This is a post that I really need to get on and write, otherwise for once, the plans may become actions before I even get a chance to put finger to keyboard! For yes, it is “summer time” (anyone else left school two decades ago and still see summer as being six weeks long from end of July to beginning of September?) which means it’s full steam ahead for some more of our 1930s garden updates.
It’s a funny thing this outdoor space of ours, we’ve kind of left it to its own devices ever since we moved in because we always envisioned building a ground floor extension and then completely remapping the back garden. So it seemed foolish to waste any time or effort on doing anything. Now we’re not doing the extension to the same extent I feel like we have an opportunity to really make the most of our green living room and try and show it some love.
Here’s some of our ideas which will hopefully be fairly affordable and just need a bit (a lot?) of effort.
A few years ago our lovely neighbours on one side and I cleared the entire length of overgrown brambles and bushes and they fenced all the way down. It was an absolute godsend since Maddie made it her mission on a regular basis to find weaknesses in the bushes and escape. The fence improved our quality of life dramatically and means we can just leave the patio doors open now without having to be out there to watch her. But we did make a big boo-boo when we painted them and opted for a very safe but very tango coloured fence paint.
It’s one of those weird ones where I think we both thought the colour was wrong but didn’t say anything to each other until just recently when we mooted the idea of going dark. Since it’s a typical 1930s garden ie long and narrow without much plant coverage at the moment, we knew a straight black would be too overbearing for the space and have opted instead for Urban Slate by Cuprinol. I’ve just finished painting as much of the fence as exists at the and it looks amazing, such a transformation and really helps unify the fencing which had all been added at different times and was therefore different shades of brown.
Now we have to tackle the left-hand side of the garden. It’s currently a combination of falling in fence at the top, which has been falling in ever since we moved in and recently got worse. On Thursday I have a very clever fenceman coming who is going to reinforce all the way along it and that means it will then be ready for painting along with the back garden gate. We’ve also got some concrete slabs up there to dig out and will then hopefully be able to lay a bark mulch and prepare for planting.
That leaves the left-hand side that doesn’t currently have a proper fence and is made up of some large shrubs and a chainlink. We’ve decided to get this fenced properly all the way down and it feels pretty exciting. We lose quite a lot of light into the garden from the shrubs here, none of which we planted or are anything special. Starting with a blank canvas will enable us to really create a garden we love and enjoy so all being well, the remainder of the fencing will be done in the next 2-3 weeks and then guess what? More painting! It will make such a difference though to our outdoor space, views from the house and adding value.
The patio has been on my slow project list for quite a while now. Last year I did a spectacularly last minute Indian summer makeover, buying a couple of outdoor sofas and stringing up some festoon lighting. This year things like painting the back door from the kitchen, getting the patio jetwashed and painting the drainpipes have really started to smarten the space up, as well as pulling down two rotting cupboards. The only downside though to jetwashing is its revealed our patio to be a very nondescript cream colour – it would look beautiful in the Cotswolds but looks entirely out of place in our London home. So the next plan is to paint the retaining wall around it and the patio itself, although the colour and if there will be any patio pattern is TBC. Keep your eyes peeled but I’m pretty sure the end result will look SO much better than the current state.
I always feel so pretentious calling the building at the bottom of our 1930s garden an outbuilding rather than a garage but that’s the truth – it’s not a garage and there’s no way of getting a car into it even though we fill it will tools and rubbish we don’t want in the house. Eventually we’d love to completely transform it but who knows when we’ll have funds for that.
When we moved in back in 2014, there was a little tiny patch of ivy growing in one corner as you look at it from the house. That ivy now covers the entire of one wall so as we’ll be getting a skip for the rest of the vegetation we need to clear, it’s time to pull the ivy off and then have some fun painting this wall which will then be the backdrop for a hanging garden. It’s a massive wall so the potential for creativity is endless and I know I’ll quickly get bored looking at a blank canvas.
A Top Garden Seating Area
With a long 1930s garden like ours, we’re lucky that the sun hits different parts of the garden at different times. The top corner by the outbuilding has always been most neglected – we think maybe there was a swingset or something up here from the previous owners because grass refuses to grow. It needs another purpose and would make a lovely little seating area up at the top looking back towards the house, perfect to get that early morning sun and then shady in the afternoon. My plan is to carry on digging out the bed a little further up on the right hand side and then create a kind of semi-circular area where we could pop a couple of chairs or a bench.
I never imagined myself as a gardener or even wanting to cultivate space outdoors but because we do live in such a peaceful patch of London it makes having that 1930s garden a total joy. Plus Boo & Maddie love it too. It’s definitely long overdue some love and attention so hopefully by the time autumn rolls around it will be looking quite a bit different. Watch this space!