The Victorian’s never were renown for their large and beautiful gardens. Tackling our dingy, concrete jungle was the last of the complete renovation for us, and it’s probably one of the biggest transformations after the bathroom renovation.
The Victorian terrace garden, or courtyard area was already made considerably smaller because of the ground floor extension which does split the space in half.
Not only is it super narrow, but it was dirty, mossy and weedy concrete with a half painted house. That was literally it.
To be honest, when we were looking at houses, we never once saw a nice terrace garden area. They all looked the same. Abandoned, unusable, dingy, and quite frankly horrible.
We knew we had our work cut out. It literally looked like one of those grotty alleyways that no one wants to walk through.
Any guess when this area was ever cleaned? My guess is never.
We also had a pile of rubbish to clear that was left including a knife and a couple piles of dog poo, lol.
But I was so excited for this transformation. We had an idea of creating a Mediterranean inspired courtyard terrace with white washed walls to brighten the space, a planter to add warmth and colour, black furniture with blue accents for a Grecian feel and lots of beautiful accessories to make a really cosy, and relaxing space.
What We Did
The first thing we did when we moved in was pressure wash the entire concrete. I don’t think it had been touched since the Victorian era. Satisfying, right?
This was purely for it to be clean and not for Papi to be tempted by the ancient smells, it was then left for just over 3 months until we had finished the inside and were ready to tackle the outside space.
Luckily we moved during February, but the plan was to get on this about June time to have a really nice place to enjoy in the summer.
White Washed The Walls
The idea we had was to create a little Mediterranean inspired courtyard terrace that was bright, and had gorgeous pops of colour to warm the space.
The white washed walls of the gorgeous Grecian villages was what I wanted to emulate so the entire block work and house was painted white. The front of the house was already white, so it made sense to match it too.
The block work ate up SO much paint, it needed two decent coats to completely cover it and the results were almost immediate.
Not only did it brighten up the outside, but it made the view from the interior much brighter and lighter too.
We used Sandtex in Pure Brilliant White on everything.
The Blue Line
It was actually my partner that had the idea of the blue line, and I LOVE it. Whilst white in my eyes was the only option for a space like this, it would have looked quite bland against the decking once fitted.
We painted a blue line around the whole perimeter of the courtyard to define the space, and also start to bring that subtle Grecian blue into play that I also use with the decor accessories.
We Gorilla taped the wall where we wanted to paint up to and brushed white on before painting the blue. This part is KEY because it helps to get those super crisp lines. This wasn’t as effective on the block work as it is so nobbly and bobbly, but it still came out really well.
At this stage it was difficult to imagine it working as we still had the lovely concrete floor at this stage.
The paint we used was Dulux Weathershield Satin in Vast Lake.
Added Decking & Stain
The next step was decking. For a courtyard terrace like this the only real option that was going to make it look good, and usable was decking. Slate tiles look great, but would be highly impractical and slippery when it rains.
We opted for a groove decking from Wickes and we built a frame throughout before placing the decking. When I say this house was built on a wonk this included the outside area, nothing was level! Creating a level frame was absolutely essential before the decking was placed.
We chose Ronseal Decking Stain in Country Oak to stain the decking which required two coats, it’s a darker finish but it looks great with the stark brightness of the white.
Created A Built In Planter
During fitting the decking, we also decided to build in a planter on the side of the wall. I really wanted to bring some gorgeous shrubs and flowers into the section to add warmth. The streets of Mykonos in Greece always have the most beautiful pinks and yellows and I wanted to replicate this in the courtyard.
It just helps to also add something extra to the space which doesn’t eat into the space, this was so important as space was already a premium and a bunch of different plant pots would have taken up so much space, and not created a streamlined look.
Area Rug & Black Furniture
Our interior is modern farmhouse style so black accents are a defining part of our home decor. It’s also a match made in heaven for a Grecian inspired courtyard and we opted for a three piece rattan set with cream cushion pads for that gorgeous contrast.
The striped cushions were just the perfect addition to the chairs. The blue matches the painted line perfectly, and well, stripes are always a good idea.
These fabulous cushions from Dunelm are double sided too, with a different design ether side. They’re not specifically outdoor cushions, but as long as you take them in when the weather turns, they’re so much nicer and plumper than outdoor only cushions.
The area rug was a simple addition, but something I would recommend anyone have in their garden space. Furniture looks like it’s floating without structure beneath it, and the outdoor rug just finishes this seating area off perfectly.
It’s no Greek inspired terrace without an olive tree, right? My mum gave me the most perfect terracotta plant pot for this which was just made for this beautiful tree.
I picked this up from One Click Plants and am just obsessed with it. The current hot conditions are well suited to it for sure, but it can be taken inside for protection during the winter if needed. Plus, it’s super low maintenance.
Olive Tree 1m – One Click Plants
No space is complete without some essential decor accessories. This gorgeous set of black lanterns from Lights4fun area outdoor, battery operated and they absolutely make the space when dusk draws in.
The black accents pair with the furniture well to tie the space together, and I am just obsessed!
Porto Outdoor Battery Light Bundle – Lights4fun
Coffee table styling is an absolute must with a little bud vase and some books. I also added a rattan basket to bring some more natural elements into the space and a cosy striped rug for when the chill in the evening sets in.
Papi is happy with the new space too, I promise.
The transformation from dark and dingy concrete courtyard to Mediterranean inspired courtyard is just phenomenal.
It definitely isn’t the biggest outdoor space, but it feels like it has gained extra square metres since the transformation and the fact that we now have a usable space that works well, and is beautiful is just amazing.
We do also have an additional side to the courtyard which we call the ‘piss patch’. We have artificial grass laid here and a planter for Papi to appreciate whilst he does his business.
The new space is light, airy, social and bright. As the flowers continue to bloom, it is just such a lovely place to socialise, work, read and just relax.
Starting the day here during the current heatwave with my laptop at 8am is just perfect, I adore it! All other decor details have been linked below.
Rattan Basket – La Redoute (similar linked)
Striped Throw – Dunelm (similar linked)
3 Piece Rattan Furniture Set – Amazon
Striped Cushions – Dunelm
Outdoor Rug – Kukoon Rugs
Bud vase – 75p yoghurt pot from Aldi!
It’s the little finishing touches like the cushions, cosy furniture and plants that make it feel homely and beautiful. The devil really is in the detail.
Small, Victorian terrace courtyard gardens are notorious across the UK, and I wanted to show that even the smallest of spaces can be transformed to create something really beautiful that can be enjoyed.
It’s just crazy to think that this space had probably never been utilised, and like so many others aren’t on the street. Let’s normalise small courtyard gardens and enjoy how beautiful and tranquil they can be.
Plus, the white washed walls make for the optimum place to get my tan on!
What do you think of the transformation?