Garden makeover: ‘It feels like a continuation of the house’
Gabrielle Grubanovich, an interior designer and personal shopper, lives here with her husband, Richard, an oil broker, and their two teenage children. The makeover brief was to replan the whole garden, creating distinctive areas for relaxing, entertaining and cooking with all-round planting. Here, Gabrielle tells Good Homes magazine all about her approach to outdoor living…
Why didn’t you like your garden?
When we bought our 1930s house, the garden was unimaginative and overgrown, with straight line borders and large conifer trees in the rear third of the garden, which blocked off that entire section.
How did you want to change the space?
As an interior designer, I decided to approach the garden in the same way as I would with a home design. We had a good-sized space and I wanted to divide it into separate zones. At the back there was already a garden room and a sheltered space that gets the best of the late afternoon sunshine, so we decided to make this an outdoor kitchen, dining and living area.
There’s also a chill-out space with a fire pit where the teenagers can hang out. The final area, closest to the house, is great for morning coffee and has a soft lawn that is wonderful to lie out on in the summer.
What were your must-have features?
I’m Australian and I love to cook outside, so the kitchen and dining area were really important to me. We asked Nick Gough and Douglas Vieira from The Distinctive Gardener to take on the project and I bought the kitchen, barbecue and furniture separately. Everything went to plan, but a heatwave meant the poor designers were planting in 35ºC heat!
Tell us about the lighting…
We took time to plan the garden lighting with up lighters, downlighters and path lights with warm white bulbs that illuminate the whole garden in the evening. It’s operated by remote control with four channels so we can create different moods, depending on the occasion.
What have you learned?
I know so much about outdoor plants than I used to. I was worried about the proximity of the multi-stem Amelanchier tree that is just a metre from the house. It felt too close and I thought it might block the light but it’s just beautiful and really adds interest with wonderful blossom in the spring and stunning leaves in the autumn.
How do you feel now it’s all finished?
I am amazed at how our garden looks all year round now. When the flowers die back, the structural evergreen plants still provide colour and interest throughout the winter months. Come the spring, the plants start to grow and suddenly burst into bloom. It’s now a multi-functional space that’s great for socialising. The amazing lighting means that it’s almost more beautiful in the evenings than during the day.
Project costs: (excluding design fee and furniture)
- paving: £10,000
- lawn: £600
- decking: £2,000
- gravel: £900
- planting: £ 8,000
- irrigation: £700
- lighting: £5,000
- outdoor kitchen: £9,000
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