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How to make a small area in your garden look nice, and exciting

Updated on October 5, 2015
This is it now, take a look at how we got there.
This is it now, take a look at how we got there.
We had to knock down the old garden walls.
We had to knock down the old garden walls.
We began to realise it was going to be a big job!
We began to realise it was going to be a big job!
The lads have been busy.
The lads have been busy.

Get as many quotes as you can.


Whenever you take on this sort of project, always make sure that you get plenty of quotes from different sources. Check the internet, and then go look and if you don’t like the look of it move on.

Love Gardening



I’ve always loved gardening, but some years again I had to stop, beaten by a bad back and other ailments, so three years ago I began a new garden project.

I do have a large back garden, but I wondered what I could do with an area 25’ x 30’.

I thought it might be easier to garden in containers and so we decided a make a Mediterranean style courtyard, not so easy in the north of England with it’s cold winters and late springs.

There is no doubt that if you unclutter any area it will look bigger. I wanted the sense of space but I also wanted color and lots of planting. So I started with a completely empty area and then added pots and things, putting them as close to the walls as I could. Also the walls themselves have been used as planting areas allowing me to get different heights for my plants which creates a feeling that the area is much bigger than it is.

We dug into the slope of the garden to level it out, by hand, we could have used a digger, but the builder’s lads were confident they could do it. They didn’t realise there was a 100 tons to move. As we dug back, we realised that we were going to need quite a flight of steps to allow access to the rest of the garden.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT


If you can not do the planning yourself, get help, BUT GET QUOTES from landscapers or planners; in the long run it could save you an awful lot of problems later.

You should also check with your local planning department that you are okay to go ahead, or they may come along and tell you to put things back as they were.

So you may need to put in a planning application and don't forget building regulations; they can make you take it all down too.

if you need to dig new foundations make sure you know where the underground services are.

The first wall removed.
The first wall removed.
we only left half of one wall of original the rest went.
we only left half of one wall of original the rest went.
where the old door was is now a six foot wide window that has great views over the town.
where the old door was is now a six foot wide window that has great views over the town.

Dad's Den



Next decision was to knock down the old garage and replace it with a studio come anything out building. The biggest problem was where to put all the junk we had accumulated over the last twenty years. You know how it goes, ‘we need to keep this because…it may come in useful, it belongs to your Mum, and so on. The kid’s bikes, three old lawn mowers, toolboxes cluttered with oil filters and parts for cars that long since went to the scrap yard, old school books and broken anything. Most went to where it should have gone a decade before; the town dump.


The walls were made double so that we could fill the cavity with insulation, to give extra sound proofing as well as heat retention. A main road runs about thirty feet away down the side of the garden which is sometimes a bit noisy.




A space left to cut the new steps.
A space left to cut the new steps.
Shelf has added more area for planters
Shelf has added more area for planters

Love your garden


I had the builder add a shelf the full length of one wall to give us another level for planting, a step halfway down gave it a little more character I think. This level has really been worthwhile, we flagged it too and it has added such a lot of extra planting opportunities.


This year's planting has been a riot of color and real joy, fortunately we've had the weather to enjoy it too.

Vegetables.


This year we have also grown a wide variety of vegetables including; tomatoes, potatoes, pease, peppers, strawberries, French beans in planters and pots. This year's special was about fifty peaches, a little small but beautifully sweet.

Indian Sandstone, a beautiful addition.
Indian Sandstone, a beautiful addition.


We wanted sandstone flagstones, but local ones were really out of my budget so I went and bought some from Lancashire imported from India. They are beautiful, full of colour and texture, a shame they look at their best when wet. Now that they have been down a couple of years they have weathered well and the colours are more prominent. The saving was more than £30 per square metre, the garden needed 57 sq metres so you can see it was a massive saving.

The walls all the way around were rendered with weatherproof plaster and painted Magnolia, a soft colour easier on the eye than pure white.

We had a gate made to measure by a local welder, who did a great job and treated the metal before dipping it to make sure it never rusts, well not in my lifetime anyway. An built in lock has added extra security to the back of the house and garden.

we also added wall lights and a spot light with a motion sensor, which has proved very useful.


snow stopped work for over a month. Cement and concrete don't like below zero temperatures
snow stopped work for over a month. Cement and concrete don't like below zero temperatures


The out building was double-glazed and the roof cavity filled with insulation before sealing it in with extra thick insulated tiles. It has been worth it, because it required very little heating even in the coldest of winter days and believe me it was certainly cold this year.


This has made the garden my office and my place of recreation too. Fully sound proofed I can play my music as loud as I want.


Being an artist I like sculptures, so two copper finished modern art pieces were added to the wall and various garden ornaments have been placed about the garden.

It was completed in about May 2010 just in time for us to start adding planters and ceramic pots, and also the barbecue [an essential piece of garden equipment.]


The future.

Our next project is to do something with the upper part of the garden which is about sixty feet long with a slight slope towards the house. Maybe you might have some ideas, if you do I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Apple Blossom Time
Apple Blossom Time | Source
Apple blossom
Apple blossom | Source
apple pie time, yummy
apple pie time, yummy | Source
A Quiet corner; a place to dream
A Quiet corner; a place to dream | Source

Comments

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    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      5 years ago from Yorkshire

      taff

      thanks for the link will put a link here too.

      Regards

      Tony

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 

      5 years ago from South Wales

      Great project Tony. Ain't it nice when its finished? Linked up to my summer project.

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      sangre, thanks for returning the visit. We are having a terrible summer weather wise, but it is still a great area to enjoy and to work from.

      regards

      Tony

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      It sure turned out fantastic. All the hard work was worth it in the end. :) Just goes to show what you can do with small spaces and some imagination.

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      Stessily

      what a pleasure to hear from you again. I'm already working on the plans for the rest of the garden, my builder is a good chap, but getting him to commit to a time is another thing.

      I'm glad I made the photo log of the work, because it came in very useful for this hub.

      Are you still library hopping?

      thank you for your comments.

      ttfn

    • profile image

      stessily 

      6 years ago

      Tony, This is the best garden design article I have ever come across. It's clearly presented and beautifully illustrated with pertinent, lovely images. I chuckled about the garage's hoard of junk --- excuse me, I mean, treasures! --- from

      "the last twenty years. You know how it goes, ‘we need to keep this because…it may come in useful, it belongs to your Mum, and so on. The kid’s bikes, three old lawn mowers, toolboxes cluttered with oil filters and parts for cars that long since went to the scrap yard, old school books and broken anything."

      Your studio is surely a place of inspiration and contentment. Those sandstones from India convey serenity in a pleasing earthy palette. All the votes.

      Truly exceptional! I look forward to your travelogue through the upper garden.

      ta ta for now, Stessily

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      Derdriu

      No, unfortunatly the walls are in need of repainting. The idea was to create an outdoor space that didn't just feel like a garden, but an extension to the house. I am delighted with it and this year I hope to attack the upper garden which is about 70 foot long, so lots of oppertunites for creating separate areas of interest.

      Thank you for votes, interesting comments, and general interest.

      regards Tony

    • profile image

      Derdriu 

      6 years ago

      Tony, How generous of you to share such a helpful, practical, useful way to make a small attractive garden look hugely attractive! In particular, I enjoy the harmony of information through text and pretty pictures, especially of your dogs sniffing around ... to make sure that the work's getting done properly ;-]. The final results look such a haven of creativity what with your art, music, writing studio nearby and your art and plants just outside the studio door.

      Do the walls remain that white? What's being done about the upper garden?

      Thank you for sharing, voted up + all.

      Respectfully, Derdriu

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      Hi Bredandagnes

      thanks for the comment and taking a look at my hub, I shall make a point of looking you up. Sound proofing is great, I play guitar and keyboards and I can really go for it whenever I choose. I'm just getting started this year in the garden, more expense.

      cheers

      Tony

    • bredandagnes profile image

      bredandagnes 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      I live in the West of Ireland and love this hub. Also love the photos.Have two teenage sons who play music-soundproofing sounds great!

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      Yes it is very easy to be way laid from doing anything in summer and spring when there is so much to do in the garden. The first summer after the garden was built was just fantastic, when every new addition was exciting. I'm looking at it now and longing for the spring to come so I can get rid of the winter mess.

      cheers

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I love your container garden, Tony. It does have a holiday look about it. How lovely to have your new office nearby with such a charming view! (The only problem may be getting any writing done....)

      JAYE

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      Hi Phil

      thanks for dropping by.

      It was well worth it, and with hindsight there are a few things I'd change, but that's always the case.We shifted a hundred tons of dirt or there abouts, now this year I'm beginning to plan what to do with the rest of the garden.

      cheers tony

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Quite the significant project, the results are very impressive.

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      hi Izeco,

      many thanks for comment and calling in. It is my pride and joy these days, a real sun trap with a holiday feel to it.

    • iZeko profile image

      iZeko 

      6 years ago

      The shelf planting idea is really great! I love what you’ve done with the space.

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      HI Rosie writes

      Thank you for your comments, a lot of work as you can imagine but well worth the effort, I hope to do a hub about the different tubs and the choice of plants.

      Hi Kashmir56

      many thanks for the vote and visit, you can enjoy the smallest of gardens, as long as there is somewhere to put up your feet and something to rest the beer on.

      cheers

      Tony

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very interesting and useful information within this well written hub,love all the photos you use as well .I love to garden has well but i only make a small garden now .

      Vote up !!!

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      Nicely done! I love all the pots on the shelf and patio.

    working

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