Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Transformation of My Outdoor Living Space

Just lately I've undertaken the epic task of transforming my outdoor living space, to some they'd call it a tiny back garden but to me, it's the place I live as soon as the temperature rises enough to actually not be outdoors without getting a chill!

I love my garden, it's tiny, it's urban but it's mine, there's nothing I love more than an afternoon pottering around the flowerbeds but this year for me is special, this is the year I want to complete the project and that takes work.

First we cleared the garden, thankfully Looby helped as we transformed what was a complete mess after winter and the reorganisation of my home, when we got to February and the garden was piled high with black bags and old stuff just waiting to go to the tip I was grateful for the help of friends to get it removed.

Next came, the hard work turning over the soil and planting vegetables and fruits so that we can be more self-sufficient, as a complete aside, this is the first time I've ever grown mushrooms and I've impressed myself with my ability to grow mould!

I digress, back to the outdoor space, so far I've planted Potatoes, Spinach, Rocket, Tomatoes, peas, blackcurrants and strawberries and they're all doing pretty well except for the tomatoes which were probably wiped out by the recent early morning snow, yes, I still have a lot to learn about gardening.  The thing is though, I always loved gardening, my parents had a back garden many would have envied and I continued gardening as I moved into my own house.

 Then I met Paul and for many years he took care of things because that's his job, he's a professional gardener so having to think about the dirty bits, the bits where you can encounter crawly things or get stabbed by prickly bushes, well I didn't really enjoy those bits.  Let me tell you, recently when I opened the bottom of the compost bin to be confronted with cobwebs, I quickly put the door back on and there it may stay until my next brave moment (could be never) arises.

I have donned gardening gloves though and gotten my hands dirty and it's actually so fulfilling to be able to transform your own space.  One of the main things I've changed was removing both boring big bins from my back garden to put them around to the front door space which no one ever uses, we live in a weird street and literally, the only person who ever comes to the front door is the postman.  We have no garden just a little pavement with no boundary apart from a small brick wall to the side so it's the perfect place which doesn't get any sun to store both bins and it's given me an extra 2 metres of usable garden with no fear of sitting out having to smell a stinky bin when the heat hits in mid-summer.

This month brought great excitement as the arbour I had been saving for, (for almost 2 years since I first spotted it on Amazon) finally arrived, I cannot tell you how happy this had made me and at every opportunity I have been out there sitting in it, it turns out it shelters you completely from the wind so I've already managed a couple of afternoons just whiling away the hours.

I've also just bought a Chiminea after several weeks of thought about what to do with a small firepit I had and also wanting to buy a bigger BBQ because I cook outside as often as possible during the fairer months of the year.  The compromise of a Chiminea seems perfect because it's a grander way to keep warm whilst also offering a grill which swings out

I've also been working out what we can do with our path, at first I thought I would gravel it but that would involve raising the height of the path, and chopping a bit off the gate and really, it took an hour and 3 people to get two hanging baskets attached to the fence!!  I fell down a Pinterest rabbit hole to find beautiful painted concrete paths and so that's what I'm going to do, multi-coloured bright squares of happy colours which should last all year around.  Looby also wants to paint the arbour but I'm happy to keep it just as it is, at least for a little while.

The next steps are to either bark or put slate chippings on the garden to make it look prettier and help suppress the weeds, I don't get too many but when feeding the birds they're always dropping seeds and trying to start their own Wimbledon-esque lawns and I seriously do not have room for lawn!

I also want 1 more chair, probably an egg chair which will sit outside the door to the left, there's just enough space if I juggle a little and yesterday a kind person brought me some bricks which I've edged the left side of the garden with, I'd like to grow succulents in the small brick holes so that's yet another project for summer and my path, as I've already discussed, I just hate it but if I don't paint it, I haven't a clue what to do with, in a perfect world I'd have pebbles and wooden slats as a pathway but I think it might be too complicated to achieve on my own, I'm getting quite good at gardening but I'm a long way from being Alan Tichmarsh!


1 comment

Alicia said...

What a fascinating project you did Mandy! Oh, it's really an epic task and you finishing was totally incredible. Just discovered your awesome blog and got exited seeing so many adorable resources you organized day after day that might be able to inspire and bring a refreshment to your fan-followers. The tiny back garden looks amazing. I was so much pleased to have some new gardening ideas in such a small space. Love your project. I can also add a service here for the readers from Greater Toronto area and it's about backyard landscaping ideas. To get more information, just make a short trip please.

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