Less than three miles from Birmingham's urban city center, this formerly conventional garden was a verdant canvas for homeowner Claire Wainwright. Despite its rich greenery, the garden lacked personality, so Claire decided to venture into the garden project of a lifetime – turning her garden into a color-kissed tribute to the sunny Mediterranean and the English countryside.
What was, once, an ordinary exterior is now a transnational utopia, which oozes with both British elegance and continental charm. The space is complete with blooming hydrangeas, golden string lights, and a crowning jewel – a stone pizza oven and dining area. The Mediterranean climate is not included, however.
See: Modern Garden Ideas: 37 modern design ideas to transform your outdoor space
How did Claire create this majestic new garden space? The woman behind the transformation walked us through her design process.
The garden before renovation:
'The garden was very green when we moved into the home, with a 40-foot pine tree right in the middle of the space. It is one of the things that attracted us to the house initially. Sadly, when we moved in, we realized that despite being south facing, we received almost no sunlight in the garden or to the house, so we had to take that tree down,' Claire Wainwright begins.
The homeowner is no stranger to bold renovation projects, as she had previously used her efforts in her house. However, with a former focus on interiors, she lost touch with the allure of her garden.
Claire continues: "During the renovation of our house, the garden got overlooked, and the area closest to the house was ruined, so once the housework was complete, we knew we would need to focus on the garden. It has taken us a few years to get to where we are now, and we tackled it in stages. There wasn't a patio, so we did that first, creating a curved patio area and separating that and the grass with a wall using the same reclaimed bricks that we had used for the extension.'
The garden during renovation:
Claire explained the transformation began some years after extension, before sharing how she and she curated the space herself.
'We were restricted by budget; therefore, we kept as much of the existing garden and borders as we could, especially the trees,' Claire shares.
'We created three main zones - the top section is a little hideaway where I have raised beds for veg and flowers. That area was completely overgrown and inaccessible, so it was a surprise to find out how big it actually was. I wanted it to feel partially screened off and came up with the idea of the pleached trees and fencing, which works well. They act as a focal point as you look out to the garden from the house,' Claire shares.
The garden after renovation:
Et voila! The finished garden is entirely unrecognizable from its mature roots. This serene landscape is a flavorful tribute to Claire's favorite places, from the sun-glazed multi-colored towns of Italy to the organic English countryside. It is also a safe haven for her young child to explore, especially while these luscious destinations remain off-limits.
'I always have loads of pots of herbs growing, lavender and roses, and it smells delicious on a summer's evening. This is where we spend our evening's when it is warm, under the lights with the outdoor speakers on and a glass of wine in hand,' Claire shares. She then expands on the pièce de résistance of the garden – her outdoor kitchen stone pizza oven – offering the ultimate al fresco experience.
'The pizza oven was a bit of a whim, but it is easily our favorite part of the garden now. Not only is the food amazing, but there is something about cooking outside, and the atmosphere it creates is amazing. I would say the garden is inspired by the Mediterranean and English countryside, and when you are here, you wouldn't believe you are less than three miles from Birmingham City Centre.'
See: Best garden furniture 2021: the 15 must-have outdoor designs
After walking through this transformation, we're completely green with garden (and stone-baked pizza) envy.
Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA.
Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.
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