Real gardens banner

Real garden: a Moroccan-inspired urban oasis

Stylist Maxine Brady has turned her compact garden into a small city haven, with plenty of colour and room to entertain

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven
(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

It had been Maxine Brady’s long held dream to own a beautiful sunny garden that she and her dog, Teddy, could enjoy all summer long. When she viewed her terraced house in Brighton, its key attraction was the south-facing plot. 

‘The garden had been left to overgrow,’ Maxine says. ‘There was a climbing weed that was so big and heavy it had pulled the fences down and grown over the back door, blocking it closed. The ground was covered in grey shale that had weeds growing through it. It was so awful, I didn’t go out here for the first year.’

Read on to find out how Maxine transformed the space. For more garden ideas, buys, advice and hacks, go to our hub page.

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven

To make the most of her garden, Maxine invested in weatherproof furniture. ‘As I get the sun all day, I wanted seating dotted around the space so I could enjoy the garden as the sun moves around,’ she says. ‘I love my compact table as I can push the benches under when not in use.’ By the back door, she put up a large garden mirror in the L-shaped space to make it appear bigger. Seating and table set, chair and footstool, Next (opens in new tab). Cushions and throws, HomeSense (opens in new tab). Green jug and glasses, British Colour Standard (opens in new tab). Festoon lighting, Lights4fun (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)
Profile

The owner Maxine Brady, an interiors stylist and lifestyle blogger (welovehomeblog.com (opens in new tab)) lives here with her Maltese puppy, Teddy.
The property A two-bedroom Victorian 1890s railway worker’s cottage in Brighton, East Sussex.
Project cost £7,520.

While planning for the makeover, Maxine looked for inspiration wherever she went. ‘I took a trip to Morocco and visited the Yves St Laurent gardens in Marrakech. The outdoor spaces were decorated with tiles, pergolas and plants in large pots. I came home brimming with ideas for my garden.’

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven

‘I wanted to use patterned tiles I’d seen in Marrakech, but they’d be too slippery when wet,’ Maxine says. ‘Instead, I went for bespoke hexagonal granite paving with a textured finish, which is safer in wet weather.’ Hexagonal paving, CED Stone (opens in new tab). Bench, George Home (opens in new tab). Neon pink cushion, The Effortless Trading Co (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

Maxine hired landscape gardener Thea Pitchard to transform her outdoor space. Thea’s team set to work clearing the garden of shale and rubble, filling two skips with dirt. 

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven

Once the paving was laid and the pergola was up, Maxine concentrated on the planting for her garden. ‘I knew that the lovely tropical plants that I saw in Morocco wouldn’t survive in the English weather, so I decided to go for climbing plants, an olive tree and willows to soften the hard lines of the fencing.’ Plants, Dobbies Garden Centre (opens in new tab). Table and bench set, Out & Out Original (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

‘They found parts from a Victorian iron bed buried in the garden, as well as an iron and skips of concrete,’ says Maxine. ‘The area by my back door was widened to the boundary line, so I gained 50cm – precious space in a small garden like mine.’

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven

‘My mum helped me fill the planters so they bloom full of life,’ Maxine says. ‘I have wall planters with herbs and salad leaves, and we hung strawberry plants from my pergola. I wanted my garden to be as edible as possible. I can eat salad grown in my own plot!’ Planters, Elho (opens in new tab), Rowlinson (opens in new tab) and Crocus (opens in new tab). Spotted jug, Habitat (opens in new tab). Cushion storage box, Mano Mano (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

To improve drainage, one half  of the garden was raised to create a split-level effect using railway sleepers – a move that helped zone the space into a dining area and a seated pergola area at the back. 

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)
Contacts

Garden design Thea Pitcher, 07757 337081
Paving CED Stone (opens in new tab)
Fencing and pergola Grange Fencing (opens in new tab)
Plants Dobbies (opens in new tab)

Hardy furniture, smart fencing and an array of colourful plants have transformed the garden into an urban space perfect for socialising. Maxine can’t wait to host her friends for an alfresco party. ‘I sent my family and friends photos when the hard work was done,’ she says. ‘They’re dying to come round and enjoy the garden with me.’

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven

The rotten fencing was replaced with sleeker wooden panels with horizontal slats, painted white to reflect light around the garden. ‘I’ve also painted the pergola blue and some of the planters lilac to add more colour to the space,’ Maxine says. Fencing and pergola, Grange (opens in new tab). Furniture painted in Mendip Mist, fences in China Clay and planters in Winter Sky, 
all
Protek Wood Stain (opens in new tab). House painted in Spearmint masonry paint, Little Greene (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

More garden reading:

Maxine is a freelance interior stylist and writer. She can be found blogging on her site We Love Home, where she covers the latest trends and her own projects in her Victorian terrace in Brighton where she lives with her dog Teddy.

SPONSORS