by Christine Wilson Gardens

An Old Tennis Court Transforms Into A Lovely Garden

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
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Before, this home had a great big backyard – unfortunately, the most of it was occupied by an abandoned tennis court and shoddy chain link fence. No longer using the space, these homeowners wanted a productive, wildlife-friendly garden that would be both attractive to look at and also convenient for entertaining guests. Enter landscape architects at Christine Wilson Gardens, who came in and transformed this old grey lot into a wide open green space with a variety of shrubs and trees.

The cracked tarmac surface of the tennis court had to be scraped off, and planting pits had to be dug for the trees before the landscapers could bring in a load of topsoil that would give this backyard two feet of fresh soil for planting.  Then, they were able to install a patio and terraced herb garden next to the house, a large, healthy lawn with spaces for wildflowers, fruit trees, and borders for ornamental shrubs and perennials. The overall result is a diverse space that makes a welcoming host for a variety of wildlife, while providing enough open area for a picnic table or tent when summer company comes over for a friendly BBQ. 

The tennis court

Barely recognizable as a tennis court, this old abandoned lot appears to have remained untouched for decades! Although the cheerful sprouting of irises is a welcome sight, the chain link fence sends a clear, unwelcoming message – no longer useful as a boundary of the tennis court, this crooked, rusty fence gives the impression that nobody really makes use of this space, making for a rather eery backyard vibe. 

The side

As you can see, the home enjoys a setting of ample outdoor space – unfortunately, this space is occupied by old decaying logs and tufts of weeds growing in gravelly terrain. Watch as this unwelcoming, empty lot is transformed into a low-maintenance, convenient, and vibrant backyard!

The plan

This aerial plan gives a good idea of how much lawn space the home has access to – plenty, once the tennis court is out of the way. The area on the side of the yard (in this photo, the bottom edge) will become a winding shrub walk with screening trees for privacy, enclosing the backyard in its own little shady world. The garden closest to the house will become a more structured space, with terraced stone planters to keep the flowers and shrubs within neat boundaries. 

Out with the tennis court!

This image shows the same view as the tennis court pictured above, this time filled with a large green lawn instead of a slab of cracked cement. Two feet of topsoil had to be added in order to level the space and provide a nutrient-rich base for future plants to grow. At this point, many of the small shrubs have been planted; however, the gardeners still have some planting to do before the terraced stone planters will be complete. 

Patio and yard space

Just as the family wished for, now their home includes green space dedicated to wildlife and nature, as well as convenient gathering space for family and friends. The stone patio has been constructed on ground level, providing seamless, stair-free access to the yard. This design makes for a well-connected space that blends the open lawn with the enclosed patio, inviting friends and family to pass easily between the yard and the patio areas. 

Playing with height

These landscapers have done an excellent job of playing with height – before, the lot was largely empty except for a few clumps of tree branches scattered around. Now, the space is full of flowers, herbs, shrubs, and trees all offering different heights, from the tall young trees that now border the fence to the tufts of tall grass and wildflowers that surround them, to the low-lying bunches of shrubs, flowers, and herbs that line the walkway. 

Many of the plants included in this new garden are perennials (meaning that they'll grow back year after year without needing to be replanted or grown from seed). This clever design means that the garden, despite its large area, will be relatively easy to maintain, as the family will not need to go digging and sowing come springtime. 

A garden to match the home

A view of the house explains why the landscape architects have chosen this stonework and stone-walled design for this new garden – the house itself is characterized by its simple stonework and English countryside appeal, making a short-walled garden a perfect choice to complement the style and setting of the home. From the looks of the old tennis court, you'd have never guessed that this home would enjoy such a stately and fitting view!

Feeling inspired by this lovely yard? Here's a list of 10 ideas for creating a stunning yard!

Practical touches

The garden also includes many edible plants, from herbs to fruit trees, making this the ultimate practical space for family living. Here, the image shows a snapshot of grapevines making their way up a sturdy white trellis frame. Not only does this provide shade and aesthetic beauty, it will also provide a lovely crop of juicy grapes in the late summer. 

The shrub walk

Still a work in progress as plants are being added over time, this far-off view shows a glimpse of the raised area that has become a shrub walk. Despite the fact that the planting has been done in stages and is still being developed, you can already get a feel for the sense of quiet and relaxation that this nature-infused area will create as it matures.The winding path leads from the house to a more secluded sitting area at the end of the lawn, creating a sense of escape in one's very own backyard (and with a yard as big as this one, there's plenty of space for getting lost!).

If you liked this transformation of an abandoned space, have a look at this wine cellar that's transformed into a modern countryside home!

What do you think of this backyard renovation? Share your comments below.
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