How Sarah Beeny made a family friendly urban garden in East London
What a strange year! A year that has forced everyone to be home more than ever. So with our ever expanding family and the launch of East Gifting Outfit, our once-too-big house suddenly feels very small. Both adults working from home, two mini humans tearing around, and more friends visiting the house (not at the moment!) so it felt important to have additional living space. Luckily Sarah Beeny was on hand to help us with our little issue.
In Season One of Renovate Don’t Relocate Sarah redesigned three rooms in our Victorian townhouse to make it work better for our young family’s needs. You can see the episode here:
The only additional space that we had available, without extending the house, was our backyard. Previously heavily neglected, with it’s dangerous concrete pavers and wild overgrown plant beds, it was a barren and unloved space.
When speaking to Sarah about ways to convert this space, there were three considerations for the garden design: being a safe space for the children, having an area where we could entertain, and be low maintenance (this is not a family of green thumbs). We knew the design would be key, which is where Sarah’s advice, and working with a trusted landscaper was so important.
Garden Design and Landscaping Bobby’s Gardening Services (POA)
Bobby and his team stepped up to the challenge of creating the perfect garden. Working closely with us, Bobby used three separate zones to tailor design the space. He hand built a custom designed deck for the entertaining area, personally selected fake lawn that looked real, but was hard wearing and nice underfoot for the children's area, and forced us out of our comfort zone with the addition of carefully selected shrubs and flowers to bring life and colour to the very precise flower beds. The result - well our reaction on the show says everything!
Garden Mural Nightshift Signs (POA)
East London’s street art encapsulates the heart and soul of East London, so we always wanted a statement mural painted on our garden’s back wall. Enter the boys at Nightshift Signs who made our vision a reality. A personalised mural design full of colour and nods to local life. A unique feature which certainly gets our neighbours talking.
Bobby’s team convinced us with a little bit of effort the garden could be a lot brighter with the perfect mix of shrubs, foliage and flowers to frame the garden and fake lawn. Dobbie’s went the extra mile to ensure that we had the perfect plants to meet our needs. Enter colour, life and energy into our garden, which is why it is now the ‘it’ space for our local squirrels to hang out.
Decking Wood (POA)
An aged fine wine might be nice, but aged fine decking is even better. International Timber are technical timber experts and understand timber! (Which is great, because we didn’t have a clue!) They recommended a hardwood which would be durable but also age nicely in colour to a grey wood that would blend in with the brickwood of the garden. Cheers to the next 20 years of drinking wine on the deck.
Garden Lighting (POA)
Lighting is one of the most important factors when creating a living space, and we knew the right mood lighting would frame the backyard for the perfect evening. Enter Alex and his expertise, and our job was done. Alex made recommendations for the garden and decking lights, and transformed the office space with the use of both warm and cool lighting. He’s been our electrician since day dot… and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Muddy Mischief Outdoor Mud Kitchen (£79.95)
For all your mud pie needs, this Rebo muddy mischief outdoor mud kitchen is perfect. Hardwearing and stable it will be able to withstand vigorous play from any child that puts it up to the challenge (trust me, we know). UK made from pressure treated timber to withstand the weather, add the free pan set and your child (like mine) will be cooking in no time.
If you make a mudpie, you’ll need somewhere to serve it. The Deluxe Playhouse it not only a fun house to play in, it has a practical side with the attached tables and chairs, which has quickly become the go to eating spot if we are outside. Colourful and fun, it also is able to be wiped clean and is weather resistant. For even our toughest mudpie serving sessions.
Dinosaur Poster - Dinosaur’s Doing Stuff (£20)
Is it weird to have a poster in the backyard? Not if your son has a dinosaur obsession! Originals hand drawn by Charlotte and then transferred to print, she brings fun and adventure to the lives of dinosaurs, because sometimes dinosaurs just need to do stuff! (And the poster moves to his bedroom wall when it’s not hanging out in the backyard)
Thanks for reading about our family’s backyard. It was a pleasure working with all of these fabulous brands and the people behind them to create such a special space for our family. It truly was the extra living space we didn’t realise we needed until we had it.
*Please note that some of these items have been gifted as part of the TV show, but there is not one service or product that I wouldn’t personally recommend as everyone/thing has been fabulous.