My (old) house garden…

Right now I am totally immersed in garden planning and I’ll be chatting about that soon, but first it occurred to me that I don’t think I ever shared my old garden, before we moved house. The new garden is a pretty decent size and unusually large for where we live. It’s nothing compared to some country dwellers, but for urban Manchester suburbs, its big. (London readers will relate!) The old house was a 3 up, 3 down, typical mid-terrace and had a yard at the back when we moved in. It was 4 metres square but we had patio doors going out onto it from the kitchen and it was South West facing. We had never had our own outdoor space before, so I was determined to make somewhere we could relax.

Image by Lawson Photography

It ended up being a relatively cheap and easy project. When we moved in the ‘yard’ was concreted over entirely and the developer we bought the house from had added a square deck kit over the top, directly out from the kitchen patio doors, which happened to be the shadiest part of the garden.) There were also some decking material planters with cheap bedding plants in them and it couldn’t have looked more hasty, ill considered or ugly. The pictures don’t give a great overall view (they were taken for the Good Homes magazine feature on my old home by Laura and Peter Lawson.) but you can get the gist here that we created a courtyard garden that still had room for growing plants and greenery.

Here is one of my own photos from above showing the layout:

Image by Rebecca @

What we did:

  • Paid someone to come and remove the decking and drill up the concrete yard.
  • Marked off an L shaped border at the back left and to the right of the gate for plants, edged with Victorian style terracotta rope edging.
  • Built two steps down from the back door with indian stone slabs and a simple brick layer to create the steps. (I’ve linked to B&Q but check your local builders yard for the best prices on garden hard landscaping.)
  • Laid an Indian stone patio in the sunniest corner of the garden, with stepping stones of indian stone straight out of the back door to the back gate and from the patio to the back gate.

Image by Lawson Photography

  • Laid weed supressing membrane and put golden gravel down over it.
  • Put in a trellis panel to hide the side return where our bins were stored.
  • Planted climbing plants to cover the walls (Left wall – shade loving Clibing hydrangea, Pyracantha for berries and where it got sunnier a Ceanothus for the stunning blue flowers; On the right side we had climbing roses and a Clematis Montana.)
  • Planted the borders and some pots for an overflowing look. These were cheap plants bought mostly in the supermarkets with a couple of David roses too

Image by Lawson Photography

It ended up being a kind of cottage garden meets Mediterranean garden, with the overflowing relaxed style of the cottage garden but with plants that withstood the dry heat microclimate that the walled courtyard created. We had an olive tree by the back door! The pictures here show it about 6 years after completion so it was maturing and the hard landscaping was blending in to look like it had always been there (along with some weeds creeping in, but hey, that’s life!)

Image by Lawson Photography

It really was like my personal oasis and because the walls held the heat we were able to eat out there most dry nights in the summer. I can’t wait to create something equally cosy and inviting but on a grander scale in this house!

Image by Lawson Photography

It seemed timely to talk about Gardens now as everyone is thinking about getting outside… have you got any garden plans this year?


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14 thoughts on “My (old) house garden…

  1. Oh yes. We moved into our house about a year ago. Last summer with a new baby we just watched, to see what we have – lots of lovely plants, not a clue what they are or what to do with them.
    Over winter we cleared some ( not as much as we should) of the borders, dug up old roots etc. we want to have a veggie patch, we have some trees that need to be professionally cut back, but finding the time to do it is a struggle.
    One fun thing I did find though is a app called plantsnap – take a photo of an unknown plant, upload it, and they tell you what it is and how to care for it. Genius.

  2. I am obsessed with other peoples gardens (likely because we live in a third floor flat with a postage stamp balcony!) and always love seeing what people do with their spaces.

    Despite having a teeny tiny balcony we are planning to make the most of it this summer and are painting it, and planting up window boxes and a wall planter. I’ve also signed up to a local guerrilla gardening group who plant up disused public spaces

  3. i love the romance of a walled garden. I’m pining for the walled garden that existed in the house we almost bought this time last year but the sellers decided not to sell a week from exchange πŸ™ Still, things happen for a reason so we weren’t supposed to have that house. Instead, once the inside is done, we are going to change our current garden a little so that we utilise our top patio more (it’s a lovely sun trap until around 8pm in the summer) and make sure Calum and the new baby have space to play. There’s nothing nicer than spending time in the garden when the weather is nice, even though ours is only 12ft x 40ft! Xx

  4. Oooooh I love a good garden feature πŸ™‚ We moved into our house in June last year and the garden had been well landscaped by previous owners (so that didn’t need changing) but the owner before us clearly liked green. There was very little colour in the garden and while it looked neat, it wasn’t very fun! I’ve never been much of a gardener but I did a lot of clearing in the autumn and re-dug some of the beds (it’s a tiered garden so there’s lots of different levels) which were mostly gravelled over and planted some bulbs. It’s paid off as we’ve had some lovely colour already this spring which I’m really pleased with. I’m trying to plant perennials mostly to build up the garden. And hoping that the plants and flowers that I added over the Easter weekend keep the colour going through the summer πŸ™‚ We have decking that the dining room French doors open onto, so hoping for lots of sunshine so I can sit and enjoy the garden this year!

  5. This is perfectly timed for me ad just moved into my own Chorlton terrace with walled garden! In fact I have spend the past hour reading back through some of your old posts as I am pregnant! Good job I bookmarked them all! πŸ™‚

  6. We are hopefully getting our shady town garden done in a few weeks and have decided to get artificial grass. The lawn has never done well and rather than hard landscaping over the whole things a fake lawn looks to be a soft but lazy alternative. Can’t wait.

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