A little weary this morning after a working day in the store on Saturday and yesterday seemed to whiz by in a flash and get consumed with all the jobs you normally do over two days, gardening, cooking washing etc. etc. etc. Having said that the sun actually had some heat in it when we were in the garden, which was lovely. Pottered around my outdoor kitchen adding some faux foliage to the real stuff so outdoors now looks  so cool – apart from the odd bare tree its so green and lush I feel like I’m living in the middle of a forest.  Got the Christmas trees, a super sweet small one for the kitchen island and a bigger one to go near the garden. Can smell that beautifully piney scent as I type – heavenly!

Today it’s just me and kidie winks at home (the rest of the team are either in hotter climes or in the store DIYing the storage area). Which is lovely, don’t get me wrong I have the best team in the world, couldn’t do half of what I do without them but a day at home alone with the two M’s – heavenly. We may or we may not get out of our pyjamas – we haven’t quite decided!

Anyways this morning I’m talking gardens, might sound strange for those of us just hitting winter but stay with me because a garden, balcony, window box should give us year round pleasure I reckon. As a designer I see gardens a bit like hallways – neglected. We spend the big bucks on the high-ticket items, kitchens and bathrooms but forget or neglect the outdoors. Your outdoor area like your indoor area should totally reflect who you are.  This is the perfect time for armchair gardening I reckon – dreaming, plotting, planning of what you can plant (trees you can plant now of course) for the spring. I’m not a gardener and know very little about it so our garden has been a lot of trial and error. Although ours has happened organically there are some basic components which I only figured out yesterday pottering around it that have really worked.  13 years ago we striped the garden out completely apart from an old old amazing lilac everything else went and we started from scratch which looking back was a huge undertaking. As I’ve grown in confidence in the garden its got better and better. So if you’re garden or outdoor area needs a bit of a lift here are some of the things I’ve done that have turned it around!

Create hidden away spaces. Right at the back of the garden is a raised area which you can’t see from the house where there is the tiniest table and two chairs, under the fig, surrounded by box that is the perfect shady nook for getting away from it all. Even yesterday I plonked there for a few mins with a coffee.

Create a story like you would with your interiors. So my garden has mystery (paths are not straight i.e everything is not just planted against the perimeter); it has intrigue you can’t view the whole thing in one hit and it has mystery with its off the track beaten paths.

Create a sense of rhythm. Tall hedges (jasmine one side), bamboo the other with large bay tress at the back has given us this hidden kind of world, it draws you deeper into it.

Create small vignettes I’ve got seating areas everywhere with little blocks of wood or apple crates doubling up as coffee tables. At night I stick jam jars on them and light with candles- its soooo beautiful!

I’ve said this a thousand times but if you light your garden, balcony outdoor space you are creating a whole other room, it extends the eye further and so the inside ends up looking larger than it really is!

gdn1For the holidays (2 whole weeks coming up shortly, I’m planning lots of evenings spent around the fire armchair reading gardening books with lots of dreaming and lots of planning. I guess the big thing with gardening like with decorating is for your garden to tell a story of who you are! Do that and you’ve nailed it!