I often say that the most important room in my house is my garden, and I use my garden as if it was one of the rooms in my house – all year round. I probably spend almost as much time there as I do in my bedroom on average and certainly more than I do in my living room. It was therefore about time I did a spruce-up of my seating area this summer, it has looked the same since I moved in almost 12 years ago.
This is what my seating area used to look like, under a huge holly tree, next to a breezeblock wall that had been threatening to fall down for years, with a small garden bench, a too large table and some plastic chairs.
Last year the landlord of my neighbours decided to build an extension on his house and my big conifer had to come down.
The corner where my seating area is has extensive pipe work on the outer wall, after all, I live in a Victorian house and inside plumbing was not invented for houses of this modest standard when these houses were built. Indoor toilet and water came much later and the pipe work had to go on the outside façade. Not very decorative....
The next door extension got taller and taller and my old breezeblock wall finally gave in and collapsed, I had to get my housing association to come and fix it and....
....they gave me a nice fence instead, same as the rest of the fence in my garden. That was the beginning of my spruce-up.
I then bought a new, bigger garden bench, a bench big enough to lie down on and sit across with my feet up, and I can even sleep on it – in fact, when we had that extremely hot weather in July I slept on here several nights :-)
I got a builder to box in the ugly pipe work and by doing so I got a nice shelf to put even more plants on. The builder also painted the concrete wall so now it is nice and white and all the ugly marks are gone. And I bought two new garden chairs in wood with cushions and a storage box/table.
I got a parasol to shade from the sun and protect from showers.
And I made a really thick mattress for the bench and some cushions. I also have a wedge cushion on the left side of the bench so I can sit across and rest my back that way, as I am much more comfortable when having my legs up.
And do you remember I have written about the chimenea I was going to get? Here it is, mine is called Tia and I am so happy I got it! Normally it stands next to my nursery shelves, but when I want to use it I lift it out here in the middle of the path. It is made of steel and cast iron and not heavier than I can lift it myself.
To complement my seating area I pick fresh flowers and put in this vase, my latest craze is water gel pearls, the pearls are made out of a non-toxic polymer that have the ability to absorb up to 150 times its weight in water.
I think they look so pretty in the vase and if you have never used these water gel pearls I can highly recommend them, if nothing else, they are very addictive just to play with!
But it is after dark my new seating area really looks it’s best, it is no longer a pitch dark corner! In my vase I have submersible LED tea candles.
And the same tea candles in my bird bath.
I have ‘real flame’ tea candle lanterns spread around the garden.
And on my sofa/bench I have a warm, super soft fleece throw to put over me if it gets a bit chilly.
Although as soon as I get up, the throw is hogged by my cat who also likes super soft throws with zebra pattern!
So far I have only used my chimenea with bio-ethanol, it doesn’t provide much heat when used outdoor, it is more for the cosy flames but with bio-ethanol there is no smoke or fumes at all so it is very neighbour friendly if you live close to next door like I do.
My chimenea can be used with any type of fuel, like wood, coal and recycled newspaper logs and other eco fuel, but all those produce smoke, fumes and ash.
My chimenea has a small metal box which I fill with bio-ethanol and if you look closely on this picture you can see the box at the bottom of the chimenea. When the bio-ethanol is used up, the fire goes out. If I use it with wood or coal I can also use this chimenea to cook food on, as a barbeque, but I haven’t tried that yet.
When the fire goes out it gets a bit darker sitting here, so then I turn on the parasol light....
....which hangs like a small UFO right under the parasol canopy. It is actually very bright and lights up the whole seating area.
As I was taking these photos last night, the parasol light was attracting a lot of insects and I just had to take a few photos of them. It was especially this moth that was very busy right next to me, flying in and out of the penstemons in the tub standing only centimetres away from me.
I have tried all summer to get a decent photo of some butterflies in my garden, but not one of them has been presentable, they fly away too quickly. I suppose brown moths are not exactly as interesting as a peacock butterfly, but they are easier to photograph!
And up-close, this moth has some nice colours too :-)
OK, so I started with the history of my seating area and ended up with moths, nothing wrong with a good digression! So far we have had the best summer for decades here in London and I have been out in my garden a lot and used my seating area a lot too. Hopefully summer will last well into September and, as it sometimes happens here in London, maybe we will get a nice and long autumn too. And if not, I have my zebra striped fleece throw to wrap up in, so I will still be sitting outside!
Until next time, take care.
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PS! I do all my shopping from my sofa - on the Internet, everything you see here you can get too if you live in UK. Here are some links for you if you want to create something similar.
6ft garden bench from Internet gardener
Garden chairs from Ikea
Glazing paint used on the bench and the chairs from Ikea
Lanterns from Ikea
Parasol light from Amazon
Zebra throw from Amazon
Animal print fabrics from Fabric online
Zips and other haberdasheries from Minerva crafts
Foam wedge from Amazon
Custom cut mattress foam from TW foam
Parasol base from Amazon
Parasol from Amazon
Bio-ethanol from Prestigious Fires
Tia chimenea from Chiminea shop uk
Submersible tea lights from Festive lights
Gel pearls from The glow company