“My Modern Garden Is Pretty, Not Stark”

Garden Designs | "My Modern Garden Is Pretty, Not Stark"

by Angela Kenny |
Updated on
Garden Designs | "My Modern Garden Is Pretty, Not Stark"

When Kelly moved in to her house, the garden was characterless and bare. She wanted an easy-to-care-for garden she could enjoy all year round, so she set about transforming her unloved plot.

On a warm summer’s evening, Kelly Millis and her partner Trevor love to sit around the table on their patio, eating tapas and enjoying a gin and tonic or two with friends at their home in Upwell, Norfolk. With soft uplighting, flickering lanterns, and shadows cast by the pots of neatly clipped box and small olive trees the space is atmospheric yet deceptively easy to keep. “Being in my garden is my switch off time” says Kelly, a commercial director. “That’s why I created an orderly, structured space that can be easily managed yet is also pretty to look at. I can cut my grass in ten minutes, and make everything neat and tidy in an hour and a half. I want to be sitting out there enjoying my garden, not slaving away during my precious time off!”

Here's her garden plan...


A modernised 1950s home in Norfolk. "The idea was to create a colourful, textured, low maintenance space with something interesting to see all year round." says Kelly.


Modern but with lots of pretty features.


Size: 12 x 18m (40 x 60 ft)

Faces: North west

Soil: Silt top soil on clay sub base


Indian flagstone paving (already laid but 40 per cent was replaced and the rest was pressure cleaned) £260

Gravel to frame the workshop area £35

Bricks, footing material and labour for a new wall and edging £290

Plants and trees £2,800

Patio furniture with parasol and cushions £575

Pots: £260

Lawn: grass seed and feed £25

Fence preserve £120

TOTAL £4,365


Laying new - and cleaning existing - paving slabs 6 hours

Replacing gravel 1 hour

Building new brick retainer wall and laying block edging 4 hours

Planting 35 hours

Painting the fence 6 hours


Read the full story in the May issue of Modern Gardens Magazine.

Garden Designs | "My Modern Garden Is Pretty, Not Stark"
Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us