Transforming a tired, overgrown plot into a modern oasis has given Amanda and Cliff Pullen a versatile space they can enjoy all year round

Pullen Garden 3

Having grown up near Bushey Heath in Hertfordshire, and keen to stay close to friends and family, Amanda Pullen and her husband Cliff found their dream home there back in 2014. A detached property with plenty of room, it was actually the garden that sold it to them. ‘The outdoor space was a good size,’ Amanda explains, ‘and although it looked a bit tired, with an overgrown orchard and lots of uneven crazy paving, we could see the potential.’

The couple set about modernising and extending their home over the coming years, but when it came to the garden, it was Cliff who took over the design. After spending his childhood in Australia and with a degree in landscape architecture, he had plenty of inspiration as to what they could achieve. ‘Years of travelling and my training helped with the basics,’ he recalls. ‘I wanted a modern outdoor space that would reflect the way in which we’ve modernised the interior of the house. Plus, I wanted to bring in a touch of my Australian homeland, with natural contrasting colours and different spaces, while also incorporating luscious plants.’

Pullen Garden 5

Before image

Work began in 2015. Amanda recalls Cliff driving an excavator through the house to dig up the existing garden. ‘He worked hard,’ she says. ‘It was basically a start-again project. After levelling off the lawn he then constructed the retaining walls and ponds. Next, he moved on to the barbecue area, where he built a roof with heaters to allow us to use the space all year round. It was important to us to have an outdoor room where we could enjoy being outside, whatever the weather, as a family.’

Although Cliff undertook most of the work himself, he brought in builders for the retaining walls and floor tiles: ‘They finished them in half the time it would have taken me,’ he remarks. ‘I also had the electrics completed by a trained contractor.’

Pullen Garden 1

The end result certainly has the wow factor: the vast plot is now divided up into zones that include a modern seating area next to a calming pond and waterfall, a tranquil orchard and a large undercover barbecue and dining space. ‘It’s a great place to entertain,’ says Amanda. ‘I had bespoke cushions made for the seats in a vibrant lime – they really stand out. It’s also a lovely space to sit on cooler evenings, with the fire pit to keep us warm and cosy.’

Satisfied with the results of all his hard work, Cliff still has some plans to keep the garden scheme evolving. ‘If I could get the excavator back through the house I would make a natural swimming pond,’ he explains. ‘I’m currently thinking of changing the large water feature into a splash pool that is deep enough and warm enough to swim in. I’ve also seeded the orchard with wildflowers and we are hoping to see this area grow into a haven for bees and other nature over time.’

‘The orchard has a fantastic grass patch where you can lay a rug and laze about,’ Amanda adds. ‘You feel as if you could be in the middle of fruit trees in any part of the countryside. It’s absolutely idyllic.’

 Pullen Garden 4

Words: Laurie Davidson, Photographer: Oliver Gordon

Eco City Garden Chelsea Flower Show 2018 Day Resized

Q&A with LG's Eco City Garden designer at Chelsea Flower Show 2018

We chatted to the garden designer Hay Juong Hwang of HAY Design to talk through the eco friendly ideas and energy saving designs within the...
Ikea Indoor Garden Design Plantswork Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Easy interior garden ideas from Chelsea Flower Show

From simple space saving ideas to brand new garden trends, styling indoor plants is made easy with Indoor Garden Design's Creative Director who worked with...
Outdoor Garden Sofa Living Area

Top garden style trends for spring summer 2018

As we welcome the warmer, longer and light days, we will look towards updating our outdoor space in anticipation of summer barbecues and garden parties....
Houseoffraser Colour Outdoor Table Garden Party Ideas

5 garden party ideas for sunny weekends

Heatwave weekends call for al fresco dining and entertaining. We've rounded up a few of our favourite garden party ideas that can be easily achieved...
Sainsburys Home Palm House Outdoor Dining Cropped

Stylish outdoor living area design ideas

From making the most of your small outdoor space to creating the perfect scheme for parties, we share our top tips on creating the perfect...
How To Make A Christmas Wreath DIY

How to make a Christmas Wreath

Get your home ready for the festive season with a bit of DIY. Follow these easy steps to make your own Christmas wreath.