Turning a New-Build Garden Plot into a Welcoming Oasis

Tips and Tricks to soften those hard garden edges

We can’t be the only ones who have moved into a brand, spanking new home and despaired at the garden left behind by the builders. At first glance it had a nice new (albeit cheap) fence, a bit of a paved area for a couple of chairs, a water butt (yippee, she thinks sarcastically), a brick garage wall, and a lawn. Low maintenance say some. But oh, so boring. I missed my green mature garden that I had left behind. And apart from the lawn which quickly deteriorated because it was laid on sand and rubble, it was so, well, brown.

Planting up pots for outside the house means you always have a good view

It depressed me so much it had to be a priority. Over and above making the house ours inside. But without a big budget for a garden planner and installer we’ve had to tackle it a little bit at a time, and finally at the end of our third summer I can start to feel that it’s taking shape and it’s somewhere I want to be. I’m not a garden designer, and I’m definitely not green fingered, but I do have a handy BF and these are the jobs we’ve tackled that have made a difference.

Painting the fence provides a good contrast for the plants

Painted the Fence

There’s nothing worse than acres of cheap brown fencing, without a tree or plant in sight, so this was first on the list of priorities. We opted for a mid-grey colour but if I did it again I’d probably go darker. The plants now they are growing, look fabulous against a grey background and I can imagine they would look stunning against black. I also decided not to paint the posts. For two reasons really. If you start painting the posts it’s difficult to know where to stop and I didn’t want the neighbours to have glimpses of my grey paint on their side. Also I think it would have just been too much and the exposed wood of the posts actually give the garden some structure.

Planting climbers against a brick wall will soften it.

Set Up a Seating Area in a Sunny Spot

We opted to utilise the area behind the garage as a barbecue and eating area as it’s tucked away and it is sunny for most of the day. It’s not advisable to have the barbecue too close to the house anyway with all that smoke wafting around so it has proved to be a good move. The BF built the deck, and we left a pocket of earth for some plants along the fence. See the full details on my post about it.

Every garden needs a shady spot. A pergola is perfect.

Planted Climbers

Planting climbers along the garage wall was another of our first jobs in order to try and soften all of that red brick. Because they have been planted in troughs and not into the ground they haven’t taken off as much as we’d hoped but we will remedy that soon. Then, as soon as the fence was painted, we added some climbers there too, and they have been doing much better. With no trees to be seen, it’s really important to get some plants growing vertically.

Paint fences and plant climbers against brick walls. Both will soften hard edges.

Created a Shady Area

We don’t always want to sit in the sun especially in the height of summer so a shady spot was next on the wish-list. Huddling under a solitary umbrella was only ever going to be a temporary measure so this year the BF completed the pergola. I wrote about it a while ago here. It’s made all the difference and it’s had lots of use over the past few months and is starting to look established with yet more climbers taking off up the posts.

Gardens need vertical planting and even trees can grow in pots.

Used Pot Plants to Add Interest

Anything can be grown in a pot. We’ve even got a couple of trees either side of the pergola which are doing fine. The beauty of having plants in pots is that you can move them around at whim. Mine get positioned just outside the french windows when they are in flower so that we can enjoy them inside and out, and then they get moved further away when the flowering season is finished.

Propagating strawberries.

Look I’m even propagating strawberries.

Next year we plan to construct some raised beds and then the serious planting will begin, and we’ll be tackling that lawn too. It’s been shrinking bit by bit anyway and maybe, with a dog around, we may just opt for artificial grass. But in the meantime I’m really enjoying the garden again.



  1. Reply


    September 28, 2016

    It looks so beautiful, Carole! I love how you have created zones and made cosy, welcoming areas to relax in. Lots of textures, too. Great job! Now to come back to the UK for a cuppa and a slice of cake. I just invited myself, hope that’s OK?! 😉 xxx

    • Reply


      September 28, 2016

      Aww, thanks Will. You are welcome anytime sweetie 🙂 xx


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