Garden Design Project – Part 1


I’m finally writing & sharing about the full process of re-designing my garden. Apologies for the delay but please be patient with me… It’s been eventful to say the least! I initially wanted to create a big before, during & after post however there’s far too much to share for one comprehensive blog post. Therefore I’ll be sharing a full series of posts over the coming weeks, but for those of you itching to see it feel free to check out snippets in the collage directly above & over on my Instagram; you can also follow the #rachaeltaylorgarden tag. If you want to know the finer details, please do stay tuned for the full report including the ups, downs as well as the highs & lows!

The main reason for buying our property was the location but the garden space was a close second. From the brochure it really didn’t look like much & the set up made it appear much smaller than it is in reality. There was a large mound at the back, a hidden cobbled wall / steps & what looked to be an old pond concealed amongst the thick layers of nettles & brambles. Together, these things took up tons of valuable square metres of space that was wasted but I could see it’s amazing potential. One thing that my husband & I noticed was the shed tucked away in the corner on an elevated level & this immediately sparked some ideas for me. I always wanted a cabin, art shed, or outdoor studio & we knew that the garden would be generous enough to accommodate it. I’m lucky enough to generally work from home as the main tasks of my business can be performed online and most of my clients are from overseas. Therefore after a long spell of working inside my home it was time to treat myself to the creative space that I’d been dreaming of for years. As a print & pattern designer I draw inspiration from nature on a regular basis, so to have all of that around me daily was only ever going to help boost my career & portfolio, as well as help to create a healthy & happy working environment.

So the potential really did sell the property to us. Whilst others may have ran a mile, I weirdly felt excited! The purchase did prove to be problematic & every time we got closer to moving in, a spanner was thrown in the works (such as the land registry). It looked as though the garden was spilt into two sections & it wasn’t clear that it would all be ours. At times, I felt that the cabin of my dreams vision kept shattering before my eyes. However, our solicitor was a lovely friend of ours who really did fight for us & sorted everything out & we were finally able to sign off on owning all of the garden space with the house.

When we finally moved in we were well & truly overwhelmed by the state of the garden. We had known it needed work from having seen the brochure images followed by a house visit, but it was left in a completely neglected state. The house had sat empty during the tedious sale process, so there was long unmaintained grass, endless weeds, old furniture & general unwanted junk that had been left behind. We even found a giant wasp nest next to the conservatory doors, a dead bird & you wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many random old shoes I found!

During our first Summer at the house in 2015 we simply maintained it the best we could so that it was usable for our little boy Blayke. We had help with the mowing & trimming & of the lawn & we then reduced the ivy as much as we could while digging out some of the more imposing brambles & nettles. Ahead of the Autumn, we also ended up having to hire a tree surgeon to get rid of a very large & unstable tree at the back of the garden.

We were itching to do more but knew there was no point in wasting money on simple or temporary improvements as it would need a complete overhaul & re-design. We had anticipated this before moving in but I didn’t think we truly realised how much of a task it would be.

Above you can see a selection of images showing the garden as it was advertised in the sales brochure & how we found it on our moving in day… Regardless of the chaos I could still picture a beautiful makeover perfectly & kept reminding myself of the end goal to avoid being overwhelmed by how much of a job it would be.

We also had grand plans to turn our conservatory into more of a usable family room as we wanted to really bring the outside in to the house (more on that to follow in another post).

Regardless of the messy state, we did manage to really spruce it up in time for Blayke’s 1st Birthday & our little housewarming party. A bit of bunting, pretty deck chairs & a mini gazebo can work wonders!

These pictures are from almost exactly two years ago! The (almost) finished garden is completely unrecognisable now… The process has been problematic & draining & we’ve really had to battle to achieve the end result, but the happiness & memories that we will make in our wonderful new space will outweigh any of the agro we endured. I’ve luckily had a number of photographers, bloggers & magazines get in touch about the garden but we have unfortunately had to postpone until it’s all finished – I was even approached for a new TV show! I hope to share it on as many platforms as I can over the coming years, and hopefully the blog series will inspire you to get creative with your own space. Keep in mind that whatever the size of your outdoor space, there are many DIY projects coming your way too…

I’m excited to share the final result in these blog posts. I will list all of our suppliers & the selection of tradespeople that I would truly recommend & if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me via my social media.

Next post…

The second installment of my garden series is a feast for the eyes – it includes all of the  inspiration for our garden design plans. Please stay tuned for more garden goodness!