Inspired by our trip to the Ideal Home Show, we decided that it was time to improve our outdoor space at home. We have been in our house for four years, and with two young children, the focus has been on providing a space for them to play and run around safely. As anyone with two young children knows, time to sit and relax in the garden comes rarely!
We had been taken by one of the show gardens at IHS so used this as our inspiration.
The space we had to work with was an existing patio, with our current dining and corner sets and our BBQ. The whole thing was a little uninspiring to say the least!
Once we had measured out and done some planning we were ready to start with the outside kitchen. These are readily available, but to get one bespoke to the size we wanted, we decided to build ourselves. The idea was to house the BBQ and the pizza oven and create work top space too to make cooking outdoors easier.
First the basic framework was put together and then we could start the cladding. My daughter, Apolline, insisted on helping so I found her an old blunt saw!
Once all the cladding was complete, the kitchen had a space for the BBQ, and a lowered shelf for the pizza oven. The closed space in between the two houses the unsightly gas bottles, and cupboards will be cut into the front for storage. The far left hand side will be a log store for the fire pit.
The next part of the project involved a pergola for the seating. We found something that matched the style we’d chosen and managed to get the thing built between only two of us!
The existing Cambridge planters, we had sat perfectly behind the pergola, and the scented jasmine should in time grow up the structure looking lovely as well providing scent and a dappled shade.
Now we had the main structures it was time to enhance the space with planting. The corner of the patio where the conservatory met the house was shady and uninspiring. We chose a bamboo, potted to keep the growth under control, to hide the down pipe, which provided interest for both outside and in.
We had a small space next to the bamboo, and we decided to try a living wall. We bought specialist planters that mount on the wall and have their own water reservoir to keep everything hydrated.
The wall gets a little sun but not a lot so the choice of plants had to focus around foliage. We worked with heucheras, hosta, ferns, gazania as well as some trailing ivy, with pot sizes from 9cm to 2 litre. Using plants of different textures, shaped leaves, sizes and colours allowed us to get a real contrast through the planters.
One of the reasons we had chosen the slatted effect on the kitchen and the pergola was so that we could add planting with ease. These hanging pots are perfect for adding herbs and flowers to the structures.
We added a garden mirror to the end of the kitchen worktop to add some interest to a drab wall, and create the feeling of additional space.
Next, we added lighting. This outdoor light is a great new product available. It looks like an indoor light, but is totally durable for outdoor use. The bulb is removable and charges on a USB lead, then it’s turned on with a remote control and gives up to 10 hours of light covering a space of ten square metres.
And with that the project was complete. We have turned a previously dull area into a space that we can cook, entertain, relax and enjoy the approaching summer.
At least the cat approves…. I think.