The final instalment on the transformation of mum’s courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.
I’ve now finished the regeneration of this shady dark corner of my mum’s courtyard garden.
The main issues we took on were;
- No-where to sit
- Dogs use the garden as a toilet
- Dark corner
- Limited planting
- Uneven, ugly, crazy-paving floor which was a safety issue as well as unsightly
- Level changes
- Access required through space
How did we do?
The white walls really brighten and tidy the space. It now looks like a planned garden area as opposed to a leftover storage area. The seat was bought off amazon and softens the square boundaries.
Taking a step back – you can see another layer of slate rocks was added to the steps to form a restraint for the new gravel. This achieved a few things. Firstly, the gravel leaves a simple uniform base to unclutter the space (this was especially needed after the single raised bed idea was thrown out in favour of vintage agricultural reclamation). It also meant that an area near the step that pools water is now raised to avoid it getting slippy and means one level here rather than 3 smaller steps down.
The gravel is Blue Slate Chippings (sourced from a local company who delivered it very quickly) and it’s perfect. There were companies offering it cheaper than what we paid (£170 for 850kg bulk bag delivered inc VAT) but we liked the idea of supporting a local business and that we’d be able to pop down the road to get a few more matching bags if we ran out.
Taking a step back to see the new steps retaining the gravelA wide shows you the change where the large storage structure was. This space is now much larger to the eye. It also gives a home to the tree fern. From here you can see the two trees which shall grow above the fence line on clear stems. This will free up space for planting below and allow the canopies to block the view over neighbouring homes.
The unusual shapes of the grain hopper and zinc bath add interest but also perform a practical role of lifting plants up and away from the dogs’ attentions. The plants in the main beds have been chosen to be more resistant to dog urine with thicker leaves (ferns, euphorbia, etc).
How this space links with the rest of the garden
The main sight-line from the courtyard and the bench runs to the greenhouse. That area wasn’t originally due to be redone at this time but we had a lot of gravel left over so decided to go with it. The gravel here makes the path look wider and forms a link between the two areas. When we replant the border on the right the plan is to include some plants that will feature in both areas to achieve the same unity.
You can see below the way the layout of the garden is in two parts. There is the main terrace outside the patio doors, where the seating area has been created, and a lower area, with greenhouse, shed, pond, and a small herbaceous border. By continuing the gravel all the way to the shed we clearly delineate two separate areas and reduce the number of surfaces to just two instead of three.
I’m really pleased with how things have turned out and I’m pleased that my mum loves her new sitting area. It was interesting negotiating design changes with the garden’s owner – I didn’t get my way on the raised beds but I still like the finished product – and it’s nice to see the finished product for all the effort put in.