I recently took on the challenge of glamming up the space between our home and our terraced garden. With an inquisitive toddler, the upper terraces aren’t very safe so I’m confined to the lower ground for the next few years. Up until now it’s been a no man’s land of concrete and an occasional dumping ground which we’ve flitted through to get to the nice bits, but as the nice bits are out of bounds 99% of the time, it’s time to spruce up what we’ve got.
Using begonias, hostas, petunia and lavender, and some perennials for all round greenery, I’ve created an array of colours to brighten everything up. I’m usually quite flippant with anything I plant, opting for a wing it approach but this time I’ve researched the plants, feed and compost most suitable for shady courtyards as I needed everything to thrive in the not so perfect conditions, this has involved hours on Pinterest, a couple of my boards are below, a few visits to the local garden centre and lots of internet searches (Tip! ordering from your compost online saves carrying large bags back from the garden centre). Having all the plants on the doorstep helps, so I never forget to water it.
To start, I made the most of the wall space with baskets and signs. this has helped draw the eye up from the ground creating light. Hung in the darkest, shadiest corner worked best, I just had to be careful they weren’t catching any sun rays and reflecting them into the house.
To give my garden the personal touch, I’ve hung a few signs up. This one was made by my awesome and crafty cousin using offcuts of wood, it’ll weather with age which adds to it’s appeal I think. I also found a metal heart in my local gift shop. I’m on the lookout for a bird house now to complete the look. With being in the shade, you have the advantage of not too much sun fade on any accessories. These extra touches are what sets a courtyard garden apart from the everyday. I love my burst of begonias and the jasmine trailing from the above deck terrace leaves an amazing fragrance in the early evening, but in the colder months it’s these pieces which will keep everything looking cheery and attractive.
I chose my plants very carefully knowing that the majority needed full sun to thrive, apart from these strawberries which return year after year. I’ve repotted them a few of times with fresh compost to make sure they get enough nutrients and move them around to catch the little glimmer of sun which hits the courtyard first thing in the morning.
And placed near my chair means I always have a snack to hand as well!
I’ve always liked the idea of having 2 grand planters welcoming guests, although quite large for the space, they create a stunning backdrop from the french doors and help draw the eye to the welsh slate steps leading up to the terraces. They also serve the purpose of protecting Baby R from falling on the sharp edges. I love the contrast of greenary they bring in the gloomier months and I’m on the lookout for some solar fairy lights to brighten up the evenings.
On a sunny afternoon theres nothing sweeter than relaxing in my shady courtyard garden, knowing that as the years go by, it’ll mature and weather to perfection and is no longer the dash through, neglected concrete jungle it once was. It just leaves me to encourage the boys to make the front garden their own and keeping the footballs, rugby balls and anything else and round and kickable away from my hard work. (Maybe this sports quiz will remind them my little piece of heaven isn’t the size of a stadium )