What was once an overgrown mass of weeds and brambles with paving buried deep beneath is now a botanical sanctuary and that’s down to garden and interior stylist Selina Lake.
The author of 10 best-selling interior and garden books has transformed her own back garden and now she’s revealing how we can do the same, with minimal effort and on a low budget.
With many of us likely spending more time in our gardens at the moment, in her latest read Shed Style, Selina claims we can easily create our own garden hideaway which can work wonders for our wellbeing.
Selina styled one of manufacturers Alitex's greenhouses at Chelsea Flower Show 2019.
‘When you decorate a room or style a new shelf inside, it makes you feel good and it’s exactly the same outside,’ she says.
‘I just love walking out into the garden and appreciating all of the plants that we’ve put in and how we’ve rescued some of the shrubs and trees that were probably suffocating under all of the brambles before. It feels great.’
In Shed Style, Selina explains how anything from a cabin or greenhouse to a hut or outbuilding can become a social space or an outdoor retreat rather than just somewhere to store the lawnmower.
The transformation of her own outhouse is something she is particularly proud of and it has become the heart of her home – or should we say garden.
‘We inherited a shed at the bottom of our garden,’ says Selina, ‘the roof was caving in and the door was half missing so my husband, who is quite good at DIY, fixed it up. Then, I stained it black on the outside and on the inside I’ve turned it into a botanical garden hub where I go and rearrange flowers and just hangout.’
Experts confirm, a key trend
of 2020 is that our outdoor spaces are increasingly becoming an extension of our indoor homes.
Selina would encourage others to bring the indoors outside, especially as we currently can’t travel far.
‘It’s just a great way of making your space feel really inviting. I’ve been styling my garden table for lunches and breakfasts – all meals actually; it just feels good and it’s nice to utilise different areas of your garden while we are not going to restaurants or cafes. If you style them differently each time or [make] each space have a different feel, it can feel like you have gone out for coffee or lunch,’ she adds.
However, Selina, who has been a stylist for 16 years now, emphasises you don’t need to invest in expensive accessories or even own an outdoor space to reap the rewards.
‘It doesn’t have to be difficult; you can use simple props such as a tablecloth, a jam jar [filled with] flowers or a couple of lanterns. And you can use all of your crockery from inside.’
She claims an easy way to create a relaxing outdoor retreat is to make garden furniture more comfortable by adding cushions and throws or to simply throw a rug on the floor and grab some cushions to put on top if you don’t have any furniture.
‘If you haven’t necessarily got loads of gardening skills or you can’t afford to buy plants, you can just rearrange your things to make it look different. It’s a low-budget way of transforming a space. In my book, I always champion using things that you already own and also buying second-hand or recycling.
‘Even if you don’t have your own garden, you can still gain benefits by taking a walk and noticing your neighbours [gardens]. Lots of my neighbours have really been going to town with the extra time, so their front gardens look fantastic. Make the most of what is around you,’ says Selina.
She also recommends making the most of technology as this provides a good opportunity to show off your styled spaces.
‘I’ve styled [my shed] more and managed to squeeze a chair in there, so that’s where I do all of my video calls at the moment,’ she explains.
Most of all, Selina has welcomed the benefits to her own wellbeing from being able to spend more time styling outdoors during lockdown.
‘Nature is a great healer and a great escape from the reality of what’s going on,’ she adds, ‘as the world is standing still, the garden isn’t; it’s still flourishing and flowering. Every day I notice something different [shooting up] when I go in my garden. Nothing really beats that in my opinion.
‘I’m such a fresh air fiend, so as soon as I’m outside I feel better and it clears my head. During this time, I have felt incredibly lucky to have a space outside I can just go to, [listen to] the birds and the wind moving leaves around and zone out for a bit. It’s very therapeutic.’
You can buy a copy
of Shed Style or follow Selina on Instagram @selinalake.