The family garden is a place to relax, reflect and make lasting memories. And although we had a lovely garden full of plants and flowers, we never quite felt connected to it, so decided to give it a huge facelift!
We have a 12-year-old daughter, 2 dogs, and 2 cats, we both work full-time and so it had to be a practical and enjoyable area that all of us could enjoy.
Living in Portishead we are very lucky to have such a lovely view overlooking Red Cliff Bay and on a clear day we can see across to Cardiff, so we knew that we had to incorporate this into our garden makeover. And as a family, we all absolutely love spending time in the garden in our free time, so it was essential to base our outdoor living area around our lifestyle.
We knew the transformation wouldn't be easy and that it would be a big project, but we all felt ready to go for it!
Our garden had been landscaped by the previous owner, and it featured a lot of shrubs and bushes and it had a decking area with a large concrete patio on split levels. We had to strip all of this out so we could start again from a ‘blank canvas’ and build the foundations.
As landscapers in Portishead, our most important tip for anyone embarking on a project that involves laying something onto the ground, such as installing a patio or a greenhouse, you must take the time to level and prepare the groundwork. It may seem like a tedious and time-consuming task, but it’s essential to create a stable base.
There was a lot of concrete to get rid of, so we used diggers for the larger areas as this was a lot less time-consuming than doing it by hand. Once we had dug up all of the concrete, we had to clear it all away. We were all exhausted by the end! The next job was to level the ground with a plate compactor and a tamper, before adding sand and gravel to help with drainage.
Groundwork preparation is a labour-intense and messy job, but it's essential and we worked together as a team, and with a lot of hard work (and cups of tea and chocolate digestives to keep us going!) we got the base ready to be built on.
Our garden is on a split level, so we tied it all together by adding a boundary wall and steps, and raised borders for plants, as this helped to create focal points throughout the garden. We also wanted to add defined areas to the garden where we all had spaces that we can enjoy. For example, we created a dining and seating area so we can enjoy family dinners and entertain friends, as well as a spot at the bottom of the garden so our daughter could use her trampoline.
We chose elegant porcelain and striking block paving for the patio areas. Porcelain patios are becoming very popular because they last a very long time and are low maintenance, making them the ideal choice for homeowners with busy lifestyles. Another advantage is that porcelain patios come in a wide range of colours and styles so they can be used to create any type of patio look you want!
Tip: Building steps can be a great way to highlight a particular area of your garden or break up a large space and can create different levels in your garden. Walls and fences are another great way to add structure to your garden. They can be used to create privacy, define boundaries, or simply add visual interest. Additionally, a border wall can make a garden look more polished.
Abi and I are both very busy with work and both have other commitments, so we opted for top-quality artificial grass instead of a natural lawn.
During my career as a landscaper, I have found that some customers grimace when I mention the idea of artificial grass as an alternative to turf. But it’s definitely worth considering because there are so many advantages! Artificial grass doesn’t have to be mowed, watered, or fertilised and it doesn’t attract bugs or pests. It’s tough and durable and is designed to withstand turbulent weather conditions, making it perfect for the UK.
Next up we installed high-quality pressure-treated timber fencing to give us some privacy, not that we are saying our neighbours are nosy!
If you want to add privacy to your property, fencing or screening are both good options. There are a variety of fencing materials and styles to choose from, from Feather Board fencing to overlap fencing to Tongue and Groove fencing and Composite fencing, so you can find something that fits your needs and budget. We chose overlap and tongue and groove fencing because it’s contemporary and fits in with the style of our home.
Abi and I both love cooking and when it’s summer we love nothing more than inviting friends over and chucking a few shrimps on the BBQ, but we found it a bit of an inconvenience having to cart all of the food and plates outside. And you can guarantee that we would always forget something and back into the house we would have to go! So, with that in mind, we designed our new garden to include an outside kitchen, so there would be no more traipsing backward and forwards to the kitchen inside, as we’d have everything that we needed outside.
We understand that for many homeowners, the thought of designing an outdoor kitchen may be daunting, however, with our professional help we can turn your outdoor space into a practical and functional bbq kitchen area that will be the envy of all your friends and family. We’ll take into consideration the size and layout, i.e., do you want an elaborate cooking area or prefer a small intimate area, the location, and proximity to your home, and we’ll source the most durable materials based on what style of kitchen you want.
Finally, we added warm white downlighters above the area where the patio table and chairs are, which sets the perfect ambiance for when we are entertaining or sitting and enjoying the view. We also added lighting above the border walls and along the steps to illuminate the areas for safety as well as making them a feature.
TIP: There are many practical reasons to have garden lighting.
Garden lighting can provide safety and security by deterring burglars and illuminating dark areas. The right type of lighting can also be used to highlight features in your garden, such as adding an uplighter or downlighter to showcase a sculpture or spotlights in your garden pond to show off your koi carp. Soft garden lighting can also be used to create a romantic ambiance for intimate dining, whereas LED lights are perfect for summer parties.
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Areas covered: Portishead, Clevedon, Yatton, Weston-super-Mare, Weston in Gordano, Nailsea, Avonmouth Bristol, and all surrounding areas in North Somerset.