Once upon a time, long long ago I vowed never to share my garden on here or Instagram. Somewhere half way between council tip and car breakers yard it is the bane of my life along with being a constant embarrassment. And believe me it takes a special skill to create this amount of havoc. When the boys were tiny I kept it ticking over. And then somehow it just stopped being used apart from the odd BBQ. Then the dreaded car phase started. They all want a classic and to do them up. Only they didn’t want to tidy up. So I closed the back door only stepping foot into the garden when absolutely necessary, trying to avoid looking left or right at the ever increasing ‘Stig Of The Dump’ vibe. So now I’m putting my brave pants on. Here are my makeover plans for our Victorian walled garden.
You probably remember that back in March I spent a fair few weeks working on operation ramp up the kerb appeal at the front of the house. Partly this had to be done because the windows and patches of render really did need attention. But also I was putting off the inevitable that is and was my back garden. In a way maybe I should have done it first but you see I am not great at gardening and well not very confident to get started. So towards the end of the front of house renovation my heart started to sink in the knowledge of what laid ahead. But then I read two fabulous posts on ‘JP’s Life And Loves‘ called ‘How To Create A Small But Perfectly Formed Garden Parts One and Two. And inspiration hit just like that.
DISASTER AREA RIGHT??
Right, there you go! My current garden situation. It’s not pretty is it? Nor is it a big garden and sadly it’s square so a bit of an awkward shape. To aid in my embarrassment levels it is also visible from three sides. Well technically two as one side has obscure glass and can only see us if they pop their heads out of the windows. Can you tell why I was putting off the inevitable here? I’m wittering on like an old fish wife! Right, there it is then…. Be gentle with me and know that if your garden also needs tending it can in no way look as bad as my starting point.
Looking towards the house. Bare in mind the shot above is actually after work commenced! The two windows on the left were completely rotten and the door to the outhouse was off its hinges! And yes, the tiny window next to the door has no glass in it. And where there is new render was bare brick. My second attempt at rendering. Not perfect but it has stayed on the walls. And yes that is actually a car on the grass!!!!!! Hell what am I saying, there is no grass. This has had new turf 5 times in the last 23 years. And every time it ends up looking like this again within 3-5 years. Nothing will grow on it apart from weeds. Now for the other side, are you ready?
OH MY! WHAT A FINE CROP OF DANDELIONS YOU HAVE THERE, SAID NO ONE…… EVER
Yes that is actually a car bumper on my table on my ‘was once’ patio. It is over run with dandelions and all the pointing has gone. And the garden furniture though still usable is ugly and going rusty. Believe me this is not the true before either. The wall to the left was falling down. Not that you could initially tell what with 8 foot high ivy covering it. I stripped this off and repointed it earlier this year. You can see a couple of coping stones are still missing in the corner and the wall to the right is a miss match after it fell down about 8 years ago. And was never made level again. All in all it’s a disaster area. Note also that what gravel we have left on the right has long since descended into the dirt.
What’s more I have no budget whatsoever to transform this space so it’s going to be an as and when I can kind of makeover. But then everyone has to have a starting point don’t they and just by sharing this my determination is more resolved than ever. I’m going to break the makeover down into smaller chunks. Looking at the whole is way to overwhelming. Breaking it into sections is the only way to make the project more manageable. Plus this way we might get at least one area looking good before the summer ends. And believe me, I will be persevering with this through the winter too. I want it complete and ready to go by next Summer. I really think it would be putting too much pressure on myself to aim to finish it this year.
So what’s the feel I’m going for? Well anyone who knows me also knows of my love affair with all things Italian. So with a nod to Instagram having seen Marakesh in Manchester, the Costa Del Sol in Cardiff and the Bahamas in Bradford, I’m going with Naples In Newton Abbot. Oh, it has such a ring to it 🙂 I want to recreate the feeling of being in a modern cosmopolitan city. One that is also rich in history and culture. OK, so I don’t want the graffiti but I do want the imperfect next to the perfect. The new next to the old and I want (obviously) pops of gold. Most importantly I would like some privacy too. Being in our garden is at times akin to living in a goldfish bowl.
I know it’s all a big ask as I really don’t have any spare cash to speak of but I figure if I get the words down on paper so to speak that I have made a start. A dedication to make this space work for us as a family. So what do you think of my walled Victorian garden makeover plans? Is it a goer? If you do leave a comment please be gentle with me, it’s taken quite a bit of courage to show you the utter disaster that is my current garden situation. Watch this space for updates as I head full on into my (loosely termed) garden.
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