Making A House Our Home: The Garden
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
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When we moved here, the garden was an absolute jungle. There was a grotty shed with a crumbling summerhouse attached to it, the lawn was several feet high and full of nettles and the whole thing felt completely unloved, BUT it was a great space and had so much potential.
We mowed the lawn, planted some flowers and we tried to make it lovely. Each time my parents came to visit, they would help with weeding and trying to brighten it up and it was okay for a while, but it was never really anywhere we wanted to spend time.
Then Covid arrived, and while I had previously worked from home at a desk in the dining room (before Evie was born), Sam ended up sitting at the kitchen table to work. Our downstairs is all open plan, so it wasn’t ideal with two kids, and we spent lockdown at my parents planning what we could do to make a proper office space.
Sam had always wanted a proper summerhouse in the garden, and we decided now was the time to do it. We chatted to our builders about what we wanted, and decided that we would do the whole garden. The summerhouse (or garden room as Dougie calls it) was going to be the width of the garden (6m) and come out 3.5m. We wanted space for Sam to work, but also a sofa bed for my parents and generally an area we could relax in. We also had a spare fridge so we thought we could put that in there, along with a little drinks station. We also needed a shed space for storage, and factored that in too.
Garden and outdoor space
We wanted the outdoor space to look good, but also be child-friendly. When we were choosing our patio tiles, we opted for a sandblasted effect so even if they get wet, they aren’t slippery. I love real grass, and wanted to keep ours, but for maintenance etc, we decided to swap to artificial grass. We had about 20 different samples arrive (that was fun to clean up afterwards!) and we chose one that we thought looked and felt most like the real thing.
I was so impressed with the builders. The whole transformation took just 11 days. They built the garden room from scratch, fitting it perfectly to the shape of our garden.
The paving stones were cut to fit the patio and path to the house, so they’re a mix of different shapes and sizes which I think looks great, and while I’d had my doubts about the artificial grass, I absolutely love it now. We have a random palm tree in our garden which looked a bit weird before, but now it’s a pretty cool feature – and Beth kindly got us a solar-powered flamingo to sit next to it so we obviously immediately forget we’re in Surrey, and feel like we’re on a tropical island somewhere…
Inside the garden room
The builders gave the garden room two coats of white paint, and while initially they had just done a concrete screed floor, we bought laminate flooring which they laid for us. They also put in six spotlights and six double plug sockets.
We decided we wanted a feature wall, and were kindly sent some amazing wallpaper from Photowall. It’s a gorgeous leaf print called Exotic Leaves, and I absolutely love it. It was relatively straightforward to put up (although full credit to my amazing parents for doing the majority of it…I was more project manager…) with everything we needed included. It was so helpfully labelled that it meant it was easy to get the print aligned perfectly.
Furniture was the next big thing we needed. We did go to a few furniture stores with the idea of getting a sofa bed on finance, but when a three-seater sofa bed located five minutes away from us popped up on Facebook marketplace it was a no-brainer, and I’m really glad we went for that. Sam chose his desk from a shop on Etsy, and it’s perfect, he absolutely loves it. We also ordered a coffee table and ladder shelf from Vasagle – great price, lovely quality and thankfully very easy to put together!
Then it was all in the detail. A coffee machine, a kettle, and a beer pump machine thing for Sam… We bought a TV and the plan is to mount it on the feature wall. I moved some of my books onto the ladder shelf and we got some plants, scented candles and plenty of blankets. I even found some palm print cushion covers at IKEA which match the wallpaper perfectly! Dougie and Evie have a few toys out there, and we’ve been able to enjoy the last few weeks of summer in our garden which has been amazing.
Since the work has been done, Sam is able to spend his days working at his desk, and we’ve spent pretty much every evening in there. When the days are warm and sunny, we have the bi-folds wide open, we can relax in the garden, or sit in the shade of the garden room.
We’ve literally managed to create a whole new zone for our home, and I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve done.