A garden makeover wasn't top of the list when the owners of this 1930s house in Twickenham, south-west London, moved in. In fact the kitchen extension they carried out meant the garden area was actually reduced in size. When they finally turned their attention to revamping their outdoor space the biggest problem they faced was what to do with the under-utilised area at the bottom of the garden. They decided to transform this dead space into a relaxed seating area with a few fun twists to add some personality. But as they hadn't originally budgeted for this they needed to come up with an affordable plan.
Trying to add personality to a small garden that's dominated by a rectangular plot with a lawned area and a garden shed is a familiar problem for many of us. Read on to find out what their unique take was and don't miss our garden design ideas for more ways to transform your own space.
THE ORIGINAL GARDEN AND HOW IT LOOKED BEFORE
The focal point of the garden was the shed and not in a good way. It dominated the space and partially hid an original brick wall which was one of the garden's best features. The patio near the house was cluttered, the fencing looked tired and the planting throughout was limited. The garden looked completely separate from the house design and wasn't used very often as it wasn't a welcoming space. Things had been tweaked here and there, but now the garden needed a complete rethink.
THE PLAN FOR THE REDESIGN
After extending the kitchen and adding bifold doors leading outside to new patio, the plan was to make the entire garden feel like a natural extension of the house. The dead space at the bottom of the garden would be transformed into a relaxed seating area, ideally with a sofa, and the look would co-ordinate with the new patio ideas to pull together a cohesive style. Both would combine to create the outdoor living space ideas the owners were looking for and the rest of the garden would be transformed with some colourful planting. Not having budgeted for any of this, the work had to be as done as cheaply as possible by using as many budget garden ideas as possible.
RETAINING THE BEST FEATURE
The original brick wall at the rear of the garden had always been a favourite feature and it struck the owners that this area would work really well as the backdrop for an outdoor room. After searching for garden wall ideas, they were inspired to pull an old timber roofing plank out of a skip and recycle it into an attractive shelf for displaying plants. The addition of ornate curved black brackets helped turn it into more of a design feature. The existing trellis topper was looking tired so it was replaced with a sturdier modern option in on-trend grey. Many of the pots were picked up cheaply at car boot sales.
ADDING A SOFA FOR RELAXATION
When it came to choosing the best garden furniture, an outdoor sofa was high on the redesign wish list to create the feeling of an outdoor room. This one was tracked down on eBay but when it turned up the cushions were an unexpected shade of yellow that the owners weren't keen on. So these were replaced with smart grey ones from Ikea that were resized to fit, then layered up with other pretty designs including Moroccan themed textiles. As the last bit of sunshine falls on the sofa on summer evenings it's known as the G&T spot.
CHOOSING NEW DECKING
The couple decided that decking ideas would be the best option to create the flooring for the outdoor room and the owners learned how to build decking themselves to keep down costs. They sourced an affordable decking kit online that looks great with the outdoor sofa and patterned rug to create the feel of a second living room. They opted for a pale shade for the best decking, taking the shed colour as the starting point for colour inspiration to pull the look together.
UPGRADING THE SHED
The existing shed was upgraded with some pretty accessories such as a planted window box and carefully chosen ornaments. Instead of dominating the space it now fits in neatly with the redesign and feels much more in balance as it sits together well with the outdoor room so everything seems much more in proportion. In addition, the pretty planting around it makes it feel more integral to the space.
Want to make more use of your garden shed? Head over to our she shed ideas for clever ways to create a garden hideaway you'll love.
UPCYLING OLD FURNITURE
An old enamel-topped cupboard was an unwanted item the owners picked up from outside a neighbour’s house. With a quick paint makeover it was transformed into the perfect potting table with lots of handy cupboard space for planting paraphernalia. Touches of the best exterior wood paint in vibrant pink were added on details such as the drawer fronts to contrast with the smart grey. Once again it adds to the outdoor room theme to bring the whole look together.
There's more ideas on how to use salvage for garden upcycling ideas in our feature. Go check it out for inspiration.
TRANSFORMING TIRED FENCING
Dark grey and black are popular choices for garden fence ideas and this garden shows how they work well in smaller spaces. For a year-round colour pop, a section of trellis was added and painted in a vibrant hue. This works as an accent colour, and is picked up elsewhere such as on the potting table drawers and planting. It's also a great way of disguising boring fences, especially if you add climbers that will scramble over it.
ADDING THE FINISHING TOUCHES
With the main landscaping ideas and garden redesign completed, the couple could finally indulge in some finishing touches for their space. The Moroccan-style design and colours on the textiles, lanterns and tableware switches up the space beautifully for entertaining. Just perfect for alfresco living!
Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Easy Gardens and Modern Gardens magazines. Her first job on glossy magazines was at Elle, during which time a visit to the legendary La Colombe d'Or in St-Paul-de-Vence led to an interest in all things gardening. Later as lifestyle editor at Country Homes & Interiors magazine the real pull was the run of captivating country gardens that were featured. Having studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently putting the skills learned to good use in her own space where the dream is establishing a cutting garden.
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