DIY: Sorting out the garden for summer

When we moved into our house just over a year ago, I thought that there really wasn’t much we could do it. It was a new build around 8 years ago and had only had one set of owners during that time. Everything was modern enough, the attic already had a bedroom in it, and it had a conservatory on the back. The kitchen was absolutely fine, the bathrooms were fine, and there were no big issues with carpets or the structure. So what else was there really for us to do apart from hang a few pictures and move our furniture in?

Turns out, there is plenty for us to do, and actually it’s mostly taken us a year to figure that out! I think it takes living somewhere properly for a while to figure out what works for you and what you’d change.

The thing that was most obvious for us that needed to be done was to change the colours of the garden room/conservatory and the hall/stairs. Both of these were a lovely obnoxious shade of yellow. We also decided the downstairs toilet, which was a shell pink, could be better. Then I decided I wanted wallpaper for my sewing room. And actually, the kitchen was kind of boring. And that our bathrooms are pretty standard and on the small side. More on all of these in future, but today, I’m talking gardens.

sky blue dress

In our old house, we had a garden that was twice the size of our current one – you can see it in the photo above (go figure that most of my garden photos also include me posing XD). It was spread out over a few levels, had a spacious shed and included a decking area. It had been in terrible overgrown condition before we moved in though (as in, they found a car rusting in shoulder height grass that apparently no one knew was there), and had a few tall trees that overshadowed much of the lawn area making it mossy and damp. We rented this house which made it difficult for us to do much else than maintain what we had, weeding out flowerbeds, mowing the lawn, adding flowers and herbs here and there.

So when we bought our own house, we knew we wanted a garden but we were looking for one that was a lot easier to maintain. The house we chose has a simple and smaller lawn area at the back that is all one flat surface (phew, so much easier with the lawnmower!) surrounded by fencing, and a smaller paved area at the front with some gravel beds with low box hedge bushes.

So here are our plans:

Painting the fence

Valspar Greenish Grey fence paint

Our fence is a typical “boring” one stained brown. While there’s nothing wrong with it like that, our neighbours a few houses down painted theirs a lovely grey so it set cogs in motion in our minds. In fact, it was Ben that decided we would paint it, so we’ve got some Valspar outdoor paint from B&Q at the moment in Greenish Grey (come on! All the other paints have lovely names, why not this one?!) for it. I’ve used up all the tester on a panel and we love the colour, so this weekend is going to be dedicated to spraying the rest of it in this colour.
We’ve got a bit of a thing about paint recently, so I think I’ll have a WHOLE post dedicated to it soon ;D

Storage

At the moment, our garden storage is all the garage, which is just about adequate but it would be nice to have a shed like these to keep some bits and pieces in, especially larger ones like the lawnmower and strimmer. Ben keeps his brewing equipment in the garage, and it’s also home to several shelves, the washing machine, some kitchen units I acquired from work (for additional kitchen storage), a single bed that we’re not using in the house, a fridge/freezer….and a fridge AND freezer…ask Ben. Anyway, I’m always envious of Sarah’s which is painted like a gorgeous beach hut – that’s my goal!

Herbs & Vegetables

Our tomato plants may have been prolific this year, but they were also slow – so many green tomatoes! We’ve had to get rid of the dying plants now so picked all the tomatoes, even the unripe ones. Any ideas on how to get them to turn red now? Or at least how to use green tomatoes? #tomatoes #gardening #greenfingers

A photo posted by Sian Thomas (@xrebel_angelx) on


Last year we grew an absolute glut of tomatoes! We bought 6 tomato plants from Lidl and they went mad. The above is just the ones we had left by the time it reached October and was starting to get cooler, so we had to pick them before there was a frost that killed them!
This year, we have 3 tomato plants, a couple of chilli plants and a wild strawberry. We’ll be planting these out in our collapsible greenhouse soon – it’s a weird thing that looks like this. We don’t have enough room to have a permanent one, but this worked perfectly. We’ve also planted some rocket, lettuce and radishes in planters around the garden, and have some basil seeds in the house that we’re waiting to sprout properly and grow a bit before moving outside.

Decking at the back

Garden

We have a space between our conservatory door and the garage door that’s currently just paved. This paving continues around the outside of the conservatory, but is only just wide enough to walk on. The garden also slopes down towards this area, just very slightly, so the grass in that corner ends up very boggy at worst, damp and soggy at best, and very mossy. Ben has recently scarified the lawn and spread some grass seed, so that should have helped slightly, but we’re planning to change this area up for some decking instead. We put our garden furniture in this area during summer, so it should make it easier to keep this on as well as adding some interest.
This may not happen this year yet though, possibly next year – we’ll see!

Deal with the front garden

Collectif outfit pencil skirt

Our front garden is, well, kind of boring! We are SO “keeping up with the Joneses”, but our next door neighbour has the same style house as us and hers is beautiful! The photo above is out the front this time last year. We’ve since painted the door a sage green colour (Valspar’s Thames Fog I believe, although I’m insisting on “Yorkshire Fog” ;D) and have a twisted bay tree on either side. I’m getting sick of the gravel at the front though and want to change it into grass instead. This area also catches the sun, so I’d like to get a bench against the wall, although the ground will need levelling if we do this.

So lots of outdoor DIY on the agenda for us at the moment! What do you think?

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