There is nothing better than being outside on a warm day. I love the sun, and sitting on the grass…with cider. I am so lucky that we were able to choose a place to live that had a garden, an outside space is a luxury that is hugely important to me.

One of the main reasons we chose our house (over the other handful of almost identical two up two down terraces within our budget) was the size of the garden and the potential to create a lovely outdoor space for our family. Cut to a year and a half later and we still have a pretty unusable garden. To be fair, we were busy last year with a new baby and all, and neither Sam or I have had our own garden to look after before, so it’s been a bit of a learning curve.

(As it was when we moved in)

Unfortunatey, the garden didn’t get much use last summer. We seriously underestimated how much of our ‘lawn’ was actually weeds. Really prickly weeds. Completely unsuitable for a crawling baby, even with foam mats and rugs. According to our neighbours, the garden had been left to its own devices for over ten years before we moved in, so it’s no surprise really. At one point, I had a brain wave and put Arlo in an empty paddling pool, but he soon figured out how to get out.

(Check out the makeshift bedsheet sunshade)

We’ve actually done quite a lot to the garden, even though it looks like we have done nothing. We’ve dug up the path that ran down the middle of the lawn, we’ve covered up an old Anderson shelter and leveled out the whole lawn with several tons of soil and woodchip in preparation for planting grass seeds.

(Anderson shelter concrete surround. This thing is deep. And full of rubbish).

Sam recently commented that he’d like to make the garden a fun space for Arlo, something we could all get involved in as a family, which prompted me to go off on a tangent of things we could do.

We have a huge brick wall at the back of the garden. We love it because not only is it really tall and therefore secure (there’s no climbing up that wall), it is also a part of the local history. The wall was once part of a factory Our houses were originally occupied by the workmen and their families, and our garden served as the entryway to the factory, hence the path that used to run down the middle before we dug it up. You can faintly make out where the door in the wall used to be.

(Our garden in its current state)

Sam had the idea of putting multicoloured handprints on the wall. Whilst that would be a fun little family project and we something we could involve Arlo in, I worry that it would end up looking like a nursery playground. I also worry that this would be off-putting for future potential buyers (we are not planning to live here forever).

However, I do like the idea of putting a personal stamp on our huge wall, so we are currently toying with the idea of painting a (small) handprint tree on the wall somewhere, along the lines of this:

(If I can work out a way for it to not look quite so tacky and kid-like. It’s going to be a thin line, I know).

The wall currently has an ugly black line of paint running along the bottom. While we want to retain some of the original features of the property (the colour of the brickwork, for instance), we are happy to let slide this aspect of the factory-feel  by repainting the line, it’s just a matter of finding the right colour. Here’s a mock up of some potential colours (I have mad Photoshop skillz, I know):

I’m leaning towards the more natural beige and stone colours at the moment. But if we do decide to go crazy and make our garden look like a nursery, we could go for Sam’s top choice:

Now here’s an idea that we definitely want to implement. These wall hanging pots will really help to change up the industrial feel of the wall:

We should be putting down grass seed over the next few weeks (Sam is watching the weather for the perfect timing), and I’m crossing my fingers that we will have a useable lawn at some point in May. Being able to use the garden is going to make such a difference, not to mention it will double our living space over the summer months. Arlo’s slide and trike are waiting in the wings for their turn in the spotlight, I hope Arlo is going to love his garden as much as I will.

(Just don’t look back toward the house as the ‘patio’ is a disaster area…but that’s another project for another time and another bank balance).

(Arlo at eleven months on the patio)

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