Change to Blog

Dear Readers

Outdoor Rooms has undergone a major rebranding exercise and is now known as The Best Dressed Garden www.thebestdressedgarden.co.uk . All future posts can be found under our new blog www.thebestdressedgarden.wordpress.com.

We look forward to seeing you there


Jane Blakeborough
The Best Dressed Garden


The Garden Floor

Yes, its raining and its dull out there, and probably setting foot outside is not really top of your list right now. 

Think again …. now is a great time to plan for next spring.  And not just what you’re going to plant, but also things like what you’re going to stand on.  Getting the garden floor right is important as it’s the backbone to your garden design and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be as decorative as the planting.

Here’s my top 5 paving favourites:-

Brick pavers

These decorative brick pavers are handmade in York by the York Handmade Brick Company http://www.yorkhandmade.co.uk/cobbles.htm

Wood & gravel

‘This path constructed of wood sections and gravel shows that there’s more to wood than just decking.

Wood sections

Again, its wood but not decking.  These wood sections look great in a natural setting under a canopy of trees


For a full-on mediterranean look, go for these cobble patterns as paving.  Not the easiest to lay and probably best left to an expert (unless you’ve got infinite patience)

Yorkstone Pavine

The ultimate for the traditional English garden has to be natural Yorkstone paving which mellows to a lovely patina.  Buy from a reputable stoneyard and, if you’re buying reclaimed, make sure they haven’t previously been in a mill or a garage, or they may be soaked with oil which is impossible to clean out.

Recycled Junk in the Garden

I’ve just bought Adam Caplin’s lovely ‘New Container Style’  book.  It was only £3.99 from Borders, and worth every penny.    Its full of quirky ideas for recycled and junk garden pots, and I love the simple unsophisticated planting style, which is such an antidote to the stuffy world of horticulture.

These budweiser cans with winter pansies are my favourite, particularly the way  Adam uses several cans in a row.


Gorgeous French chic with this vintage  ‘Allumettes’ tin


A rusting flour tin –  perfect for an olive tree


This tartan cake tin reminds me of  my mum, who has used a similar one for years.  Not sure what she’d say if she found it planted up with geraniums

Tartan tin

I’m inspired – watch this space …..

If you want to know what we do for a real job, click on www.od-rooms.co.uk

Instant Colour Fix


Image courtesy of The Reader's Digest Association

I love winter pansies. There’s nothing pretentious about them, they are just simple and pretty and they brighten up my pots when there’s nothing else on show. I particularly love the plain blues, the multicoloured one being a little ‘municipal’ for my taste, and I plant them en mass in lots of small terracotta pots.

They will tolerate some shade, but try to position to catch as much of the winter sun as possible.  Also make sure you put a good layer of drainage in the bottom of each pot to combat the heavy winter rain.  

Keep deadheading and you’ll have pots of colour all winter.

Pumpkin Soup

To use up the pumpkin flesh from your pumpkin planters, you could try this delicious soup recipe by Jamie Oliver:-

Pumpkin Soup with Coconut, Chilli and Curry Spices

Makes 3 – 4 portions

1 average size pumpkin,cut into chunks (deseeded)
1 large potato, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, sliced
750ml chicken or vegetable stock
200ml coconut milk
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 heaped tsps of curry powder (or curry paste)
1 – 2 small red chillies, sliced
A little olive oil
Croutons to serve

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and gently fry the onions, chilli and garlic till soft.
2. Add the pumpkin and potatoes to the pan and sprinkle with the curry powder. Fry gently for just a minute or so.
3. Pour in the coconut milk and stock, cover, then simmer gently till potatoes & pumpkin are cooked (took about 10 mins).
4. Allow the soup to cool down a little then pour into a blender and blend at high speed till smooth and creamy.
5. Reheat a little if necessary and serve with some fresh croutons which have been fried in a little olive oil and butter and sprinkled with herb salt.

Its grim out there

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to think of a good reason to go out in my damp foggy garden at the moment. What happened to those bright golden autumn days where multicoloured leaves fell in crisp piles, just waiting to be kicked up in the air?  The leaves in my garden are sludge-coloured and soggy, there’s no way I’m kicking those about.
To cheer myself up I’ve been looking at ways to add some colour to my grim outdoor world.  Here’s just a few ideas, more to follow shortly ….


Image courtesy of lulabellasview.blogspot.com

I found this lovely photo  of a pumpkin oberlisk on Lulabelles blog . She’s got some inpirational autumnal photos from America which really make you want to hop on the next plane.


I’ve no idea what all these squashes are called or where so many can be found, but they make a great display which would look equally colourful with fewer varieties.


Image courtesy of Kerry Michaels

I think this pumpkin planter is just fabulous.  This one is planted with stonecrop, but you could also use heucheras, grasses and even autumn bulbs like cyclamen.  For instructions on how to make this planter, click on the image which will take you to Kerry Michaels container planting blog.
These planted up tins would look good anytime of the year, but especially now when everything else is looking so drab. 
Will be back soon with some more garden ‘cheering up’ ideas

Faking It

September can be an odd time for the garden.  There are very few summer flowers left  and the autumn colour hasn’t got to that lovely red and golden stage, so at this time of the year your garden can look a little boring. Thats why I thought I’d give a few ideas to help you cheer things up out there without having to go anywhere near a plant.

Rusted Flower Screen
1.  This beautiful rusted screen by Secret Garden Furniture needs no decoration so leave it alone as a sculptural piece  

2.1m high x 60cm wide  £190 per screen.  Set of three  £530 



2.  Agapanthus are notoriously temperamental to grow so forget the real ones and go for these stunning mirror polished stainless steel ones by Susan  Bradley

Measuring 78cm (h) x 39cm (w) and costing £190 each




 Privett waterlily

3.  If only all waterlilies were this well trained.  These stainless steel water feature won’t take over your pond and will look good all year round.

£195 for set of three


 anthurium birdbath 

4. Bex Simon is an artist blacksmith who creates bespoke metal sculptures for the garden.  This is an example of an anthurium bird bath.  Price on application


apple5.  Play with scale and dimensions with this giant apple.  Made from resconstituted stone, it looks great positioned under a fruit tree.

Girth 1425mm Height 510mm Weight 0.9kg

£425 inc VAT and delivery within the UK


I hope you will be inspired our little blog , please feel free to comment as you feel necessary, whether you agree or disagree with what we are waffling on about.   If you want to find out more about our real job then you can find us at www.od-rooms.co.uk.