We did it.
After eight weeks that spanned two seasons, tumultuous world events and new ways of living, we have completed our first #OneRoomChallenge and our backyard is blooming despite it all. Having a positive, productive focus in our house-bound household has been good for all of us. We are so happy with the results, but it has been the journey together that has made this do-over so meaningful. I so appreciate you following along and sharing your encouragement.
I want to give a special shout out to my family for helping me with the endless list of projects and for patiently putting up with my perfectionist tendencies. They know by now, being finished is only a moment in time. So, before we go on to the next, or reimagine what's already been done, I'll take Graham's advice and relish in what we've achieved and enjoy the moment.
In its seventeenth season, the One Room Challenge™, takes place in April and October. Each round, twenty design influencers take the challenge as Featured Designers. Every Wednesday, the designers document their process over six weekly posts (bumped to eight weeks this season due to the pandemic). Better Homes and Gardens is the official media sponsor.
In addition to following along, everyone with a blog or Instagram account, is welcome to join the fun as a Guest Participant by linking their own room transformations up each Thursday, flooding the internet and social media with interior design inspiration, ideas, and encouragement.
This is our first One Room Challenge and the first project in our new house. Follow along as we transform our forgotten garden into a blooming flower studio and botanical backyard. We are #LovingLeuty.
We've Come Along Way
Let's take a moment to think back to early spring when the air was cool, the sky was grey and our backyard was a sad afterthought.
Ohh, but the potential was there. We had a solid shed and a great-sized city yard. And a vision to make a pretty garden floral studio with a cutting garden to scratch my botanical itch.
But first, the hard work.
We took out old decks, dug up scraggly grass, built raised garden beds and filled them with soil, made garden paths, pea gravelled a sitting area, painted and then painted some more, DIYed a workbench, assembled storage sheds and shelves, planted, weeded, moved stuff out of the shed and then moved stuff in.
And, finally, it's all done.
In the beginning. Actually, this is already after we removed the grass and all the junk in the shed. Our clean slate is ready.
A cedar mulch path takes you from the cutting garden to the flower studio which is surrounded by a pea gravel sitting area. Our last garden studio was white, so we decided to switch things up and go with a darker, enchanting colour palette of smokey grey and jet black.
The cutting garden was just planted weeks ago and look at her grow. Mother Nature amazes.
A garland made with leaves from a huge magnolia tree in our yard drapes the front door to the garden studio.
Come on in.
Graham's home-made workbench takes centre stage in the studio. Already, it's getting lots of use. The flowers aren't from our garden yet - just wait until next year.
Pink peonies mingle with snapdragons, roses and coral bells.
Our newly painted black door is a perfect backdrop for dramatic stills.
I can't believe we got everything to fit. One side of the shed is taken up with a white wall-shelf and is a clean backdrop for all our bits to shine. Our vases and styling objects are on full display and within easy reach.
Art. Or, the vessel for art? Deep thoughts.
The other side of the shed has a warm, rustic vibe. My current desk is an antique baker's bin that's travelled with us from home to home. It's been used as a kitchen hutch and a baby change table.
Not a prop. My dream husband brought me a fine cuppa while I was styling the shed. Well, in the end, it was too lovely not to be a prop. Tasted good too.
I'm mostly self-taught, so I learn so much from my collection of floral and gardening books. The old teapot from Graham's mum holds, among other things, butter knives which are excellent for weeding and planting seedlings.
It's so important to me to design with things of meaning, things that tell a story, things older than me. Look at the gorgeous weathering on my dad's old wood tool kit.
Notes and sunlight.
An early version of the planting layout. Four raised beds filled with flora intended to be cut for arranging.
Graham made these solid shelves on the left out of some old floor joists. My shop cat keeps an eye on the establishment.
Collected bits in amber.
Always looking. We scored an incredible collection of beautifully aged clay pots on the side of the road on garbage day.
The flower shed envelops all our senses.
The only outside trade help we ended up getting was electrical. We are so happy to have lights calling us to the back of the garden.
We have a mix of different sizes and shapes of containers but they are married by common colour, texture and planting scheme.
We're looking forward to our first garden party.
More Before and Afters
To remember the road travelled, here are a few more comparison images. I hope this serves as inspiration that you too can take a space and transform it in just a matter of weeks.
That's A Wrap
I really hope you've enjoyed the tour of our little flowertopia. We are so happy with how everything has turned out and I know the garden is just going to get better and better with time. We kept to our game plan of doing almost all the work ourselves, reusing what we could and keeping it a fun family effort.
We've already spent time enjoying the studio and yard as a place to create but also as a haven. A place to hang out and and a place to reflect. And tucked inside, the rain sounds so lovely falling down.
Need More Inspiration?
If you missed it, you can catch up on our progress: