So after some research and discussion we have been playing with some new designs. Here's our current design (hubs' fantastic handiwork - thank you).
You'll see from the photo below of our garden last summer that we're not planning to change the basic structure of the garden so the tree, fence, deck, paving and very small shed.will remain in place.
Our budget is small so as well as designing it ourselves we will also be doing all the labour ourselves. Our money will go on membrane, gravel, edging (recycled wood possibly), pebbles, deck stain, paint (for the fence and shed), improving the soil and buying new plants. If we can we will recycle materials and barter for plants from family and friends.
The main aims of this garden redesign are to make the garden lower maintenance and more attractive. Although I love plants and gardening I am now happy not to own every plant ever created. I do miss my large garden from our previous house but not the hours of work that it needed to stay looking presentable.
The planting look we're going for in our back garden is a strong design with structural plants that will have impact all year round. Think grasses, box, phormiums, lavender and bamboo. Think more time relaxing in, and less time working in, the garden.
The front of our house has a much sunnier aspect so here I will indulge my inner rustic with a few seasonal pots, possibly some home grown veg and a little bench. I think that will give me the perfect balance of being able to relax in but also being able to potter in the garden.
So, what do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Plants? Colours for the shed and fence? I'd love to hear.