WHEN we reserved our plot in Renfrew, the butterflies really started to kick in. We were finally going to have a home with a garden and boy, was I excited about what I could do with this blank canvas.

In my mind, an inviting garden provides a calm atmosphere; it’s a tranquil retreat and a relaxing place to entertain.

SEE MORE: Cheryl Johnston: Meet Renfrew's 'Mrs Hinch' - and our new columnist

As our garden is not very big, I wanted to make the most of the available space. I had to think about how I was going to turn my vision into reality. I used mood boards on Pinterest and drew designs on paper. I wanted it to have character, so I tried to create an optical effect with the layout – I think it worked as the area seems more spacious than it did before.

After working all week indoors, I want to come home, kick back and feel the stress leave my body in my own little oasis.

Glasgow Times: Cheryl's garden beforeCheryl's garden before

I tried to create somewhere with as low maintenance as possible, so I opted for artificial turf and some paving from Grants. The polar white chips create a contrast against the green grass and grey paving and I bought some plants and topiary bushes from B&Q to create some texture.

(I am not the best at keeping plants alive, to be honest, but with some words of wisdom from my mum and some Miracle-Gro plant food, so far they are faring pretty well).

Glasgow Times: The stunning garden afterThe stunning garden after

Any design principles I originally had, in the end, came down to a gut feeling of what worked and felt right for each space. I went for Rattan garden furniture from George at ASDA, some pots from Dobbies and a lovely marble ball ornament from Homebase for a finishing touch. After it was landscaped, there still seemed something missing so I decided to paint the fence (Cuprinol Silver Copse) and added some artificial ivy (Martin & Frost).

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Strawberry season is now upon us – Wimbledon is in full swing - and everything in the garden is in full bloom. Time to sit back, relax and enjoy my little haven.

MUST-HAVE: Cast Iron BBQ, £26.40, Amazon

If you like BBQs but don’t have space or patience for a large one, this is ideal. Versatile, easy to clean and transportable, it’s perfect for smaller garden spaces or balconies. It is fitted with an air vent to make it even simpler to control the heat when cooking your food. The wooden handles make it easy for you to transport and move the barbecue around safety.


As a newbie to gardens, I was unprepared for how dull and grey my paving got quite quickly, and I don’t like the moss and residue that builds up. I did some research, so this is my tried and tested natural way to clean paving stones. Mix water and white vinegar (not dark vinegar, it will stain) and leave it to soak in the stones for about an hour, before gently scrubbing away stains with soap and a broom or bristle brush.

Cheryl Johnston is on Instagram - @myhomeismyhaven