Changes to your garden really can transform family life

Changes to your garden really can transform family life and well-being and here’s how.

As a private person, I find social media a challenge but I’m going to share this project and give some how to’s because it’s been so transformative and you can have this too.

My garden is small, there’s no way around it, and after much musing and deliberation, I finally decided to hit the green button and put an modern office in it. Now I’m good at visualizing spaces but I’ll be honest, this felt nerve wracking putting a decent sized office into a small space. Yet the result has been fabulous – it feels like an optical illusion; putting a relatively big box in small garden has made the whole space look twice as big as before. Go figure, but it works!

I had a very long list of requirements. I wanted beauty, impact, functionality, enhancement and a BIG feeling of it all being worthwhile.

Whilst in the planning stage I felt like I wanted too much. I wanted it to feel like we’re on holiday (I love Cornwall and the sea), make me smile in the dark winter months, a space to play for the kids, a space to store ‘stuff’. I needed the office to feel like it’s connected to the house, be an easy socialising space, to have seating and a BBQ ….I could go on…I am, it seems, my own challenging customer.

As I was drew the space out, almost every inch was accounted for which seemed risky but there really was no other way. It all took time and lots of tweaking but it was worth it. I did a lot of research into every kind of office – off the peg, self build and bespoke – mainly comparing cost, materials, insulation and lifespan.

Next, was figuring out how we wanted it to look. I was more flexible on this, my husband though does a good line in appearing to be flexible but thumbs won’t go up unless it’s quality. The shabby vintage idea got the thumbs down and the hugely modern idea got a massive go ahead.

I chose a very strong and vibrant colour palette of black, green and white to give lots of impact and to make it feel contemporary with a Scandinavian twist.

Planting has been kept simple. My main wish was to have movement and sound and I found this in palms, grasses and fatsias. But I need help here – get in touch if you’re a plants person!

The even greater thing about adding an office outside is that it’s freed up incredibly valuable space inside the house. Sounds obvious doesn’t it BUT the flow of the house has changed. The room that was a cramped and frustrating office is freed up to be a funky little spare room and kids TV room (whoop). Now the house feels right and relaxed, we potter in and out of the garden all the time, invite friends over more easily.

If you’d like to make similar changes, here are my top tips –

• Set time aside to give the whole project the thought in needs; free flowing, creative thought, ideal world stuff.
• Share your thoughts with your family and ask them what they think.
• List out all your requirements.
• Let yourself loose on the magazines, books, internet and see what’s out there that you like and you think might GENUINELY work. Be strict with yourself.
• Get bossy, make the space useful, make it do what you need. Let it serve it’s purpose.
• Draw a floor plan of the garden (and office if necessary). All you need is a tape measure, pencil and paper. It doesn’t matter if it’s not a 3D illustration you simply need something that confirms back to yourself what you want and explains to your partner, your gardener, carpenter or decorator exactly what you’d like.
• Get calling the people you need to make the work happen and talk to them!

Think of it as a roadmap to your garden transformation. The time and effort spent on this will give you a very high chance of a successful project. It will make all the difference to your renovation project both inside and out.

Sounds appealing and familiar?

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