I shared a before and after of our garden on Instagram the other day. Or I should say, a before and “during” because if there’s one part of a house that’s never really done I think it’s the garden. We’ve been here just over 6 years and it’s only really been the last year that we’ve decided to give it proper “make it look pretty” attention as opposed to just purely practical updates.
Lots of people would ask why bother at all when there’s still so much to do on the inside. We still don’t have a properly functioning guest room after more than half a decade and our en-suite is in desperate need of a makeover. Renovation experts would argue that the garden and any external features of the house can be left until last, so long as they’re not a liability to the house itself.
But what if you really don’t think that order matters and in the end it should just come down to what works for you, and budget constraints obviously. When we moved in, the first room that got a proper makeover was our little boxroom 4th bedroom. We knew we’d never need 3 spare rooms and it was ripe for turning into a little joint office. It probably also felt like a sensible thing to do, cutting our teeth on a smaller project.
It was 2016 when we did most of the work on the exterior of our 1930’s home, after replacing the windows showed the rest of it up to be dated and dingy. Re-rendering, painting hanging tiles, painting all the woodwork and replacing the front door furniture. I’m sure people must think the house is immaculate from the inside when they see the outside but our hallway is still in the unfinished state from my attempt to refurbish the staircase 5 years ago.
So why bother? If we’re always indoors, and the only people who see it from the outside are passers by and neighbours, shouldn’t we have spent that money somewhere else? The truth is though I do see it, every time I come home. Especially when I was still working full time, coming home to a house that looked every inch a home from the outside is so important to my mindset. Maybe deep down I do want to have something that looks presentable and doesn’t let the street down, who knows. I do know though that seeing our home looking smart and tidy as I come round the corner means so much more to me than a totally presentable spare room that will only be used once a year.
The same with the garden, too. I get why gardens are neglected during renovations as they’re often a dumping ground for building materials and/or part of the overall plans for extensions/landscaping. But if that’s not the case then again, to me, a garden is so much more of a consideration than a dining room or spare bedroom. Even our own bedroom which we do want to reconfigure has been pushed to the backburner ahead of a garden makeover and I don’t think I’ll ever regret that.
It’s become probably the third most important space in our home (the kitchen and living room are the others) especially in the time I’ve been here more. Even long ago though right when we first had Maddie as a puppy and I used to sit in the garden in August in the early hours toilet training her and watching the stars at night it felt so tranquil and like a little sanctuary away from the rest of the world. Now it’s that even more so. I love listening to the birds and pretending I know something about gardening, trying to grow our own veg and creating an extra room or living space outdoors.
I get SO much more value and use out of the garden than I thought I would and so if it means that our spare rooms are dumping grounds for another 5 years then so be it. There are no rules, there is no order. Just remember to do what works for you and a little request if I may – don’t neglect that garden as a last priority. You never know, it just become your favourite part of your home.