Real home: Revamped garden has a festival feel

After knocking through three rooms to create a 30ft kitchen-diner, the last stop in Leila and Joe’s renovation journey was the garden. ‘It was very unloved with an uneven patio, which got even more unsteady after the builders piled their materials on there,’ says Leila. ‘By the end, the lawn was an unsalvageable swamp.’


The owners Leila Davidson, an HR advisor, her partner, Joe Peddie, a civil and structural engineer, and their cats, Zephyr and Laszlo
The property A three-bedroom period townhouse, built around 1904, in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire
Project cost £5,106


Plain lawned garden turned into social space with a festival feel

The old garden–  a dull space with cracked paving and brown shed

(Image credit: Leila Davidson)

The couple painted the shed and fence black themselves, before hiring local landscaper Dave Edmondson in May 2020, when tradespeople could work outside. ‘My friend used him a few years ago, so we didn’t get any other quotes,’ says Leila. ‘We were all DIY-ed out, busy with work and didn’t know where to start with laying paving, so we were happy to bring in a professional.’  

Plain lawned garden turned into social space with a festival feel

A coat of black paint transformed the shed and fences, but the rest of the plot still needed work

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Leila researched hardy plants and gathered ideas for urban tropical gardens before planning the space and garden design using a tool on ‘It faces north east, so we get sun in the morning and it’ll creep up the garden until about 6pm in summer,’ she says. ‘I wanted the garden to be based around the sun, and I knew there was room for two patios.


Plain lawned garden turned into social space with a festival feel

The corner sofa is on the top patio, perfectly placed to catch the sun. Monochrome rug and black lantern, Ikea (opens in new tab). Outdoor sofa and coffee table, Argos (opens in new tab). Blanket, Furn (opens in new tab). Round jute rug, Hilary & Flo (opens in new tab). Tray, Emma J Shipley (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

The seating area has been placed in the sunniest spot. ‘We could’ve moved the shed as that area would get even more sun,’ says Leila. ‘But it would’ve cost a fortune and wouldn’t have been practical.’