Some people have the enviable ability to put a collection of random things together to transform their home and garden into something extra special.
They forage around car boot and jumble sales to find odd bits of fabric, tatty bits of furniture to renovate and other knick knacks with such fanaticism that even the Wombles are put to shame.
And then there are the other sort who, like me, instead of possibilities and art, see all that is shabby rather than chic. We need help, serious help otherwise our living spaces and gardens will be more ‘Stig of the dump’ than artfully arranged master classes in design.
My garden is what you might term bijou. Having recently extended the house, the long narrow shape that we once had is now, well, short and narrow. I had had it on reliable authority from those ‘in the know’ that there are all sorts of tips and tricks you can employ to fool the eye and visually extend your garden paradise.
Trouble is, I had absolutely no idea how to do it. I want a garden that is ‘me’. Low maintenance with a few areas of interest, but not something that is over designed and posh, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable if that were the case.
To me the garden represents somewhere (weather permitting) to escape to. Another world if you like, distinct from the house but still part of it. So with that in mind I scoured the internet looking for some ideas that would impress friends, whilst offering me the luxurious feel and opportunity to relax I desire.
One of the best ideas I came across was to use a large mirror at one end of the garden. This had the effect of visually doubling the available space, whilst giving an otherworldly feel. A few dangling fronds later (perhaps I am artistic after all?) and I had managed to make the mirror look like the entrance to another bit of garden I didn’t actually have. Result!
Next up, garden ornaments. Something I hadn’t considered before, largely because I was haunted by the troubling existence of the garden gnome. But it seems nowadays garden ornaments have taken on a sophisticated and dare I say it, ephemeral air, everything for me that the garden gnome is not.
Coupled with tea light lanterns, gently flickering solar fairy lights and reflective wall art, anyone’s garden can become a subtle reference back a time long past, when summer days were long and hot and, with your favourite Enid Blyton tucked gently under your arm, enchanted woods and faraway trees seem less of a fairy tale and more of a distinct possibility.
Also of interest was the plethora of retro wooden wall plaques armed with a variety of helpful suggestions. When draped with a trailing plant the instruction to keep calm or wear a smile gives the impression of a finding a secret, long buried and meant just for you. The fact that I need to be reminded regularly to do both is neither here nor there!
So, with my garden now converted into the perfect backdrop for long, hot summer days, all I need now to make my dream complete is the right kind of weather and a good book of course!