It seems like no time since we were in the depths of winter, with no kitchen, a gaping hole in the wall where the new window was being fitted and heavy falling snow. It’s now mid-summer and although, as I type it’s hammering down with rain , thunder is rumbling all around and lightning is cracking across the sky, largely the weather is baking hot. So, this all makes DIY and renovation a bit more difficult, as we’d definitely rather be lying on a sun-lounger in the garden, than up a ladder with a paintbrush. Our builders are still here, working on what they need to do – the downstairs bathroom being the big priority at the moment – but, we’re also doing what we can, and we’re currently focusing on the outside of the house.

The Garden

There is a piece of land, tucked under our living room window, which actually belongs to the tumble down house we’re attached to. It’s been left as a bit of a dumping ground, but we decided that, although it doesn’t belong to us, we would give it a bit of a tidy up – especially given that it does look & feel like part of our garden. Days were spent moving stones & rocks, refilling with rubble to level it, covering with plastic and then finally laying bags and bags of beautiful rusty coloured bark. From what it was, it’s come up a treat – next job is to have uplighting installed, to light up the gorgeous ivy-clad ruin to which we are adjoined…

The DURING shot...

The BEFORE shot…

The DURING shot...

The DURING shot…

The AFTER shot...

The AFTER shot…

A lot of paint spraying has been going on in the garden – we bought a white wrought iron vintage table and chairs set, which needed a bit of TLC. This was achieved with a deep charcoal grey paint, which has given this set a whole new lease of life. And now the same thing is happening with the wooden sun loungers – from a walnut colour to the lovely deep grey. A colour which really complements the duck egg blue of the outdoor lights and the external paintwork. We also had an old plastic trunk and a coat rail – perfect for spraying too, and planting up the Jasmine plants, now curling around the clothes rail 😉

Spray painting & upcycling...

Spray painting & upcycling…

To section off our front garden from the farmer’s fields, we’re looking at options for walls and fences. We veer between a curved, rendered white wall and fencing and a natural wall made up of fast growing plants. It’s quite a difficult decision to make, so we’re not rushing into it and at the moment, we’re screened off by a curved wall of potted bamboo plants – OK for the moment, but we definitely want something more permanent. Decisions, decisions…

Garden wall inspo from Pinterest

Garden wall inspo from Pinterest

At the front of the house, we get the sun most of the day and so have been able to create a lovely garden, now full of lavender, colourful blooms, palms and grasses and a small patch of salad leaves, spring onions, spinach, potatoes and tomatoes. Definitely a bit of The Good Life going on. Although I’m probably a bit more Margot than Barbara…

At the back of the house, which looks out over the village, is an area which has been left unattended and uncared for, for a long time. This is how it looked when we initially viewed the house…

What is now our house, with a little tumble-down dwelling to the right.

What is now our house, with a little tumble-down dwelling to the right.

A bit of a mess, but *much* potential...

A bit of a mess, but *much* potential…

This land, plus the “house”, is owned by one of our neighbours and we are in the process of buying it from him. The plan then is to have the house taken down – it would be far too costly to get this into any habitable state – and use the bricks to build a wall around the land we buy. We then hope to open up the window right at the bottom of the house, and create a doorway into the garden with gated access also at the side of the house. Stairs will come up from the cellar (still be refurbished) and lead through the opened up door, into the garden. A supported trellis will be built up and over the area so that when we eventually plant up creepers and vines, this is what you will see when you look down from the living room window. Much nicer than the current heap of junk we look onto 😉 As always, Pinterest has aided inspiration and we’re busy working out how to create a beautiful haven, that will be our secret walled garden…

Pinterest inspiration for the Secret Garden...

Pinterest inspiration for the Secret Garden…

It’s slow progress, but we are renovating a full house, with a lot more space than we’ve ever had before. Plus, grappling and dealing with all of the intricacies and complications that come with doing up a house in another country. But, we are getting there, and hopefully by this time next year, our outside space will be looking a whole lot more pretty.