You know that feeling where you know you have to tackle a big DIY project but you don’t know where to start?
It’s the one where you secretly want your family and friends to take matters into their own hands and put you forward for a surprise TV makeover, I’d even practised my surprised face just in case. I wasn’t going to cry ugly tears, no one wants to do that during their 15 minutes of national TV fame, just little weepy lady like ones which didn’t ruin my mascara and left just a little twinkle on in my eyes. You know the type.
Sadly, it never happened, and I couldn’t pull the overworked single mum of 3 kids card any longer. It was 2 years into a stint of serious neglect. I decided enough was enough, it was high time to sort out my garden.
Set over 4 terraces though, this was never going to be an easy task. What was once my pride and joy, was now nothing more than an embarrassment and somewhere to hang my washing. My patient neighbours never once complained, just subtly offered the loan of their garden machinery to help me control the spot which once housed my raised bed allotment. We’d renamed it the jungle and argued to it now being the perfect sanctuary for slow worms and mice. I flippantly considered applying for a David Bellamy conservation award in my efforts for wild garden conservation but knew I’d need more than a half renovated workshop to pass it off as a holiday park.
My decking was rotten, the paint was peeling off the walls and despite a glorious display of gladioli in the beds every summer, they soon tumbled over as the dog ran amock through. It was a shambles, a disgrace, a danger to my eyesight, pride and an adventurous 4 year old.
First off was to remove the dodgy rotten deck boards, I’m on a serious budget so it was a case of using what was free to fill in the huge corner gap. With different deck boards now in place, I painted the whole deck area in grey to help it all blend in, including the walls. With a continuous backdrop, this enabled the lush acacia tree to really stand out as well as warming the whole feel of the decking.
I removed the gladioli (wow, those things are hardy btw. They’re still growing despite my efforts to get rid) and planted lavender which also looks pretty ace against the grey wall. I enlisted help to remove a jasmine bush which had taken over a large corner of the first 2 tears, I knew I’d really miss the scent it threw off most evenings but it had to go.
Next up was to repaint the garden table and chairs in a lighter, muted grey. Jazzed up with colourful cushions ‘borrowed’ from my mum’s garden. By sticking to one shade it doesn’t make the area look too busy, My deck is a real suntrap and the perfect spot to watch the sunset while sipping gin cocktails. As long as the suns out, the kiddos and I dine al fresco.
I’ve always had this hankering for fairy lights in the garden to create an atmosphere in the evening so invested in some solar lights to save the expense of an electrician. I learnt the expensive way not to go cheap and cheerful with these, they barely lasted a week, instead, go for a trusted site like Lights.ie which have a 30 day no quibble free returns.
The first terrace has been sanded down and repainted in white. I like to think if it as a Greek village with my very only table for one thinking spot, this was a total bargain from Ikea, I often sit here with my mid-morning coffee on a work day so it feels like I’ve taken a proper break from my desk.
last to get some tlc was my patio. It’s been nothing more than a spot to hang my washing and store a large dumpy bag of sand and another of garden waste which I added to over the years in feeb;e attempts to tidy up. This was where I called in some help once again to shift them while I painted the drab walls white and plotted my oasis of calm and sunbathing.
The John Lewis garden bed was another bargain find on Gumtree and I found some special offer plants and pots in my local garden centre and I completed the look with some Ikea garden cushions which make this spot my favourite place to chillax in the sun. For 3.7 minutes while playing hide and seek with my 4-year-old.
Total approximate cost – £270