Simple Living // Back yard update with B&Q…

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

It’s been a while since I updated you with the progress of our back yard makeover with B&Q. Well despite being mega busy we have been tackling the garden and shed in pockets of furious energy and I can now reveal a small corner of the courtyard.

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

I had to share this pretty little corner, the flowers are at their best right now, any longer and these pretties will be over for another year.

As you know our court yard makeover has been kindly sponsored by B&Q.  Back in February we had a conversation about a new shed, and making a garden room that we as a family would love using.  After looking through the many different sizes and shapes of sheds, we quickly realised that we would have to build our own.

Our outside space is a funny shape, kind of a squished rectangle, so to make the most of the small space we have, Dan custom built the shed to fit.  All the materials were from B&Q and can be found in any of their larger stores.  I will go more into the construction of the shed in another post, for now let’s talk about the planting!

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

I decided to go for a very simple colour palette, mainly white but with soft peachy hues to add a little drama.  As the courtyard is such a small space, I didn’t want it to feel too ‘busy’ so by keep to one or two colours it gives the space a calm, relaxed, considered vibe.

All the plants you can see here are from B&Q.  The foxgloves are a dream come true, I am a huge fan of their fairy like qualities, and was delighted to discover that at B&Q they were selling white and peach coloured fox gloves, 3 for £10!  Yes!

The rose is a David Austen variety, called Evelyn.  Deeply scented, masses of petals, this is the rose I would have in my wedding bouquet (if I was getting married), it is everything I could wish for in a rose. It is a shrub variety, but over time I hope that with some gentle persuasion I can get it climb across the fence.

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

The floor of the courtyard is my favourite bit.  I honestly was panicking about laying a paving slab floor, but actually it was pretty easy.  We watched the handy instruction video on the B&Q website, which gave us some great tips on how to get it level using a sand base.  And the laying was done over a weekend.  It was the edges that we pondered over.  Suddenly I remembered an image I had seen on Pinterest, where someone had used succulents to fill those awkward areas.

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&qLou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

I mixed a little compost with gravel so it was free draining, succulents hate sitting in water.  Then I planted small Sempervivums into the holes and topped it with gravel to make it pretty.  These will grow there quite happily, left to their own devices they should produce babies and fill up the edges nicely.

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

Other planting includes a large blousy headed Hydrangea, which has pretty peachy tips to the petals. Hollyhocks which will flower in the Summer, a white Dicentra (bleeding heart) and an old zinc bath tub filled with herbs, Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary and Sage – all of which I use regularly in the kitchen.

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

The wire ‘tipi’ I found at our local flea market, it will be covered in Sweet Peas later in the season, something to look forward to.

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

I love to bring a little bit of interest into the garden.  Each beach we visit as a family, I bring home a pebble. This one was from last Summer, when we were staying in North Devon. I love the stripes.  It looks at home here.

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

Lou Archell Back Yard May 2016 b&q

So there we are. I couldn’t be more delighted at how this part of the courtyard has turned out.  I shall of course do a big REVEAL once we have finished the other side and the door of the shed has been fitted.  Last weekend we had our first BBQ outside, and it was wonderful!  Here’s to using it ALL Summer.

Buying guide:

Plants: (all available in store)

  • Hydrangea
  • Dicentra – White Alba
  • David Austen Rose – Evelyn
  • Hollyhocks
  • Semperviviums
  • Sweet Peas
  • Herbs, Rosemary, Marjoram, Thyme (lemon, variegated) & Sage
  • Foxgloves


  • Rose pot
  • Black plastic pot
  • Terracotta pot – available in store


  • Monksbridge croft
  • Gravel


  • Scaffold boards


  • Blomis external light

Collaboration Note:  This post has been kindly sponsored by the brilliant B&Q who, without them, we wouldn’t have been able to make our courtyard the space it is.  Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.