The Garden Makeover

Hey everyone! Like many of you, lockdown has left me with plenty of time on my hands and so I’ve taken this opportunity to decorate and restyle the house.  For those of you who follow me on insta, you’ll know that I’m forever checking Rightmove for new properties on sale as we had originally hoped to be moving this summer – however, due to current restrictions and economic uncertainty, that looks to have been well and truly put on hold until later in the year. So with this in mind I figured now is the perfect time to give some focus to the garden – after all, we may find ourselves spending a lot of time in there this summer (that’s assuming we see some sunshine this year!)

Having decided to lockdown at Dave’s, it means I have very little opportunity to exercise my creativity. So whilst he may not be signing up for mass redecoration of the house,  the garden is the one area which we have never fully tackled and I could be in with a shot at getting him to buy into my plan for garden renovation!

A couple of years ago we decided to get green-fingered and attempted to sort the neglected outside space. At the time Dave was often away working which meant the garden project never really got going after having had a patio laid the previous year. It was then we took on the back breaking challenge of levelling out the remaining hard, ex industrial cotton mill land on which the house is built and laying some artificial grass at the far end of the garden (as there is little chance of much growing on this land unfortunately!). We also got as far as adding some raised planters, filling them with soil and low maintenance shrubs for a low maintenance garden. But since that brief foray into gardening, the garden has more or less remained the same since, adding the odd piece of furniture like the bright yellow sun loungers and the BBQ gazebo.


So as i was saying, with every room in the house decorated (and my persuasion for Dave to let me redecorate falling on deaf years) he finally relented and set me the challenge of completing the garden. I didn’t need to be told twice and within minutes I had grabbed my laptop and armed with a cup of tea, began browsing the internet to firm up a plan.


First up was the plants. As we already had the raised beds in place with some established grasses fully grown in, there was little need to change these. However I knew I wanted to get more colour and greenery into the space – particularly as two sides of the garden have brick walls. Brick has both pros and cons in this situation with the obvious con that a wall doesn’t take paint as well as a fence but the pro being that these act as a good solid structure for wall planters (unlike a fence which may not be able to take the weight and could end up splitting).

jack d march garden

Given the current crisis and the lack of stores delivering, it struck me that I’d need to get creative and its then I had the lightbulb moment of upcycling some old wooden pallets that I could attach to the walls and hang flower filled buckets from. I took to Facebook to ask the neighbours on our development to ask if anyone happened to have some old pallets they were getting rid of (much to Dave’s confusion at this stage as I hadn’t yet shared my vision with him!). To my surprise several fellow residents replied and offered me pallets which they just had sat in storage and so I gratefully took them off of their hands and set about “Project Planter”.

The next morning I headed down to the garden, armed with a claw hammer, nails and a strong brew to start this project. First up I dismantled one pallet and then used the pieces to strengthen the other two pallets which I then painted in the same colour as the fence. These structures are easily attached to the wall using coach bolts – with the larger planter having 6 and the smaller having 4 which were screwed 3/4 of the way into the wall, leaving the remaining 1/4 for the planter to sit in position on.

Next on the list was to add some colour to the planters and so for this part I shopped some zinc hooked buckets from Amazon and sourced some plants from Morrisons (no local garden centres were open or delivering) and proceeded to plant up the buckets and arrange them in a random fashion on the newly installed wall planters.

Dining Space

The former dining part of the garden had the “classic” brown rattan table and chairs with a cream parasol. This does not fit with my new vision and so turning back to Google I quickly found some chairs which I liked to replace the existing dining set. Little did I know that finding the chairs would be the easy bit – I genuinely must have lost about 3 days of Googling, trying to find a round table with a hole for a parasol to match them! I challenge anyone to find a white round table with a parasol hole – it’s practically impossible and it got to the stage that I was seeing a plethora of parasol options in my sleep (or maybe that was all the caffeine i’d consumed whilst searching!) I agreed with Dave that the table needed to be round due to the patio stone arrangement already in place however, having struggled to find one with a parasol hole, I did convince him that maybe a parasol wasn’t necessary in the dining area as it would block the view to the rest of the garden beyond the patio. Agreeing on this change immediately opened up my options somewhat and having recalled numerous potential tables which I’d stumbled upon during my initial failed search, I found the perfect option in John Lewis. However, in ironic fashion, the chairs which I was originally keen on no longer felt a good option and so I abandoned my original choice of chairs and my search restarted, this time with a clear picture of what the table I am looking to pair them with looks like. I had initially seen some which I liked but they were coming in at £150 each and this would have eaten up a large chunk of my garden budget. So you can imagine my delight when I found a set of 4 on Amazon for only £99 (in fact I was so delighted with my find i almost dropped my phone in the bath!) – sold out now but available here !

Kick back and relax

The far end of the garden is the sunniest area and is the perfect spot for the yellow loungers which we shopped a couple of years ago from Homesense. They add a great pop of colour against the artificial grass. Moreover, as this is a sunny spot it made sense to make this corner the focal point for a parasol to sit but the current cream parasol, whilst practical, doesn’t really fit in with my vision.

I have followed East London Parasols on Instagram for a while and after showing Dave my dream parasol, he told me to keep looking. Disheartened and frustrated that Dave seemingly didn’t share my love for this parasol, I searched without any success for an alternative. Luckily on this occasion my search was to no avail, as 3 days later my dream parasol had arrived as a surprise gift! It finishes the area off to perfection and i’m so happy with the look.

Walls and all

The fence was looking rather tired and hadn’t been painted since the house was built so it needed to be addressed. Rather than stain it, I decided to use fence paint instead – opting for Cuprinol shades range, picking black to create a striking backdrop for the mature grasses in the raised beds.

With the other sides being walls we had already used a selection of mirrors and framed some of the leftover astroturf to break up one section, whilst adding a trellis with faux foliage in another sections and of course, my newly created planters, adding colour to the other sections of wall.

Finishing Touches

I knew from the start that I wanted the space to feel like an extension to the dining area in the kitchen. This area has a Scandi / Boho influence and so I brought this through to the garden with use of soft furnishings, selecting tufted cushions and Aztec print cushions from Asda together with Turkish towels for the loungers.


I continued the same theme on the dining table which I dressed with rattan place mats, linen napkins, gold cutlery and monochrome crockery. To bring the styling of the parasol to the dining area I added a banana leaf accent in the form of some outdoor cushions from Betty & Molly which sit on the dining chairs.

My final and finishing flourish was to add some festoon lights to the fence and walls – I’ve always struggled to find solar lights that give off enough brightness so i opted for strings of mains powered festoon lights from Festive Lights Ltd to frame the garden and complete my vision.


 1. East London Parasol (Meryl Parasol) – £399.00 (click here)| 2. Monochrome Asda living cushion – £7.00 each (click here) | 3. Betty & Molly leaf print cushion cover – £24.99 each (click here) | 4. Cuprinol shades in black ash – £20.00 per 1 litre tin (click here) | 5. Chairs were from amazon but sold out check Belina – £109.99 a per pair (click here) | 6. Turkish towels from amazon – £16.99 a pair (click here) | 7. Festoon light from festive lights Ltd – £34.99 per 8m (click here) | 8. Monochrome bowl by Wilko – £6.00 (click here)| 9. Zinc hanging buckets from amazon – £39.00 for 24 (click here) | 10.) John Lewis patio table – £299.00 (click here)


One Comment Add yours

  1. Karen says:

    Nailed it as usual with your signature fabulous style Jack. You’re wasted on tyres, it’s high time someone nabbed you as a guest judge for the great British interior Design programme. Give Joe Lycett a run for his money (lovely chap, enjoy him on the GBSB).
    Get a manager quick!


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