The Upcycled Garden

This is the last of the garden room sets from this year’s Ideal Home Show, and I’ve saved my favourite until last. And in true me-style, I had quite a good chat with Max McMurdo who was hanging around the garden he created trying to eat his lunch and have a conversation with someone who thought he looked familiar, but thought nothing more of it. Until I actually read the leaflet I picked up and realised who I’d been chatting to over the upcycled pallet.

A pallet as a planter in the Ideal Home Show

It is a particularly good use of pallets, and one I wished I’d thought of when in my first house dad and I put up a front fence made of pallets. Just adding an extra plank to keep those pots in, would have added some interest. I was clearly way ahead of my time, although looking back I think I’d have had to nail the pots in as a plant that was on my open porch, which took two people to lift disappeared one day. It’s not actually the sort of thing you can phone the police for is it?

“Yes, hello Officer, yes my five foot money plant, that’s extremely heavy is missing.”

“Where did I leave it? Well on my doorstep, it’s too heavy to move you see.”

But anyway I digress, although that is how and when I got my yucca plant, which is still going strong despite a small accident with MOH falling onto it recently. These doors too reminded me of the “shed-that-dad-built” which I shared on here a couple of years ago. That post is worth a look for the old-fashioned photos alone.

old doors and a suitcase put to good use in the Upcycled Garden at the Ideal Home Show

Back to my chat with Max. It was the real Max I got to speak to, not the statuesque one that perched on yet another pallet. Max is a designer and upcycler and has gone “back to his roots” according to the leaflet with this Land Rover inspired garden, reusing ideas from his book “Upcycling Outdoors”. The leaflet goes on to say that upcycling items has “previously been associated with items within the home” but that this garden shows what you can do with your outside space. I’d just like to say, pop back to the post with the “shed-that-dad-built” there was much upcycling going on there, mostly through quirkiness and need, rather than driven by a reuse mantra, but it was the early nineties…

More pallets, a pizza paddle and a self-portrait
A suitcase planter on legs at the Ideal Home Show

It’s true though that suitcase side tables are more often used indoors, but they do make a lovely planter too.

A landrover put to good use in the Upcycled Garden

That old tool trolley isn’t what it seems either - it’s a barbeque of course. And while storage is always important everywhere, so is having a functional and attractive dining area. Some planks laid across a wooden frame have easily sorted that - that’s definitely something to remember and reuse at some point.

Storage in a garden is always important
Planks forming  a stylish dining space

You didn’t believe me when I said it was a barbeque did you? Here you go…

Can you spot the double Max McMurdo profile?

It was definitely my favourite garden, and while the planting is quite subtle, it’s there thought, and as we know all good gardens are based on a good structure.

What do you think? For me, there’s memories, inspiration and so many things to see in each and every one of these photos. I’m only sorry there wasn’t more time to enjoy the space and take full advantage of the hospitality laid on!

PoCoLo

The Contemporary and Family Fun garden room sets

I’m sharing two of the garden room sets today from this year’s Ideal Home Show. I’ve already shared the Grow Your Own Garden, which means after today there’s just one more to share, and you’d be right to think I’ve saved my favourite garden until last. But before I tell you all about that space and spoil that post, let me share the pictures and info on these two gardens.

I’m sharing them both together so you can see them both, as I’m unlikely to share the Family Fun garden on its own, it’s just not content I usually cover, but it is full of bright colours and colour is quite at home here on my blog, isn’t it?

The Contemporary garden

This garden was sponsored by Gardena, and is an ultra-stylish garden, full of modern planting and design ideas by Charles Benton, one of the Benton Brothers, who you may know from their appearances on ITV’s This Morning.

A place to dine in the Contemporary Garden at the Ideal Home Show

The space is based around entertaining and making the most of the garden, as well as somewhere to eat there’s somewhere to cook, complete with a barbecue I’m not sure I’d show MOH for fear of it ending up quite high on his wishlist, on size alone.

Somewhere to cook and something to cut the grass

There’s also somewhere to relax, which was my favourite part of the garden - and it seemed the perfect spot to sit and watch the robotic lawnmower go about its work. There’s other gadgetry in the garden too, including smart watering which is part of the Gardena smart system, which comes complete with its own smart app so you really can garden from your armchair, or sunlounger.

Somewhere to relax in this contemporary garden room set

Family Fun garden

This garden room set was sponsored by Flymo and according to the leaflet it’s inspired by children and includes all the fun things they can get up to that will keep them entertained all day, and focuses on the sensory experience. It seemed to be well received, as unusually for a space like this, children were in the garden playing.

In the family fun garden room set at the ideal home show

It was designed by the Skinny Jean Gardener who’s aka Lee Connelly, best known for his work as the CBBC Blue Peter Gardener. It seems gardening for kids has come a long way since Percy Thrower was the Blue Peter Gardener when I was growing up!

A colourful spot with a blackboard and planting

The bright colours, activities and sensory elements were all very much evident, and it shows you can have gardens, or spaces in gardens that are child friendly and stylish.

So two very different gardens, with quite different audiences in mind, but two great spaces. Look out for the final - and my favourite - garden room set next week.

The Grow Your Own Garden at the Ideal Home Show

This was one of the garden room sets that I’ve already said I was keen on, and the keen amongst you will realise that that’s because of my penchant for growing my own, but also for the geometric print rug, which is reminiscent of the cushions in my conservatory, and made from recycled plastic straws. But there’s another reason and it’s mostly how four crates have been fastened together to create a good looking and functional table. I’m forever saying I need a small low height garden table, mostly for my gin and tonic, and while this isn’t exactly what I’m after (it’s a little on the large side) I do admire its design.

Crates joined together to make a stylish table.jpg

The garden focuses on sustainability as well as the grow your own element. It shows ways of using your garden space making use of the latest Gardena technology, as well as featuring sustainable designs with items from the decking to the furniture made from recycled plastic bottles, milk cartons and tyres.

Decking, a rug and somewhere to sit.jpg

Which means, that everything might not necessarily be what it seems.

As well as the funky crate table on castors, I’m also quite taken with the raised, slatted looking planter at the rear of the picture above. The vertical struts provide extra growing space, for what looks like herbs, as well as looking stylish. It’s a bit too tall to have alongside my greenhouse - it’d block too much light - but otherwise I think I’d be tempted to look into recreating these raised beds by made from sustainable British timber.

Even the classic shaped Adirondack chairs, another long term favourite, are made from recycled plastic bottles. Which makes a lot more sense - they’re by Polywood if you’re also interested.

Plants in containers

There were plenty of herbs in this garden - as well as the rhubarb amongst the hydrangeas above in planters made from old car tyres - and herbs are no bad thing. They’re great for flavouring food and are a good substitute for salt, as that’s something else that we all more than likely need to cut down on.

Somewhere to rest your garden tools
A cold frame for seedlings

The final thing that caught my eye was this planter full of unruly peas, who look as if they’re arguing with each other about climbing up the cane supports.

Using a milk churn as a planter for sweet peas

On closer inspection the container is a milk churn, which is another way to reuse an container and to introduce some charm to your garden at the same time. It’s one of those garden spaces that has plenty going on, and much of which you don’t spot on first look.

What do you think, are there elements you’d have in your garden?