Sunday, 10 May 2015

Ideas for small gardens

As regular readers of this blog will know my whole Raison d'ĂȘtre is to make everything from the smallest most mundane object beautiful yet functional and where possible give it a vintage twist.

I have applied my style and taste to all aspects of my house  which as its a mid Victorian terrace has been relatively easy. Sash windows, ceiling roses and picture rails are perfectly complimented by velvet sofas, jewel coloured throws and bright mismatched china.
The garden at Nicky Rockets Towers was however less inspiring when we first moved in. A tiny dark space mostly taken up with a huge rotting dog kennel and covered in its entirety with hideous crazy paving straight out of Abigail's party it didn't scream out "elegant tea party" it was a typical back yard with not a scrap of foliage and nowhere you would want to sit. Undeterred I decided to take my influences from the little secret gardens Victorians used to include as part as their vast grounds which were always full of tiny spaces to hide in and had doors in walls and arbours to lounge on.I had also loved the beach huts I saw on a visit to Brighton and as I live by the seaside decided to use the same ice cream colours as my colour palette for all the woodwork and garden furniture. So my small garden project began.
Shhh Garden fairies asleep
As the garden is so compact and bijou there is only space for one flower bed which I have put down the side of the garden and filled with the old fashioned flowers I love, Lupins, Lavenders, Foxgloves and cottage garden mixes. To ensure there is plenty of colour dotted throughout I also made up lots of pots. To make the terracotta pots looks slightly older and weathered I painted them with yogurt and left them to mould for a few weeks outside. I always use lots of ivy in my pots as I like the slightly wild Miss Havisham quality it gives and it also acts as a great filler to go alongside your other plants. I tend to always stick to one colour palette in my pots as I feel it adds real burst of colour.
My next job was paint the gardens decking. It was the usual brown varnished wood you see in every garden and to my eyes very ugly. I decided I wanted to paint it pink and struggled for some time to find any deck or exterior paint in the right shade (or any shade of pink actually) finally I stumbled on the idea of boat paint and tracked down a supplier who made me up a pot of petal pink boat paint which would withstand the weather and being walked on.

Betty's Arbour. With handmade cushions for extra lazy comfort
I really wanted a little arbour to sit in and read so found an inexpensive one from an online garden furniture company. It arrived unassembled and in plain wood so I painted the whole thing white with exterior paint. I then painted the inside of the seat and alternate slats on the small peaked roof with an eco friendly estate eggshell paint by Farrow and ball  part of their national heritage range. I love this shade of duck egg blue and also used it on my gate and the shed (more of which later)
Big Up Blighty Chic with wooden bunting
To add some "Big Up Blighty" chic to the arbour I also added a string of wooden union jack bunting. I found these on ebay and just gave them a quick varnishing to weather proof .
Something we really needed was some storage for our gardening equipment so we decided to buy a shed. There are some truly breathtaking sheds on the market-sadly none of which were in my budget so I ordered a very cheep shed from  very 
Because the space we had to put it in was quite small we were quite restricted in our choice but I was really happy with the look of the two door shed we found.When it arrived though I nearly cried. It looked so ugly and well, brown, in my lovely little garden and I was suddenly not sure I could make it look how I wanted.
The original shed-Not quite what I had in mind

Reminding myself of the lovely beach huts I had seen in Brighton I set to work making it over. I was like a woman possessed. I could see the shed from my kitchen window and it was so awful I just had to make it pretty. Using the same pink boat paint I had sourced for the decking and the duck egg Farrow and Ball paint from the arbour I set about painting each plank of wood alternate colours to try and give it a seaside look.

Its been Bettied! The Shed in its coat of many colours
I replaced the door handles with some quirky spoon and fork door furniture I had found in the bargain bucket at B and Q years ago. I had never really found anywhere they would work but they looked fantastic on the sheds door.

Fork and Spoon Door Handles
I wanted the shed to have something "fancy" on the peak of its roof so added a wooden union jack heart and some smaller hearts underneath

I heart my shed now
Yet again I added some of the wooden union jack bunting to finish it off. The bunting and heart were by east of India 

Now the view from my kitchen window makes me smile, not cry
My next misson was to buy some garden furniture. I've always loved the french style white wrought iron style and was lucky enough to find a set in the  Homebase sale. With four chairs and a lovely little table it was perfect and meant we could eat outside on sunny days. I found a beautiful old table cloth at a jumble sale (the edges are hand crocheted) and dyed it bright red to brighten it up and it works perfectly. Some lavender in a jar adds the finishing touch.

The wrought iron garden chairs and table
My little girl enjoying the garden-drinking out of her favourite butterfly china cup
I also wanted some deck chairs and as a writer and such an avid reader I couldn't resist these penguin book chairs.Combining three of my favourite things, sitting down, reading and the garden.
This is Nicky Rockets  deckchair-sending a wish that one day he may get one (a  big sleep)
This is my deck chair. Also sending a wish out into the universe. To have a quiet room to work
To create an interesting corner I added an old  fireplace I had found in an alley. I had originally thought to put it in my house but as I lent it against the wall it seemed somehow to fit and I loved the slight surreal element of having a cast iron fireplace in a garden.
The garden fireplace-with a tree growing out of it
And here is the finished garden. From ruin to place of loveliness in just a few weekends (the flower beds take longer but hey that's gardening)

The garden-small but beautiful

 If you have a less than beautiful outdoor space or feel your garden is simply too small to see as anything other than somewhere to hang the washing and store the wheelie bin I hope my ideas will spur you on to get outside and turn your postage stamp into a gorgeous garden.

If you like quirky interiors and easy peasy craft projects  and want to see more then hop on over to my Crafts page  Its jam packed with ideas for your home, garden and crafts.

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