In my garden I’ve created lots of little zones with seating nooks, a fireplace and an outdoor kitchen on the patio. I’ve tried to create a magical effect of fairytale woods-meets-jungle style! It honestly hasn’t taken zillions of bucks or years of landscaping to achieve thought. I’m the most inpatient gardener ever, so I like quick hits when it comes to my outdoor space. In fact I tend to treat gardening and styling out here exactly the same as my indoor decorating, and it gets me the best results. Here’s how you can get the look in a week (basically).

In my garden I wanted to conjure up a real urban oasis – think rustling bamboo hedges, tall eucalyptus trees, a meandering weathered pathway and tons of texture and dramatically shaped plants. People often assume it’s been there for years but it’s actually only been like this for a couple of years, since I bought my cabin. Remember that?

But going back a bit further, the reshuffle after the cabin was actually the second time we completely redid the garden. As soon as we moved in we completely stripped it, because it was crammed with ornamental gnomes and little bridges, that sort of thing. Let’s just me diplomatic and say that they’re, um… not my taste! The only thing I kept intact was an 80 year old lilac tree, that I adore. It’s in completely the wrong place now with the rest of the garden, but I’d never get rid of it. Our first version of the garden was completely minimalistic, I just planted some black bamboo along the sides and placed lots of white pebbles in the middle of the space and it stayed like that for 10 years. I’m afraid I look at it now and think it’s really dull, but it worked for us then. Bamboo is famously fast growing so I love it, and pebbles are way easier than maintaining a lawn. Win win for lazy gardeners!


My tiny little cabin was actually the catalyst for my whole redesign. I found it for £100 on eBay and we had it up and built and painted black in a day. Plus 1 day kitting it out and one styling. Fastest transformation I’ve ever done! You can check out the full details of my cabin makeover here, if you’re interested.My favourite thing is the faux slate wall we installed. It has a very textured, “Fred Flintstone” kinda look, and makes the inside feel warm and cosy. I knew I wanted a bolthole, somewhere I could go and write, so I added in a big sheepskin rug and an antique desk. You can only fit one person inside, but I love my little space. Actually perhaps that’s why I love it?! It’s perfect for getting away from everything.

With the cabin in place at bottom of the garden I immediately knew that it needed to have a path leading to it, and suddenly, the rest of the ideas for the garden fell into place. We laid out the path with Millboard decking (I love this stuff for inside and outside actually because it’s waterproof, non-slip and super hardwearing!). Then we went to a garden centre and loaded up the boots with grasses to plant along the path, and filled in the sides with gravel. Again, I just cannot be bothered with lawns! Having the grasses by the side and all the other plants means it still feels lush and green. Because we have the double height windows which draw your eyes constantly to the garden, I really wanted the outside to be as textural, beautiful and intriguing as the inside.

As well as bamboo and grasses, I also like low-maintenance climbers. I’ve stretched a wire from one side of the patio to the other and adorned it with a plant called Russian Vine. Or it’s other name is ‘Mile a Minute’! A lot of people avoid this plant because it can be invasive, but did I mention I am the most impatient gardener ever? So I love it. The final piece of the puzzle for me is to festoon the place with lights. I have chandeliers hanging from branches, a mix of vintage and new lights outside, and bulbs strung up in the trees. I’m an absolutely huge advocate of outside lighting. It has really transformed the outside space in the winter months from somewhere dark and gloomy to a place where you really want to go and spend time.

Finish up with plenty of little seating nooks et voila! I promise you’ll love your garden so much more. My favourite place is reclining on the Woodsley sofa on my terrace. I can just sit back, sip a coffee and look at the whole garden. I’m not a gardener, but by using a few quick cheats and same principles that I use in interior design I’ve created a whole other “room” to love and enjoy. It’s my sanctuary, and I relax there by sweeping, weeding and pottering. I don’t think about work and I have a total digital detox. Just seeing my plants makes me instantly happy.

Photography: Marcus Harpur, Modern Gardens magazine

Back to blog