With visions of turning my little garden full of weeds and shrubs into a spot of calm this summer, I’d like to share with you phase one of operation ‘Lets Turn This Weed-Fest Into A Haven Of Calm’ by creating a chest of drawers herb garden.
We live on an estate of new houses, all less than ten years old, and although the estate itself is really well designed, when the builders made the footings for the houses, well, lets just say they threw any and all old junk into the garden areas and covered it with earth they dug from very deep in the ground.
My soil is very dense and clay-like in texture so growing anything at all is a real challenge. We’ve lived here for seven years and the only things that have worked are plants like bamboo and hardy shrubs which fill the gaps well but don’t give a pretty garden feel. After attempting a few bits in the first summer or two, with most of it shrivelling up and dying, we’d pretty much given up on the thought of having a pretty garden with interesting features. Until now! Hurrah for Mummy Jane, who after a lot of perseverance with my solid ground, got me over to her place for some inspiration, chatted gardens and came up with this idea.
A herb garden made from an old chest of drawers.
” . . . gardens should have hidden surprises around every corner . . . “
I have always loved the idea of using items out of context to add a visual juxtaposition and making something look beautiful that really shouldn’t belong. My Mother says “gardens should have hidden surprises around every corner. You should never see all of a garden in one go, make people want to explore and discover”, and well, if you saw her garden you would never want to leave. It is a quintessential English garden with hidden corners, flowers, vegetables, herbs, trees and secret places to sit in the quiet and calm. It’s a garden you could lose yourself in for hours. Maybe I’ll broadcast on Periscope (if you don’t have it already, get on it! Best new social media app I’ve used in years) from there one day and show you what I mean ♡
Using the chest of drawers is such a simple yet effective idea and after Periscoping my progress on it a couple of times I had an amazing response so have decided to share it over here with you all too.
So here is the simple 5 step process to make your own bit of indoor furniture into an outdoor feature to make people gasp with delight!
What you will need . . .
- Chest of drawers – you can pick these up easily in charity shops, or discarded at your local tip. Just make sure they feel pretty solid.
- Plastic sheeting – enough to line the drawers, including the drawer sides and backs. I used about 4.5 metres altogether.
- Perspex sheet cut slightly larger than the top of your chest.
- Plastic troughs – anything up to the same width & depth as your drawers.
- Some stones or bricks – enough to counter-balance the back of the drawers and to level the base with.
- Compost suitable for your chosen plants. I used a multi-purpose variety for my herbs and flowers.
- Flowers or herbs of your choice.
Measure out your plastic sheeting inside the drawers, ensuring to get the corners and edges neatly folded down and staple into position. Once secured, put the drawers back into the chest.
Position your perspex sheet onto the top of your chest so it overhangs by a few millimetres each side and slightly more at the back
Use broken bricks or stones to get the right level on your chest. You want it to slope back slightly so any water runs off the perspex sheet, off the back of the chest. Do ensure if you’re against a wall or fence that you stand it an inch or so away to help slow the deterioration process. Having the air circulate around the back will be really helpful.
I was lucky because my patio slopes away a lot. As you can see, I needed to place bricks at the back to make it a little less steep. You will probable need them at the front if your ground is flat to get the water to run back.
Place your troughs inside the drawers and judge how far out you want them to stagger.
Use the remaining bricks to counter-balance the backs of the drawers as once the troughs are filled there will be a lot of weight which will put pressure on the runners and drawer bases.
Now support the under-sides of the drawers at the edges to give some additional support to the fronts of the drawers. I used up-turned plant pots for the front of the bottom drawer and some broken stone for between drawer one and two.
Once it feels pretty sturdy, fill in your troughs with compost and your chosen herbs or flowers and give them a good drink so they adjust into their new position well. I used a mixture of trailing plants to add texture at the sides, along with different mints, sage, lemon balm and thyme.
I didn’t find troughs to exactly fit the width of my drawers so I just kept an extra plant in a round pot to fill the space. Having the drawers lined with plastic sheeting will mean if any water does run through from the extra pot, or from rain, it will help stop the drawers from rotting through.
Stand back, admire your brilliance and send me pictures of what you’ve created! Use the hashtag #StyleJournalLoves on social media so we can find you and share your beautiful new piece of garden design ♡