The weekend before last I probably should have been doing wedding stuff (8 days and counting people!), but inspired by the lovely evenings we have spent outside since we got our firepit from Domu, instead we spent it completely re-vamping our small outdoor space off the first floor landing.
Now, we hadn’t really bothered much with this terrace, because it is so small that we couldn’t really see how it could be improved, so we just used it to house the barbeque, and then always spent our time on the next terrace up, where we have a nice table and which gets the evening sun for longer because it is a few metres higher. But I spent a bit of time on Pinterest (okay, a lot of time! You know me too well) and came up with a plan to make the most of the small outdoor space, and brighten it up.
I mentioned this plan to the lovely people from Domu, and they generously offered us two essential items for the project, which was really the boost we needed to get on with it so we can enjoy the terrace properly for the rest of the summer. This compact power washer* was absolutely perfect for our needs – powerful, yet small enough to pack away in the shed easily. It proved more than equal to the task of shedding the grime – I literally could not believe the colour of our tiles underneath it all! I also chose this gorgeous bench* from VonHaus. Now, I confess, for the insanely amazing price, I was not expecting all that much from it. However, when it arrived and I unpacked it I could not believe the quality of the wood or how sturdy it was once I assembled it (it came flatpack, but it was a matter of 8 screws to put together, and despite the insistence of the leaflet that it was a two man job, I managed it on my own in 5 minutes.). We both love it – I have spent a ridiculous amount of time sat on it given that we only put it on the terrace last Saturday evening. I might have to get the little foldable sidetable as well though – my only criticism of the bench is that the arms are just about wide enough hold a glass of wine but with my clumsiness and Billy hopping around all over us there’s an accident waiting to happen.
Anyway, so, I had the tools, and after a quick jaunt to Home Bargains I also had some lovely new plants which were very inexpensive to pot up into the various empty or weed-filled pots lying around the garden left by the previous owner. All that remained was the work!
Here’s what the terrace looked like when we bought the house. In fact, I think I took this whilst we were viewing it.
And here is how neglected and unloved it has remained for two years (so ashamed of this now – if your terrace or garden is in need of some love crack on with it this weekend – you will seriously wonder, like us, why on earth you didn’t do it sooner). This was taken on the Friday before we started our makeover:
How We Made the Most of Our Small Outdoor Space
We began by moving all the rubbish (the old barbeque was broken and destined for the tip) and taking all the pots and furniture off the terrace and out of the way. Then I got the loppers and attacked the insane amount of overgrown honeysuckle and ivy overhanging the terrace. I left a little bit of honeysuckle because it is pretty and smells divine, and some ivy because I actually think it looks nice, but in the winter all of this is coming down and we are pulling down the trellises which are all rotten. We will paint the rest of the walls white to match and add a couple of smaller less crazy wall plants and new trellises, but that was way too much work for this weekend, and I wanted to keep some greenery to make it look nice.
Six bin bags of choppings later, we could finally see daylight, or it felt like it.
Next we tackled the ugly light and huge fake security alarm box hanging on the wall. We put a lovely carriage light which cost £7.99 from Screwfix up instead.
Then we swept the area and then fired up the powerwasher. I could not believe it when I saw this happen:
We (well, Ste mainly) powerwashed the paving, the breeze block walls and the side of the house. Meanwhile I potted up all my new plants. Then we left it to dry overnight, popping the bench in situ, putting a few logs on the firepit and sitting out with blankets and a glass of wine admiring how much better it looked already. But it was on Sunday the real transformation happened.
Ste’s parents and sister Jennifer had kindly offered to come and help us, and boy did we put them to work! Sooo much painting. We even painted the gates which Ste built shortly after we moved in to keep the dogs from escaping into the neighbours’ garden or over the roof of the downstairs loo, which had thus far only been treated with stain. Without the help of Ste’s family it would have taken us a full week, not a day! When the painting was done, I popped some new white pebbles on the flower beds to brighten them up and hide the ugliness, and put back the table and chairs, and arranged all my new plants around. It looked amazing. My only concern now is that the table and chairs which a friend gave me are looking rather grubby and tired against all the fresh white, so I’ve got a can of metal spray paint on order in a shade of green to match the woodwork.
So you’ve seen the before of the whole terrace above. Now look at it:
Yep. I will wait while you scroll back up and take those two photos in one more time! Amazing considering they were taken two days’ apart!
And one corner before:
And the same view after:
And the other side of the terrace – I forgot to do a proper before, so this was during as I was testing out the paints and potting up all of my new plants, but you get how grey it was:
I am in love with our small outdoor space now – we spent the first evening out there drinking Pimms, and a few mornings I have even used it as my outdoor office because Ste rigged it so I can get WiFi out there. Absolute bliss.
Sorry for all the photos – it is just too pretty!
Billy loves it out there when the sun shines, it is such a sun trap.
He also loves the flowers. Isn’t this the most adorable photo?
It’s the perfect place to sit with a glass of wine in the evenings now. Even if it does attract pugs.
The firepit looks even better now its surroundings are a bit less wild too!
How You Can Make the Most of YOUR Small Outdoor Space
To recap on how we made the most of this small outdoor space: first clear it out, prune like mad, then clean (a powerwasher is ace, but a broom and some water could do wonders too), and finally a lick of white paint never fails to brighten up a small dark area. Once you have it looking all pristine, add some colourful flowers in pots, and somewhere nice to sit, and you’re done. Easy!
Thank you again Domu for prompting us to take back our outdoor space so we can properly enjoy it this summer. The products were kindly provided for review, but the gushing opinions are my own (I promise – if I get sent something rubbish I will tell you. More on my Disclosure page if you’re interested). If you are tempted to do your own little garden makeover, I recommend you have a look at their site www.domu.co.uk because I don’t think their prices can be beaten and it seems their products are excellent quality too, which is the best of all worlds.