I have an oddly shaped garden which wraps around the back of the house. We are lucky to have driveway parking in a part of our town where that is like gold dust but it doesn’t make for a pretty entrance to our front door and it has  been neglected in favour of easier projects. When Homebase challenged me to transform a part of my home using products from their store I realised this was the chance to sort the eyesore; I bit the bullet and tackled my dragon!

Making a container garden - before

According to recent research by Homebase shoppers spend, on average, 29 days researching ideas before kicking off a project, and then spend  £243 on updating their home décor. As you can see from the shot above, I had a lot of prep to do before I could begin to realise my garden dreams!

The research also revealed that most homeowners think DIY is about creating a look or style in their home without expert help – and consumers are increasingly using ‘friendspiration’ to achieve their look. 55% of shoppers say they use friends (offline and online) to get ideas for styles, products and colours – I know I do!

I set up a container garden Pinterest board, started making lists, asked friends what they would do and then, armed with £243 of Homebase vouchers, the seats folded down in my car and a large boy to help, I went shopping.

We started with wire brushes, sand paper, wood filler, undercoat and paint. Some bits needed more attention than others.

DIY makeover

Once we’d fully prepped the masonry and woodwork it was time for me to climb a ladder and start the transformation. Once my husband and teenagers had stopped laughing at me (rude) and snapping pictures of me balanced precariously on the porch roof they rolled their sleeves up and mucked in too.

house painting

Two coats of Dulux Weathershield pure white masonry paint over the grotty, spotty cream we have lived with for 14 years and the transformation had really begun! I may even have been whistling while I worked. Next, the undercoated windows got a couple of coats of Farrow and Ball exterior eggshell in French Gray and I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat! Once it was done I had this blank canvas to play with…

DIY garden makeover

I decided that the Studio doors and windows needed the same treatment – I’m sure you’ll agree that they were long overdue an update! You can see the ‘after’ shot towards the end of this post.

DIY house makeover

Now my attention turned to plants, they needed to be happy with sunshine for only part of the day and some of them needed to be happy in a pretty shady spot with sunshine only reaching them right at the end of the day. I settled on a colour palette of predominantly yellows and greens with a smattering of russet and a smidgen of lilac. The majority of the plants I chose are for permanent planting and I can ring the changes by updating the small pots with seasonal colours as the year meanders on. I included some evergreens so that this area will still look good in winter and for a mixture of heights with a beautiful standard Forsythia and a climbing Jasmine towering over everything else. I love the way they look against the white of the wall.

standard forsythia


Because the area is a driveway and a play area I had to ensure the pots were as close to the wall as possible, the varying heights ensure that it looks bountiful without being in the way. Of course, the beauty of a garden is that it is constantly changing and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this area develops as the plants grow.

Planting a container garden

I love growing things we can eat and having them close to the kitchen door for easy access – that’s my kitchen window all freshly spruced so I don’t have far to walk with my snippers! I planted sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano bay and mint and they have already appeared in a meal or two. My children bought this herb planter for me as a gift from Homebase several years ago and I was delighted to see it still stocked in store – it’s been one of my best pots and it has aged beautifully.

herb planter

This is now the view I face as I leave the house, much better, it lifts my heart!

container garden

The area under the porch window is more of a planting challenge as this is in shade right up until early evening. I’ve chosen shade tolerant plants like rhododendron, Bleeding Heart and Box but I’ll be keeping a close eye on them to see if they are happy where they are – the beauty of a container garden is that you can move things around if they’re not working. I’ve chosen two climbers to scramble over the porch to give me that cottage garden effect I long for – Hydrangea Petiolaris is a self clinger which should produce white flat lace-cap flowers in summer, turning pink-brown in autumn while Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ will be showing off its abundant white flowers shortly and its glorious berries in autumn.

container gardening in partial shade

I love the Euonymus with its variegated leaves nestling in with the Rhododendron, Box, Bleeding Heart and that beautiful deep red Irish Primrose (Innisfree), I’m really hoping this combination works!

gardening in containers

Finally, my little bit of frippery – I planted up some tiny terracotta pots my husband bought for me from TradeIt before vintage was cool, I love their aged wibblediness and they look gorgeous with these fresh faced violas nodding happily in the breeze!

violas in pots

I popped some here too – don’t they look lovely?

viola baskets

Such cheerful faces!

violas, container gardening, spring bedding plants

Finally, I bought a grow rack greenhouse and packets of seeds. I don’t have room for a large greenhouse in my small garden but I am a total seed addict and my family do get a bit tired of windowsills covered in pots – this greenhouse against my newly painted Studio doors allows me to raise more plants for my container garden, hoorah!

garden greenhouse, greenhouse for a small garden

And that’s it – one project finished! We are going on to do the rest of the house in the same colours which is quite a mammoth task – I’m hoping to employ a teenager or two once the exams are done with!

Homebase staff in the garden centre and paint department were knowledgeable and helpful, pointing me towards the right paint, tools and plants I needed to complete my makeover. Homebase has launched a new portal called The Project Centre where you can find inspiration as well as help and advice for your own home projects.

Cowslip Lime with Orange

I’ll leave you with that picture of my lovely Cowslip Lime with Orange waving at you from my kitchen windowsill.

With the Spring Bank Holidays rapidly approaching what DIY project would you like to tackle? Which bit of your home would you makeover?

Disclosure: Homebase provided me with vouchers to spend in store to complete my makeover.

Follow Thinly Spread’s board Homebase #MyWay Garden Project on Pinterest.

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