Our small courtyard garden is a bit of a funny place, a place we never really used other than for pegging out washing and getting out to the car. A while ago, we made a pallet sofa (see the blog post with a How To here) which was great but in all honesty was too big for our small yard. It’s a funny shape, with a right of way for the neighbours right through the middle of it, diagonally, so we can’t close it off in any way. We had put the sofa in the only space we had available and it was just too close to the door, making the yard feel even smaller. This year we’ve (really, I’ve) had a rethink.
Being inspired by Instagram accounts such as @theinteriorslady and her beautiful courtyard, and that of @dustanddaydreaming, I got to thinking. We’d been meaning to put up a fence to screen off the parking area for about 2 years. The previous owners had gone all out with some crappy expandable trellis which kept disintegrating, and then I stupidly replaced it with the same stuff that lasted about another year until a big storm blew through. Since then we’ve had half a fence with bits hanging off it. Not a good look.
I had a little trip to B&Q and picked up some small fence posts and post holders. I ordered some wooden panels from Estate Saw Mills in Bradford who kindly delivered them – they come in 3.6m lengths and there was no way that would fit in Pierre! They’re tanalised softwood panels (here). Unfortunately for me, I didn’t order enough lengths as I didn’t measure the posts and presumed they were 50cm tall – they’re not, they’re 80cm tall. I had to order some more from Estate Saw Mills, which held us up for a week, and I had to pay the delivery charge again. Always measure! Don’t be an idiot like me!!
We borrowed a drill from our neighbour who’s a glazier (and actually has tools that work, unlike us!) and a ratchet gun for putting the bolts in to hold the fence post holders in place, as we were drilling into stone. It was a pretty straightforward task of marking where we wanted the posts to go, using a laser level to make sure they’re in line with each other, drilling holes for each bolt and using the ratchet gun to tighten each bolt.
We also used a squidge of chemical resin (similar to this) in each hole to make sure the fence posts were good and strong – I don’t want another windy day to have them blow down!
The panels were fixed on using wood screws. Mr R drilled a pilot hole in each one then, working from the bottom up, he attached them to the posts. To maintain an equal gap between them he used a spacer (an offcut from our bedroom wall panelling which is 90mm wide).
The next job was for Hols and me, the painting! I had bought some Cuprinol cheap from B&Q last year (£3!!) with the intention of using it somewhere. But I didn’t know where. Turns out I knew we’d be doing this, and this was the perfect paint for the job… Obviously!
We painted the first half of the fence before we had the second lot of wood delivered, so Holly helped with that, but when we’d done the rest of it she didn’t want to help. “It’s too boring” in her words. I also painted The Most Pointless Gate in the World, the super petty gate the previous owners erected to stop people turning round in our parking space. I’ve thought about getting rid of it but for now I’ve just painted it white and stuck a planter on it!
I saw some fabulous string chairs in my neighbours (and next door but ones, we’ve all got the same now haha!) garden and bought some similar from Homebase. They’re super comfy and really durable, you can leave them out all the time.
We also cleared out the rubbish “raised bed” and had a shift about with the big pots. The courtyard is looking so much better now! The yard surface is breaking up unfortunately and ideally needs pulling up and a new surface putting down, but it’ll have to join the never ending list of jobs to do in the future.
Hope you like our revamped courtyard garden – let me know what you think x