We’ve never had huge outdoor spaces anywhere that we’ve lived previously. In our last house in West Didsbury, we managed to create quite a funky little haven, out of scaffold planks. But it was still a bit of a tight squeeze and although we loved it, we never had a feeling of space. Well, we’re now discovering we have space. More space than we’ve ever known! And as spring continues, we’re also discovering just how beautiful, and filled with all kinds of nature, it actually is…

When we viewed the house initially, we just didn’t appreciate the land outside the house. Perhaps it was because nothing had really been done with it, that we didn’t see its true potential.

The trees were quite bare and the grass uncut and the steps and patio were ingrained with dirt and mud. There was just no colour. However, now that spring has sprung, we’ve made a determined effort to spruce up the outside – because we do hope to spending quite a lot of time out here! The first job was the powerwashing of the steps and the patio area. It was a big job, and all told took about three days but that’s a lesson learned right there. Keep on top of the jobs!

Before...

Before…

During...

During…

After...

After…

We hummed and haa-ed about transporting our potted bamboo trees and bay trees from the West Didsbury garden – but with the help of friends who stored them for us and the brilliant company who moved all of our belongings, they are now with us. It’s taken a while to work out where they are best situated, but they now form a natural wall, giving us quite a lot of privacy. And, the natural curve they follow, will soon become a natural stone wall – so they’ll be on the move again 😉

The bamboo & bays in their new home...

The bamboo & bays in their new home…

We’re not experienced growers, so have had to rely on a local garden centre to get the much needed initial injection of colour and nature going. Lots of rain and lots of sunshine seem to be doing the trick, as the front of the house now looks so much more lived in and colourful…

Lighting in the garden is on the proper “to-do” list – as in, we’ll be getting an electrician to sort it, but in the meantime solar lights and candles are doing a grand job…

*Not Real Birds*...

*Not Real Birds*…

The chiminera and our beautiful Amanda McCrann Didsbury Life mosaic are also now an integral part of the garden…

Didsbury Life by Amanda McCrann

Didsbury Life by Amanda McCrann

We want to create different areas to the garden and so have sourced furniture which will enable us to do this – important, we think, for guests and visitors who may want to have some privacy, too, and not always be sitting with us. There’s quite a large area outside the door – perfect for a small table & chairs for two. The patio area (which will also eventually house a pool – yipee!) is the perfect place for a larger dining table and chairs and sun umbrella, and at the far end of the garden, under the shade of a large, mature tree, we’re trying to create a bit of hideaway. I’ve been searching for weeks now for a vintage wrought iron garden set, but nothing was ticking my boxes. The tables were too small, or they were too new or they were poorly made. Until last Sunday when we drove through the nearest small town – and there it was! My perfect vintage French-style wrought iron garden furniture. Original, too – with bits of rust to prove it 🙂

We’ve even tried to become a little bit more self sufficient with a herb garden to the side of the house. It’s early days, but we have high hopes for home grown summer salad – although we may have to wait a bit longer for the olives to emerge on the tree we’ve planted!

There’s still a very long way to go – the side of the house and the back of the house need to be tackled, although we hope that these areas will be the subjects of some very exciting blogs as plans are afoot for developemnts here. Because summer is apparently very warm here, we are planning the installation of a swimming pool – in the meantime we have a big blow up one, so visitors can cool down. The wall for privacy needs to be built – although we’re not overlooked by anyone, the road isn’t too far away. It can also get quite windy and we think the wall, wrapped around the pool – eventually – will be a natural windbreak. And, out door lighting needs to be carefully planned and installed. But, all in all, we don’t think we’re doing too badly, only two months in…

Oh, and by the way, if you think the sun shines all the time, here – think again. Every day last week was a day like this – but without it, we wouldn’t be surrounded by such lushness.