we’ve planted up.
The middle beds are kept quite formal in structure, mirroring each other with David Austin roses, cordon fruit trees, lavender down the middle and a small box hedge on the outside. We then dot in dahlias and alliums throughout the season, again keeping this quite uniform. The middle has a galvanised dolly tub with a eucalptyus bush in and some lavender, the eucalyptus is evergreen so should add some interest in the winter at a time when everything else has died back. The outside beds though are a mix of cottage garden flowers, mainly perennial peonies, roses, delphiniums, lupins, echinacea with some annual sweet peas, dahlias and cosmos dotted in – I like these all being a bit wild. We also left a wild corner in the top left corner to plant fruit trees and I’m hoping next year it will have bluebells/cow parsley growing there. We put Hazel hurdle fence panels that, we found online, around the perimeter to unify the mix of hedging and grow things up.

We {I say we, of course it was Ben} then built a summerhouse at the end of the garden which gives a real focal point and has become my favourite part of the garden. It’s painted in Farrow & Ball Clunch with Vert De Terre accents and all the details can be found on my blog, Roses and Rolltops. We’ve stood bay trees and lots of hydrangeas in galvanised tubs outside it to pretty her up a little. I find most of the galvanised tubs and watering cans at antique markets/shops, it’s become quite the collection! But they last forever unlike terracotta pots.

Our next stage was once the kitchen extension was finished. We were SO happy the day that the crazy paving slabs got smashed up on day one of the diggers coming in. You’ll see more of the kitchen in an upcoming post but we finally got our dream of big sliding doors coming out onto a patio area and then leading onto the garden. With the house now extended in the style that we wanted, rather than the ugly 70s block plonked onto the back by the previous owners, we could create a wraparound patio terrace. We had to raise a lot of the existing patio up with hardcore and have it concreted over to be the same level as the kitchen. And then we demolished the shed and garage to rebuild these, again raising them so everything would be on the same level and built a couple of steps down to the lawn. Our garden is north facing so although gets plenty of sun in the summer, in the winter the patio probably won’t get any sun at all and so would go green. We chose gravel instead of patio slabs to counteract this and give more of a cottage garden feel. We laid slabs underneath and then topped with gravel.

Ben and his team built the new garage and greenhouse from scratch with timber cladding that we painted in Farrow & Ball Lime White. With all the heavy construction finished {at last!} it was time for the fun decorating bits like stringing up festoon lights {from Costco}, dotting pots around, digging out our garden table that Ben made from Singer stands and scaffold boards, planting up a rolltop bath with roses {as an ode to my blog name} and hanging some summery bunting. Our cantilever umbrella was a bargain from Ikea and the chairs are all a mismatch from antique markets and Ikea with The White Company seat pads to make them a bit more comfy.

The bath is painted in Farrow & Ball Railings as a contrast to the off white behind it. The greenhouse still needs glass fitting and some staging/beds creating in there but I’m so excited to have a dedicated place to start seeds off rather than using our spare bedrooms! It’s so good to be able to sit out and enjoy it all now and have people over for BBQs although there’s still a couple more projects we want to do with the other side of the patio like create a fire pit seating area, or an outdoor sofa and maybe a built in BBQ area. But that can wait until next year!

{STEAL REBECCA’S STYLE}
  • Bunting
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  • Dolly Tub
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  • Bistro Chair
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  • Seat Cushions
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