First steps In the spring of 2017, our son Zachary was born, so we thought it was time that we got the garden into a more child-friendly condition, but we needed expert help. A friend recommended James Walsh (livingcolourgardens.co.uk). Our brief was for James to design a child-friendly garden, with soft, lowmaintenance planting, as well as a dedicated space to relax and entertain. Aplanting plan The new planting scheme was kept fairly simple, with whites and some hot pink for a bit of drama, plus lots of evergreens to provide year-round interest. We also installed an artificial lawn.
However, the real focal point of the space is a large acer, the only plant kept from the original garden. At first we wanted it taken out, but James convinced us to keep it. Incorporating the acer into the design presented a challenge, but a neat solution was found with a cedar bench built around the trunk, with additional space left to allow for continual growth. We’re so glad we kept it now, as it has proved to be an invaluable part of the garden. Setting the style We prefer a simple, contemporary style, so we used as few materials as we could. Cedar was used for the decking, panelling and the L-shaped bench.
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Mirrors were added in a couple of spots to reflect the light and make the space feel bigger, and the brick wall at the back of the garden was painted a light grey to brighten up the space and keep it modern. A dark purpleflowered clematis scrambles up the wall and will soften the look as it establishes. The artificial lawn helps to keep maintenance to a minimum. Entertaining outdoors When we can, we like to have friends and family over for barbecues and the L-shaped bench and table lends itself well to both relaxing and entertaining, as it makes good use of the space and provides ample seating for larger groups.
Keeping the barbecue adjacent to the main seating area means that whoever is cooking can still join in the conversation. Lee insisted on a traditional barbecue rather than a modern gas one and it was built from scratch using reclaimed bricks. Family-friendly space We really enjoy the garden now, both for everyday use and socially. The garden is east-facing so it’s particularly lovely in the summer and gives some welcome shade in the afternoon and evening. We can eat dinner outside and chat after work. And it’s also really safe for Zachary to play in as we can watch him from the kitchen window. The garden is just perfect for our needs, it gets lots of compliments and it’s been a really good investment – we really feel like F we have gained an extra room.’