I love my home, but my garden is by far my favorite place to be. It’s hard to believe that just a few short months ago it was a bare patch of dirt and the view was—well, let’s just say it brought to mind the adage about good fences making good neighbors. See the steps I took to unlock the space’s potential and transform it from unfortunate eyesore into a charming escape from city life.
As you can see from this sad “before” shot, the space was badly in need of definition, not to mention a way to hide the neighbors’ visual clutter.
#1: Add Privacy & Style
The perimeter fence was by far the most important addition we made to the garden, and it provides both privacy and a cozy feel. I chose to build the fence myself but you can totally buy pre-made panels or just hire a company that specializes in fences to construct something similar. I went with a horizontal plank design for its modern feel and finished the look with a few coats of Benjamin Moore’s Raccoon Fur.
#2: Create the Illusion of Space
Indoors or out, I love a mirror! To create the illusion of more space and add a glam touch, I backed inexpensive trellis panels that I’d painted the same color as the fence with mirrored plexiglass and hung them along the fencing. To soften the look and make them feel more integrated into the space, I planted a passionflower vine in the flower bed directly below, and it’s already started to grow over the mirrors. To read the full step-by-step breakdown for this simple DIY, head over to Design*Sponge, where I blogged all about it.
#3: Lay the Groundwork
I knew I needed some sort of ground cover over the dirt and decided on pea gravel, which is available at all the big-box home-improvement stores. I like pea gravel in particular because the stones are small and easy to walk on. Each bag list how much square footage it covers, which makes it easy to make sure you buy the right amount. To keep the gravel out of the garden beds around the perimeter, I sunk two-by-fours that I painted the same color as the fence. This had the added benefit of creating a nicely defined seating area in the center of the yard.
#4: Illuminate the Space
Don’t overlook the lighting! A strand of outdoor lights casts just the right amount of glow to make the evenings cozy. I first strung a galvanized wire from the back of the fence and secured it to a spot on the back of my house. The wire helps support the strand of lights and will keep it from sagging over time.
#5: Think Outside the Flower Bed
I love using urns and pots in a small garden because they are so versatile. When we’re not entertaining I keep this guy on the gravel seating area for a little architectural interest. When I need to make more space I can move it out of the way. Urns are also a great way to fill in an empty spot in a flower bed.
#6: Maximizing the Space
Because it would have been hard to squeeze a coffee table and a fire pit into the gravel seating area, I decided to just top off the fire pit with a small glass top I found at the flea market. It functions primarily as a casual dining spot during these hot summer months, but come fall we’ll definitely be storing away the glass and stoking up the fire.
#7: Decorate & Enjoy!
Style is just as important outdoors as it is inside, and a dreamy hammock was a garden must for me. It’s really turned into the star of the space. To help hold it open and facilitate getting in, always a challenge with hammocks, I keep two outdoor pillows tucked inside at all times. If you need me this summer, you know where to find me.
Looking for more ways to customize your home? Check out my past Weekend Decorator projects for tons of ideas!
Follow me on Instagram @meganpflug for behind-the-scenes snaps of the space coming together.