Sue Vincent of Instagram account @life_with_the_vincents is case in point that if you have a vision of your perfect garden, some careful planning and the right products can bring it to life! After seeing Sue’s gorgeous pictures on Instagram we had to get in touch to find out more about her recent garden renovation and share her top tips with you!
Hi Sue, thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions. Let’s start by hearing a bit about you!
I’m a Mancunian, living in the South for over 25 years after meeting my husband, Mark on holiday in Crete some 27 years ago, we have two sons, Josh (22) and Luc (19) both still living at home but finally old enough to stop taking the heads off of dahlias with a football!
I’m an avid, self-taught gardener and have been developing our current garden over the last 10 years. My garden inspiration is the delightful Wollerton Old Hall with girlie gardening heroes of Ann-Marie Powell and Butter Wakefield although who could ignore the lovely Adam Frost?
We’d love to hear about your DIY garden project in more detail, could you tell us about your initial vision?
Having an area for entertaining; the main aim was to have a more formal eating area which led down to an evening chill zone complete with firepit and sofas.
The house sits on a tricky, triangular plot and therefore over the years the garden has been divided into rooms as this seemed the easiest way to manage the space. This area gets the majority of the evening sun but was originally split between the front and rear gardens and had been really neglected, therefore it was a major decision to combine the two and make the space into one area.
The biggest considerations were retaining a TPO protected tree and ensuring that this quite contemporary space integrated well with the next ‘room’ – a formal parterre.
And then how did you start to bring your vision to life?
Commencing late Oct 2019 (just as the winter rain started) the area was cleared of existing shrubs and fencing and the construction of the raised planters began, following this was the paving and cabling for electrics and gas piping for the firepit.
Work was often suspended due to heavy rain and the impact of this on the rendering of the raised planters was considerable. Slow progress has its benefits though as the design underwent several major tweaks including a change in materials for the paving and the sourcing of firepit and water featured both evolved during this time…
With the finish line almost within reach – lockdown struck and we were left without the replacement gravel as TP had closed. Plants were also on longer lead times and tricky to source. We’ve come through it though and are now almost on the last leg…. gravel is due in the next week or two and we have just taken delivery of garden sofas and tables. There’s still some snagging and the hot, dry weather since Easter hasn’t helped new buxus to establish without copious amounts of watering but it’s all part of the journey.
Was there anything that you thought would be a challenge?
Choosing gravel proved a disaster, as after opting for ‘flamingo’, I returned home one afternoon to discover what looked like a heavy snow fall! Too white and at a complete mismatch with the other areas of garden. Removing and selling 6 tons of the stuff on Facebook marketplace is no fun and my husband Mark now refers to it as ‘gravel – gate!’
We love to see our products featured, how did the Garden Trellis Co feature in this project?
Lisa was key in helping with quantities, costing and colours. We opted to use RHS Prestige Slatted Panels; factory sprayed in Slate. As our landscaper hadn’t fitted these types of panels before the GTC team were amazing at providing telephone advise and helping work through tricky angles that arose as the panels were erected on site.
What features of the project are particularly noteworthy and why?
Paving – Porcelain over our original choice of Indian sandstone is so easy to clean and looks amazing against the rendered walls. And of course the trellis and lighting… initially our landscaper was sceptical however after seeing the quality of the product and the benefit of having it factory sprayed (given it was installed during one of the wettest winters in years) he is now a convert.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to embark on their own garden project at home?
Research! Take your time and get to know your garden before you start… learn what grows well, where the sun rises and sets and how you plan to use the space. Use the knowledge of suppliers and ask their advice – they are often more than willing to share their knowledge and its amazing how many new contacts you make through talking with them. Lastly – don’t skimp on the lighting – it makes it all come to life and yet so often is overlooked.
Thank you to Sue for taking the time to talk about this project, to see plenty more pictures of her lovely garden visit her Instagram.
If you want to get the look from this project you can order our ready-made trellis panels for yourself! Our RHS Prestige Slatted Panels are a modern alternative to traditional trellis and fencing, providing security and privacy in your garden. They are 1800mm wide, available in 3 heights and can be ready painted by us in 10 paint and stain options.