In my dreams, I stroll gently to the French windows each morning, steaming herb tea in my hand, white dressing gown wafting around my shapely, perfectly smooth legs and look out at a garden that looks a bit like this.
Unfortunately, along with the legs, dressing gown, tea and occasionally opening French doors, this particular garden does not exist.
This one does.
In company with the decorative state of my house, I have not been an overwhelmingly successful gardener. I have a friend who seems to effortlessly make things GROW in her, beautifully planned, designed and executed so it looks like a magazine. My garden only looks good in Spring. After that, it all goes terribly wrong. It’s a shame really because – for a new build – we have a really big garden, south facing (so a bit hot at times) but with plenty of places to grow things. Unfortunately we moved in in a hurry and needed to get turf and patio down on to mud so we had somewhere for a Summer to happen for 4 small girls. We couldn’t have all that mud trampled on the previously mentioned beige carpets. We made a huge mistake in that we patio-ed the bit of lawn that gets all day sun and the lawn has sunk, been mole chewed and rabbit dug and generally it all looks a bit messy.
So I thought I would try and win it a makeover. Having done the planning I’m about to share with you, I’m now terribly excited about it all. Goodness, I love Pinterest.
I had a good think about the needs of all of us while I was putting my plans together and came up with a hit list of bases I need to cover. With such a wide range of ages and needs, it is quite a tall order.
- energy burning activity
- colour and beauty
- shape and interest
- lawn to mow (without upsetting tricky bits)
- sunbathing space
- nature and exploration
Things to keep Bene entertained are likely to be the biggest things; I fell totally in love with two of the products from Activity Toys Direct…
I think the Ranch Playhouse would double as storage in the Winter or if things like our beloved Didicar needed to be stowed away, so that covers that. We’ve got a big garage, so tools etc live there anyway.
The biggest change would have to be the structure of the garden. The lawn needs leveling and the patio would be better moved to the other side, which gets more shade and doesn’t grow stuff easily. The rabbits need a new hutch and something like this would improve the look and give us more space, plus make them more accessible to all the kids.
Josie is a lover of whimsy (and I’m not far behind her) and will play for hours at little games and houses. I’d find a corner, fill it with flowers and privacy and make her a fairy world.
I’d love to get back to growing herbs and veg again too and if we had less patio and lawn, we could do more of that. Raised beds, creative use of pots and buckets and baskets… it would take money and effort but I think we could make it work. I’ve added small but real tools and a planting shelf to my board too, to encourage the kids to do more of this with me.
The garden badly needs some height and a reason to sit out in the evening and enjoy the moment. Some lights would encourage them all to stay out later I think – I miss the lovely old days of them playing out until late in the evening.
I’ve also pinned an embedded into the lawn trampoline – oh how they would love that! – and an outdoor blackboard. Judging by Bene’s wall art in the house today, this would be a GOOD idea!
Along with play, relaxation and sensory input, I want to bring the elements and nature into the garden. I also believe that, while children need to be safe, exploring and being alongside things which can be dangerous if not understood, is really important. So, earth, water, fire and air – variously safe or potentially fearsome but all beautiful – would feature too.
As you can see from the board, I’ve pinned all the images I’ve used and where they are in bunches, you can find a direct link back on there. And there is one final element to our garden – the flowers.
What I want in my garden is to have blossoming bunches of all the flowers which we have deep, personal, family connections with – daffodils, poppies, sunflowers, irises, roses, magnolias and, of course, daffodils, for our darling lost little boy. I can’t think of a better way to make our garden perfect than to fill it with all of those.
This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition.