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

Tour Around This Historic Oxfordshire Home With Bursts Of Colour 1
Home Tours

Tour around this historic Oxfordshire home with bursts of colour

Heather Darwall-Smith invigorated her historic Oxfordshire home with bursts of colour and clever touches.
Woman In Light Home Work From Home Avoid Burnout
Home Office

Beat burnout: How to create a stress free working environment at home

With burnout being recognised as a legitimate phenomenon, we've found a few things you can do to create a comfortable working environment at home and...
 
Original Cream Macrame Double Hanging Seat
Garden

8 trendy hanging chairs your garden needs this summer

There's nothing like relaxing in a hanging chair on a summers day. That's why we have rounded up the most stylish hanging chairs on the...
Nautical Themed Living Room Copy
Living Room

Nautical themed room ideas to bring the seaside home

Bring some holiday fun into your busy home with a nautical inspired room. Here are some of the best to inspire your own seaside sanctuary...
Difference Between Orangery And Conservatory
Living Room

Orangery or conservatory: What's the difference?

The difference between an orangery and a conservatory has become more and more blurred over recent years, but we're here to set the record straight...
Simba Mattress Lifestyle Shot
Bedroom

6 best mattresses for side sleepers in UK

Toss and turn at night? Here’s our top six mattresses for side sleepers to help you slumber sweetly.
 
 
Wood Bed Bedroom Comfort White Bedding
Bedroom

Best summer duvets

Check out our editor’s picks of the best summer duvets to help you grab a great night’s sleep.
Selina Lake Alitex Greenhouse Chelsea Flower Show Botanical Gardens Rhs
Garden

Chelsea Flower Show greenhouse styling tips from Selina Lake

We get author and stylist Selina Lakes' top garden styling tips from her stunning Alitex greenhouse stand at Chelsea Flower Show 2019.
Ikea Tom Dixon Chelsea Flower Show
Garden

IKEA x Tom Dixon Chelsea Flower Show garden revealed

We reveal the IKEA and Tom Dixon garden collaboration at Chelsea Flower Show 2019 where 4000 edible plants are exhibited to promote a sustainable and...
Sell Out Ms Palm Print Bedding Green Dusky Pink
Bedroom

Top tropical bed set alternatives to rival M&S' sell-out

The M&S sell-out bedding isn’t for everyone. So, we’ve found some top alternatives for those still looking to inject a bit of botanical into their bedroom.
Outdoor Rugs Living Area John Lewis
Garden

10 easy garden ideas to prepare for summer

We've rounded up 10 simple stylish garden ideas to prepare your outdoor space, balcony or patio for summer parties, al fresco dining or a spot...
Sarah Raven Leaning On Garden Gate
Garden

Sarah Raven's top 10 garden jobs for February

Discover this month's essential gardening tasks to get ahead before springtime.
Maxine Brady In Garden Home Tours Good Homes Magazines
Garden

5 space-saving ideas to maximise your outdoor space from an interior stylist

We roundup interior stylist and We Love Home blogger, Maxine Brady’s, innovative design tricks to increase space in a small gardens.