‘Our space is Now Hidden away’
Stylist at Home Toni, 34, transformed her family’s overlooked outdoor area into a relaxing retreat with complete privacy
Period properties can throw up anomalies but, for us, it wasn’t the interior that was problematic, but rather the exterior,’ says Toni. ‘Having inherited a small garden overlooked by our neighbours, our plot felt a little bit exposed, so entertaining or relaxing outside wasn’t really an option.
What’s more, at just 6 x 3 metres, it was hardly the largest space to work with and, while privacy was an overriding priority, we were worried that adding the high fencing we craved would result in a cramped and claustrophobic courtyard. However, with our family reluctant to spend time in the open area, we decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with our plans.
Our first task was to remove the rotted fencing and fit new panels. I purposely chose a design with open-slat detailing to allow more light to come into the garden. Luckily we were able to use the existing fixing plates, which made our job of replacing the posts, panels and gate easier.
However, we weren’t quite so fortunate when it came to our one and only plant, as we soon realised the honeysuckle hedge was dying in sections. With the agreement of our neighbour, we decided to swap it for more fencing – although, I did later try to replicate its perfume with new planting. The transformation of the garden, however, was fantastic, as it instantly felt intimate.
Our initial plan had been to replace the worn flagstones, but the presence of a manhole cover and drainage wasn’t that appealing, so while we tried to agree on a suitable covering, we painted the fence in my chosen shade of grey. Then when we were stocking up on paint, we stumbled across our solution – artificial grass.
Chris was the one who suggested it, and although I was sceptical at first, I think the finished result looks great. Rather than cover the entire garden, we also installed
‘Pressure -treated timber furniture is very Practical as it can be left out all year round and shouldn’t require annual maintenance’
decking outside the French windows to add interest and define the dining area.
as we already had an old metal table and chairs, these were spray painted for an instant update. i also wanted an arbour, but soon realised the space was too small. instead, we decided on a modular seating arrangement that’s made from sleepers – it’s an all-weather timber solution. We chose two benches with planters, which are now filled with lavender, and a table.
With everything almost complete, i still felt we needed more planting, but didn’t want to blow the budget. a trip home to my family’s farm led to the idea of using trough planters, which are a cheaper alternative. ours are now blooming with honeysuckle, jasmine and verbena bonariensis.
Chris, meanwhile, built a handy storage unit from old scaffold planks and decking offcuts – it’s great, as it hides the wall meters. and while we did go over budget – mainly due to our choice of fencing and furniture – it was well worth the cost, as we now have privacy in our pretty garden.’