Small Garden Makeover on a Budget

One of my minimalist goals this year was to create a low maintenance courtyard garden. We started this project in April and have almost finished it. Anyhow, it is finished enough to be a very relaxing space now (especially with no lawn to maintain and our recent glorious weather) and I think I owe you more than a peep of the revamp. 
These photos have been taken over the last few weeks.

As you can see we pretty much stuck to our design. To keep costs down we didn't make any structural changes but a lot of labour was involved: digging up and disposing of the lawn; measuring and cutting wood; laying membrane, slate and bark; painting the deck, fence and shed; adding compost and grit to the soil and finally cleaning the slabs without a pressure washer - no gym membership required round here!
The table and chairs were passed onto us by my mum and dad and some things like the box in large tubs, the lanterns, cushions and rope lights we already had. Our planting was also done as cheaply as possible. Many of the plants were from local plant sales in May or donated by friends and family. It's been very exciting watching some very tiny plants grow so quickly such as the verbena bonariensis which has grown and flowered like crazy in the last few weeks. Our friend Elizabeth sent tiny seedlings of this plant from her gorgeous garden in Cornwall. It's hard to believe they were lost in the post for several days, looking at them now. 

We are really pleased with the grasses we have planted (Karl Forester and Mexican grass) as they add height and movement. Our colour scheme is purple, white and green which I hope to follow through in the autumn by planting bulbs such as white narcissi, alliums and purple tulips. Lots of herbs have also been planted to provide interest and free food: chives, tree spinach, rosemary and parsley. 
There is also lavender although it has stopped flowering now.

You might have noticed a blue sail above the table; this is temporary and we're hoping to replace it with a white version soon. Also on our to-do list is creating a screen for our two wheelie bins which are near the back gate. Plus I have a wish list of more plants but I am holding back until next year. I hope you've enjoyed this garden tour as much I've enjoyed creating it. I can't tell you how much pleasure I'm getting from pottering about in my tiny garden.
And how much more relaxing this space is now whether we're alone or entertaining. 

Not bad for a small garden on a budget (we spent less than £300). 

And it's bee friendly too.



  1. Your new garden looks lovely. Very inviting indeed. And I like that it's low maintenance :-)

  2. Beautiful , I would love a sail hubby thinks they are dangerous................mind we do get 60mph winds :) Love your planting scheme .............lucky bees :)

  3. It came together beautifully. It looks easy to care for, too.

  4. It is beautiful, you must feel so proud of what you have achieved. If you buy any new plants, I can recommend passiflora (Passion flower) and clematis viticella which give amazing purple flowers for very little effort. I got mine super cheap from home base at the end of summer.

  5. The garden looks great. It makes so much sense if you're wanting to live a more minimal life. It must be great to finally get rid of the lawn mower. We thought about getting rid of our small lawn this year, but in the end decided to returf and get some proper structure built into the garden. We're a lot happier with now as it looks so much tidier. Well done for creating it on such a small budget. The verbena boniarensis is lovely. I used to have some in my garden too.

  6. I think it looks lovely. Really effective. Do you know Sarah's blog Down By The Sea? She has shared her gravel garden in her last post. It is beautiful, self seeding and low maintenance. You might be interested in having a look?
    Leanne xx

    1. Yes, it's gorgeous - I'd love our planting to get to that stage. I'm trying to be patient...

  7. That is a cool garden and should be very easy to maintain! I love the ideas that you have put in place. I hope you really enjoy the summer here.

  8. Wow, it's wonderful, and I'm really impressed with the budget you stuck to. You've worked really hard and made a beautiful job of it all. I love the verbena bonariensis, and the herbs as well. A lovely place to sit and enjoy the outdoors. CJ xx

  9. Perfect garden, you've interpreted the space really well. Looks like a Chelsea winner to me.

    jean x

  10. Congrats! It looks fantastic. And I actually like the blue canopy.

  11. Claire your courtyard garden is a joy to behold! It seems that it's also a joy for you to relax and entertain in that lovely space which was the point of the exercise - pun intended :)
    Flowers and food are certainly better than grass and it's good to see the bees enjoying them too.

  12. Stunning job in your garden! Everything looks so beautiful!!! Nicole

  13. I like the colour you've chosen for the decking and shed.

  14. I was about to write the same comment as Julee - I love that colour - it's very calming.

  15. Perfect....low maintenance & pretty, perfect for chilling. I really like the blue sail! Xx

  16. Your garden looks wonderful! It doesn’t even look like it was done on a tight budget. Well, you don’t really have to spend expansively if you know how to handle your resources and have a way to get the materials cheaply. In the end, it's that and a bit of creativity that really makes a difference. Cheers!

    Mitchell Knapp @ Scenic Landscaping

  17. I think it's stunning. You've made the size of your garden a plus, as it's so chic and easy to maintain. The planting is beautiful, and it will be even more beautiful next year. Your hard work has paid off and then some.I hope there was lots of time to sit and enjoy it over the summer. x

  18. Superlative style of writing that every new blogger aspires to have.
    garden furniture restoration blog


Thanks for reading and leaving your comments. Keep in touch xo