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Back in April my garden was a bleak, grey square, covered in dead leaves and detritus, with the remains of a caterpillar-chomped box hedge, and borders full of weeds.

London small walled garden renovation project - 11

By the middle of May we had cleared the space, jet washed the paving stones, bought window boxes and my first batch of plants from Camden Garden Centre, and I was thinking about what other pieces of furniture would fit best into the space.

London Small Garden Renovation Project

In June I bought most of the plants, ordered my hanging baskets, found an outdoor carpet, a metal side table to go by the sun loungers, and parasol weights (finally, after using plant pots to weigh the stand down last summer).

Now I just needed more furniture. This is where John Lewis stepped in: they very kindly offered to give me some furniture for the space to finish the garden.

After much deliberation, together we chose the John Lewis & Partners St Ives two seater sofa and matching St Ives Armchair for the small raised terrace at the far end of the garden, the John Lewis & Partners Dante Pod Hanging Chair and, because my mother had already bought me one of their brilliant John Lewis & Partners Croft Collection Islay 3-Seat Dining Benches the previous summer, the matching bench and two John Lewis & Partners Croft Collection Islay Outdoor Dining Chairs to go around the dining table.

So: the construction. All the furniture, including the St Ives sofa and armchair, came flatpacked in huge, very heavy boxes. So huge and so heavy, in fact, that the boxes could not get through my front door

It took me several hours to dismantle the packaging around the pieces, and then carry the components through the house into the garden. (Homes with side returns or those that are detached will not have this issue, which was obviously peculiar to a terraced home.)

It’s recommended that two people undertake the construction of the St Ives sofa and armchair, but I did it on my own. It was almost ridiculously simple: the instructions were as clear as a bell, and the pieces so well engineered that it took under thirty minutes to put each piece together.

Then I spent the rest of the day flattening and cutting up boxes, and renting a Zipcar for an hour to drive to the local Camden Council recycling depot to take all the packaging as there was no way the bin men were going to take all those empty boxes.

I most definitely earned an afternoon on the sofa with the dogs after that.

The finishing touches to bring the terrace together were a waterproof polyurethane carpet, a cream canvas parasol, and a metal coffee table, all of which are designed to withstand the elements.

So, to the dining table…

As I explained in last week’s post, I wanted a table that was light enough for me to move on my own, and could be stored easily during the winter. So I invested in an 8 foot bog-standard, folding plastic table with metal legs which I found on Ebay, and which seats twelve people. (Four to a bench, and two chairs down each side, and a carver at each end.)

The two benches, the John Lewis & Partners – Croft Collection Islay 3-Seat Dining Bench, are not only FSC-Certified, but the lacquered eucalyptus wood means that it is UV protected so it will not fade in direct sunlight, and it’s very easy to maintain, requiring nothing more than a simple wipe clean with warm water.

I already know how brilliant they are because I already had one which I kept in the garden over the winter with no cover, and it looked as good as new come spring. They also come flatpacked: the long seat, two ends and central pole. Again, I managed to do this extremely rapidly on my own, in under ten minutes this time. Very satisfying.

The chairs were the one thing that didn’t come flatpacked, thank goodness.

You may have clocked the mention of the Dante Pod Hanging Chair at the beginning of the post. There are no images of it, as we haven’t yet worked out how to get it into the garden. We have tried to fit it through both garden doors, and through the kitchen window but, thanks to the extremely effective and uninstallable security grilles on all three which narrows the aperture to much less than the width of a standard door, there is a just half an inch too little a gap to allow the chair to pass through.

We are currently mulling over the available options: one neighbour has the same grilles, so no dice, the one beyond that says she is far too busy to engage (insert eyeroll emoji here), and I am separated from my other lovely neighbours at the end of the street, who have offered to help, by a ten metre wall. I feel sure that there is a solution; it just hasn’t occurred to me yet.

Meanwhile, please do admire my thriving hanging baskets. (Planting details on last week’s post here.)

And, finally: I love my black metal double recliner sunbed; it must be one of the most asked about items on my Instagram feed, but sadly it is not longer available. (It was here.) The only price comparable double recliner sunbed that I have found anywhere is here.


The full spec:

The Terrace:
John Lewis & Partners – St Ives 2-Seater Outdoor Lounging Sofa FSC-Certified

John Lewis & Partners St Ives Garden Lounging Chair FSC-Certified (Eucalyptus Wood), Natural

Ikea Krokholmen Outdoor Coffee Table in Beige

Carpet Right – Salvadore Outdoor Taupe Rug (160 x 230 cm)

Argos Home 2m Water Repellent Garden Parasol – Cream

The Dining Table:
8ft Folding Picnic Table (from Ebay)

John Lewis & Partners – Croft Collection Islay Outdoor Dining Chair, FSC-Certified in Natural

John Lewis & Partners – Croft Collection Islay 3-Seat Dining Bench, FSC-Certified in Natural

3 metre Cantilevered Hanging Umbrella (via Ebay)

Woodside 4 x Parasol Base Stand Weight For Cantilever & Banana Hanging Umbrellas

The Sun Lounger:

Ikea – Gladom Tray Table in Dark Green

Ikea – Morum Flatwoven Outdoor Rug in Dark Grey

Argos Home 2m Water Repellent Garden Parasol – Cream

And, finally, for those wondering how I keep those cream canvas seats pristine: I bought a very large tarpaulin.

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