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Good afternoon! This isn't one of my usual garden renovation posts, however I thought this definitely deserved a shout out and to be celebrated. It's all in the little wins, I think we all need to do better at celebrating our achievements and how far we've come on our own individual journeys. I started my own #gardendesign business early last year, having trained for a year with the brilliant Oxford College of Garden Design. It's been a whirlwind of learning, not only design but also running my own business. And of course there has been that little thing called (shhh) Covid and renovating our own home and garden and everything else our glorious lives have to offer. It's safe to say it's been quite an intense year for me, thank you James & my family for your never ending support. Thank you also to my amazing clients who have entrusted their gardens to me, you are all rather fabulous. Anyway, earlier today I received a lovely email from @MuddyStilettos announcing I'd been nominated by one of their readers (a big thank you to whoever you are). I'm not one to ever shout about my achievements but today I thought why the hell not! So yes, please do go out there and vote, not just for me if you love what I do, but for all those other small businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk who are doing a fine job day in, day out. Let's give them the recognition they deserve and help put a grin on their face.

So thank you to the very kind person who has nominated my business for the Muddy Stiletto Awards 2021. Here's to supporting each other and making someone else's day ahead.

Links to nominate Eleanor Victoria Garden Design & any of your other favourite local businesses within #Norfolk or #Suffolk:

Thank you! #cheers - E

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I have very few photos of our garden for the remainder of 2019 and so I will share the start of our garden design process with you for a few posts...

As you can well imagine it wasn't long before I was on Pinterest and scouring beautiful magazines, for inspiration for our own garden. Once I had put a few mood boards together (which have been tweaked multiple times since) I couldn't help but get cracking with our own garden design here in beautiful Geldeston, in #Norfolk! It all started similarly to how I would start a project for any one else. Creating a client brief for which the design would be centred on, so what was it we wanted and needed in our garden?

- first and foremost #BEAUTIFUL planting, the garden has to be a thing of beauty to admire from our new open plan living area within our orangery-esque extension (we are renovating our home if you don't already know - it's a rather dusty life at the moment). But the main point is I love plants!

Our beautiful flowering dogwood
Our beautiful flowering dogwood

- lots of amazing greens and textures linking out to the scenery beyond our garden which is predominantly beautiful lush green trees going all the way down to the River Waveney

- a patio large enough for our six seater teak table and chairs (thank you Facebook marketplace)

- a 'productive' area. The garden that we inherited was already divided into two - the main overgrown garden and what the estate agents described as a 'plush orchard' at the bottom of the garden, screened off by enormous conifer hedging. We've actually reinstated our own hedging at a very similar level in the garden and kept the end section separate for all of our raised beds, shed-come-workshop, greenhouse, composters, wash line etc

- a #gardenoffice, this one is for me. We over ordered on our beautiful London Stock bricks for the rear extension, instead of going to waste or being sold for a fraction of what we bought them for we've created the base of a stylish garden office (very lucky me). #gardenoffice

- a secondary seating area within the garden to draw us out, one that will have shade in the height of summer. We have a sandy south facing garden, it quite literally bakes. Shade will be our friend one day (once everything has grown tall enough to actually shade)

- last but not least, the dream for both of us. The hot tub area... Anyway you get the point! We knew what we wanted and needed within the garden, all that was left to do was get drawing. Oh wait, we had to survey it first, bearing in mind this garden was a conifer jungle we only just managed to scramble through the undergrowth with the tape measure (I do usually recommend a land surveyor for your gardens by the way):

A blank site survey for our garden design to be based on

Survey done & drawn up in CAD to scale.

Mood boards? What style had I in mind at this stage? We have a 1920s really gorgeous semi-detached home just on the edge of a conservation area full of gorgeous old brick homes. We both love traditional homes and gardens as you will see. So... well you asked didn't you?

Beautiful photos showing the proposed vibe of our garden design here in Norfolk
Another garden mood board but for the productive garden area, showing a garden office, composters, rustic metal water features
A mood board for my garden office, showing a simple but gorgeous interior design style

This is one of my favourite parts of the design journey, looking up all the things I absolutely love and collating them into complimentary #moodboards. These have been tweaked since but you can see where I started. Our planting needs to be tough and as drought tolerant as possible due to our sandy soil and very hot garden, however we would plan to install a drip irrigation system to help plants which aren't quite so tough. I even did a mood board for my office.... Initial sketches into the beginnings of a design:

Initial garden design concept plan, showing the layout of the proposed family friendly garden.

This was one of my initial sketches for which our garden is broadly based on. A large patio out of the French doors (which have since been centralised on the extension), stepping down to the right to a pergola covered hot tub area, to the left a gravel path goes past the lawn with lots of planting on its left down to the divide and into the productive end of the garden. It's by no means perfect and right at the beginning of the process. The garden as I write is in the process of being slowly put together, I will share the new plans with you shortly to show the proposed garden (which'll likely be tweaked slightly more in the time being as I'm rather fussy but also love too many things and keep changing my mind). It's definitely difficult designing your own garden!

A rendered version of the initial garden design plan for our home in Norfolk

This shows a bit of colour with some very quick photoshopping added on top of the previous sketch, can you spot the #hottub (under the extremely chunky pergola oops)...?

3D rendered drawing of our initial garden design, showing an orangery extension, lawns, large patio, productive garden with garden office

A 3D mock up of this version of the garden, I liked it overall but also realised there were elements I wasn't so happy with and that the office in this location would be overlooked by the neighbours, straight into my windows. And so the #redesign began... It's all good fun really, I hope you've enjoyed seeing a bit of an insight into our own garden & design. I will be back to share more soon. Speak soon! E

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As you may or may not know from my last post we moved into our new home in September 2019. Well what a garden we inherited, from the bedroom windows the views out over the garden, blending with the countryside and trees beyond were just incredible.

You couldn't see where our garden ended or where the countryside began... It was rather dreamy in that respect.

However the garden was also very much in need of some serious TLC. Luckily this was pre-Covid so my parents were in the fortunate position of being roped in to help us start clearing the garden.

The horrendously ugly concrete path running directly down the middle of the garden did serve a purpose for the many wheel barrow journeys that would take place over the next months. And just look at all of those shrubs! They were really quite overgrown and unkempt but looking back I do miss the lush feel of the plot as it was.

You know how I mentioned the immaculate vegetable plot? Well we were feasting on onions, potatoes and parsnips for quite a few months... Thank you Albert, they really were delicious. We also had a small crop of asparagus, which we also had to dig up. However we have very recently replanted a raised bed in his honour, with eight baby asparagus crowns to get going. What an investment!

A garden may work perfectly for one owner but not quite tick the boxes of the next, quite a few people will stick it out not knowing what to do with the space or make a few small changes. As we will stay in this home for a good few years now, it's well worth us starting over, however harsh that may seem at the time.

We would like a garden of beauty but maybe a little more controlled than this, a space to grow our own produce but not quite in the middle of the garden, space for relaxing surrounded by beautiful planting and space for outside dining and entertaining (we also dream of the day we might be able to have a wood fired hot tub too...). As I'm sure you can imagine too, I'm certain this was a stunning garden in its prime, however we took it on as an tired, old plot.

And so the clearing began:

I look forward to showing you more of our progress and sharing our plans for the garden... Take care guys and speak soon. #gardendesignnorfolk #gardenclearance #landscaping #inmygarden

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