Building a Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden in a Small Space in Scotland (Part 1)

Where Did it Start?

This area was pretty much open when we moved in in the February 2019. The trees that were a loose hedge were bare opening up onto a huge field.

Looking the opposite way towards the main garden along the side of the house
Looking along the whole side of the house.

You can read about this area in this blog Making Every Bit Of Space Usable. Building A Long Planter Raised Bed

We had to get this area fenced in asap so the kids were safe from roaming deers, dogs or anything else that bounded across the field to us.

Trimmed the trees back & had a fence put up along the edge. If we had cut the trees down we could have moved the fence another meter, but we decided to leave them to grow on the other side.
6ft fence around the main section, then 4ft fence so we could still see the view from our kitchen window
View over the fence across the field
From inside the Kitchen. Couldn’t block that view with a fence right!

What Did We Do?

After getting the fence and gate up to make it an enclosed space, this was originally for a sensory play area for our eldest, Clayton (then 12) Autistic son to have water tables and tubes, sand tables with measuring and weighing items to cover his Home Education too.

That was until we found out his love for the garden, planting seeds, watering, harvesting, so this area then became our Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden, which still only have half of the area done. This area sat doing nothing for a few months before I cleared it again and started getting some herbs in.

The paint all came off the top rails with the snow/frost in the winter and sat doing nothing for a few months.
All cleared out, weeded & ready to start taking shape.

How Did We Do It?

There was already a part retaining wall at the end, which was so cute and perfect to start the herbs right there, I bought some ready made little wooden edging, painted with Cuprinial Black paint and hammered the attached stakes in place to make it a little higher to plant in.

What Did We Plant to Start With?

In the first year 2019-2020 (April-April) nothing happened this area wasn’t ready. Fencing went up Oct ish in 2019 & sat doing nothing until the following year.

The following year, April 2020 we got started after clearing, weeding it all again & planted a row of herbs & broad beans. I wasn’t really sure if this area would get enough sun to grow in, so this first year was a bit of a observation year.

Sage & Broad Beans
Rosemary & Broad Beans
Chives & Broad Beans

What Did We Plant Next?

Area started filling out & Strawberry baskets went up
Mint, dug in in a pot
Coriander grown from seed
Sage continued to thrive in this space
Crimson & White Broad Beans started to flower, lettuce was added to any spaces left
Rosemary kept spreading. Lettuce in spaces
Strawberry Planters grew well here with the afternoon sun
Started to look like a Courtyard Garden

Next We Built Another Fence Planter

Using the same methods as in the blog Building a Mini Food Forest in a Small Area. Ours is On A Fence

Our younger 2 kids got involved measuring & building these. They would have been 9 & 11 here.
Longer posts cemented in with postcrete
Lettuce seedlings planted out interspersed with radish &

To be continued….

Look out for Part 2 where we built a large planter in the middle & added our inspirational milk carton vertical growing fence or check out the No Waste Wednesday Blog -No Waste Wednesday-How We Grow Food in a Vertical Garden Using Milk Cartons On A Fence


Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Look out for blog post for Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

Look out for blog post for Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022

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This blog is from the ⬜️ Grey Area⬜️

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-No Waste Wednesday-How We Grow Food in a Vertical Garden Using Milk Cartons On A Fence

What Did We Do?

Not being happy with the amount of plastic that was going to landfill, we wanted to come up with a solution to help reduce that. When researching I came across plastic milk cartons being used on the window sills for herbs, just the bottoms used with drainage holes. I thought why not use them outside for herbs instead, but being in Scotland where it is wet and windy I didn’t want them sitting on the ground or being blown all over the garden on a windy day, so I decided to have them up on the fence.

Winter Planting- Red Pak Choi & White Pak Choi

How Did We Do It?

First we started asking neighbours to save these 4ltr milk cartons for us, as we are Vegan we don’t use them nor did we have anything else big enough to use with a handle. Our neighbours over the last year have sent over more than 80 bottles for us. Not only do we use these milk cartons for our Vertical Garden, we use them as scoops and seed collectors.

After collecting enough to get started we washed them out, removed the labels and cut them to the shape we required, leaving the handles on, but removing the lid section and adding drainage holes to the bottom.

Next I got some curtain poles that I had that were never used and screwed them onto the fence. We started with just 2, since then, we have just added a further one and once we have enough milk cartons the last one of this section will be going up.

How it started
Screws in front & back of the cartons. Not fully pulled in to the fence so the cartons don’t rip

Once the cartons were threaded onto the curtain poles using the handles, I lifted them very slightly with my hand at the bottom and screwed in a screw to the fence (where the red dots are) this was done just to take the whole weight off the curtain pole when the soil and water was in them. This method has worked great and there have been no problems. The first ones have been in place since April 2020

What Did We Plant?

We started off planting herbs in them, once they grew too big, we then removed them and planted them out into the garden around the fruit trees and into other Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden areas. The coriander grew huge in these cartons over 30cm before I moved them out. Parsley was left in over winter and thrived again the following year before I moved them out.

Coriander thrived in here

After the herbs were all done, I planted them out with lettuce, which was amazing, not only does the rain water them well, the drainage holes keep them from being water logged and drips slowly onto the raised bed layer below, which reduces my need to be out there constantly watering them. When we had that dry spell over the summer I used the water from the water butt to just top them up with water.

We ate these as “cut & come again” removing the bottom leaves to eat as we wanted them.
When we first started April 2020. Took a while to collect all the milk cartons

For the winter we have just planted White Pak Choi Red Pak Choi and Tat Soi which have thrived in here too.

The last row that will be going up before we head into winter will have all the strawberry runners we have got from our strawberries this year. They will stay in there over winter and we will move them under the fruit fruits for ground coverage in the spring.

Winter Planting- Red Pak Choi
Winter Planting- Tat Soi
Winter Planting- White Pak Choi

Where We Are Now

Added the 3rd row in August 2021 with the Pak Choi & Tat Soi in for the winter. We now have 66 milk cartons, 22 on each row. Hoping to get that 3rd row in soon to add the strawberry runners from the year.

Clayton busy watering after planting in Aug 2021
September 2021
October 2021

This space has been under development since we moved in, it’s come a long way.

Read more about this area of our garden in the blog post: Building a Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden in a Small Space in Scotland (Year 1)

This covers Permaculture Design principle No7. Produce no waste. We aim to reduce as much as we can to produce no waste from what we are consuming. Starting by reducing.

Top 5 Reasons To Try This

1. Vertical Garden looks visually pleasing (I think) especially on the black fence that holds the heat keeping the cartons warmer for longer.

2. Makes great use of space you already have.

3. So easy to get started right away. Our kids love this area & watering those cartons. Ideal community project too.

4. Keeps slugs away as they are high up they don’t seem to bother with them.

5. As always the best reason. It’s free. It’s being reused-recycled-repurposed.

This blog is from the No Waste Wednesday Blogs

Other related blogs are:

-No Waste Wednesday- How We Use Insides Of Toilet Rolls In Our Garden

What Did We Do?

First we start by collecting all the inside of the toilet rolls all year round. Usually gives us around 3 a week 150ish over the year. We collect them ready to use in April to plant seeds in that we want to grow a little taller before planting out, like Broad Beans or Sweetcorn.

Little basket by the toilet so it is easy to save them

How Did We Do It?

Clayton our eldest child plants all our seeds so it was interesting how he approached this. Clayton is 14, probably 12 in these photos. He is Non verbal & Autistic. He started off filling them like this, but soon realised as he put them down the soil fell out!

He started to then put all of them in the trays and fill them up like that. You’ll see in the next photos some soil did get in between as he figured it out but it didn’t cause a problem it just got thrown into the planters when we finished planting out anyway.

Clayton filling up the toilet roll tubes
Watering the seeds after sowing

What Did We Plant?

We plant our fast growing, taller seeds in these. Broad beans, sweetcorn, dwarf beans.

Broad Beans
Dwarf Green Beans
Sweetcorn, Dwarf Green Beans & Broad Beans
3 days!!! Yes, 3 days they were busting out!
These grew so fast!
These grew this big within 2 weeks & planted out like this.
Interestingly you can see the sweetcorn in the normal seed tray barley grew whereas the 2 trays in toilet roll inserts grew so fast.

This covers Permaculture Design principle No7. Produce no waste. We aim to reduce as much as we can to produce no waste from what we are consuming. Starting by reducing.

Top 5 Reasons To Try This

1. These are great for growing taller seeds. With that extra height than smaller pots. Also as they are narrower you can get more in a tray too.

2. They hold the water really well to keep the seeds moist and warm!

3. Easy to lift straight into the soil, no teasing roots out of the pots drainage holes! Just make a hole and drop the whole toilet roll & plant into the soil.

4. As you are using the cardboard it’s adding extra nitrogen around the plant into the soil as it breaks down. Total win win

5. As always the best reason. It’s free. It’s being reused-recycled-repurposed.

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Making Every Bit Of Space Usable. Building A Long Planter Raised Bed

Where Did We Start From?

This side is where the sun sets at night, it takes a while for the sun to reach this area in the day, but when it does, the sun reflects off the white shell wall (which is stunning up close) and gives the plants that extra much needed sun.

There was nothing down this side of the house and opens up into a huge field. We put up fencing and a gate in the further section of this area for our Kitchen Courtyard Garden and the gate to stop Deers coming into it. This section is yet to be fenced and gated but is on the list to do!

How beautiful is this shell render on the house.
It sparkles in the light!

How Did We Build it?

Using the same method as the front fenced section, you can read about it in this blog Building a Mini Food Forest in a Small Area. Ours is On A Fence. Using roof sheets and decking wood for stability. As this was so long it would wobble in the wind, so I added in extra wood supports that were screwed in across the top to stop that.

Wood cut & screwed & bolted in over the overlaps of the sheets and along the top and bottom for stability.
I put metal corners on and a few along, cut them longer and hammered them into the ground then screwed them into the wood for staking into place.
In the process of filling.
Cardboard at the bottom to suppress any weeds

So we did not have to shovel the soil from the tonnes bags from one side of the house and AGAIN into the planter I built it in sections as we went along so we could just tip it straight in from the wheelbarrow.

This went perfectly, the long back side up against the wall went in, then the first end up, half the front side up following the slabs that were already there for extra support.

Then coming to the final end, that was already cut and fixed into the section half of the front side and the last end, I realised the slabs were not put down straight to the wall. I know, I know!! Noob mistake not checking but this was the very first garden building project, the front fence project came after & I learnt from the mistakes.

Anyway, this made it so I had to pull this last section in to join it all together to form the rectangle creating that angle you can see below and a good 2” gap between the planter & the slabs at that end! It hasn’t caused any issues it’s been up now for over 2 1/2yrs. It’s just a visual annoyance for sure! However, you don’t see it now it’s been filled with plants.

Took 2 tonnes of soil to fill this AND all day to construct and fill.
Extra supports added to stop the wobble in the wind

What Did We Plant Here?

The thing about building with permaculture design is observing, seeing what grows best and where. What we planted in the first year 2019-2020 is different to what we are trying in the second year 2020-2021. We need to decide what works the best in this area to carry onto our next year.

The first year we planted

Lettuce – This was a huge success in this area. Decided to try in the Vertical Garden and Planter in the Kitchen Courtyard the following year.

Broad beans – Successful but took up too much space (and nobody liked eating them!) Did not plant them the following year.

Clayton out harvesting the Broad Beans

Radish– These went in and came out, but huge success, grew really well but didn’t plant succession seeds and replaced that space with sweet peas for the rest of the growing season. Grew these up in the Kitchen Courtyard planter the following year.

Dwarf Borlotti Beans– They were planted to grow up the wooden structure. Did not work. Moved them to the Planters in the Food Forest the following year for a huge success. Needed way more sun than this spot gave

Sweet Peas– Grew up the string structure fine, but did not produce a lot. Tried them again in the Kitchen Courtyard the following year, both years without a successful amount to harvest. However the bees love them so may try another location next year.

First set of growing. You can see the Lettuce & Broad Beans in at the other end.
Radish out. Sweet Peas in.

What Happened The Following Year?

Once the broad beans were out we planted leeks. They weathered the winter fine, but come summer shot up and went to seed. Will be collecting those seeds to relocate them for the following year.

Rest of the bed was cleared over winter, chop and drop method. Chopping everything at the soil level and dropping them onto of the soil. Sprinkled the whole bed with Red Clover, which is a perfect nitrogen fixer to get the soil ready to plant again we left it until Spring when the Jerusalem Artichokes were planted .

At the moment (Sept 2021) Jerusalem Artichokes and Leeks
Leeks that have gone to seed

You can see to the left are the trees that were not cut down this year. Picture below is over winter when we should have taken them down to around 5ft tall, but it was a missed job (that is high priority when the trees go back to being dormant for the winter).

Even with these trees so high this year the newly planted Jerusalem Artichoke thrived! Not only have they grown so tall over 10ft (so far) but they have spread throughout the whole bed.

From the other end looking over the gate from the Kitchen Courtyard. Shows these boarding trees height!
Had to add some net earlier in the summer to stop them spreading across the path
Look how small they were!
Ohhh……..we also had our pretty shell render steam cleaned. Made a HUGE difference in the sun! You can see how dark/dirty the wall was in earlier pictures

After observing this area for 2 years now. I think we have found a few successful plants that grow here. Look out for the follow on post to see what we decided on, we may even get round to developing this area next year too. Maybe…..


Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022

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How I Changed an Under Stairs Cupboard into a Calm Room with a Bed on a Budget

What Did it looked like?

The stairs we have are extra wide, this space is 45” wide a few inches short of a small double bed (4ft)
There was a door either side

There was a door either side, one leading to the living room, one leading to the dinning room. You had to open one door, shuffle into the space to open the next door, if you left both doors open they opened onto the actual under stairs area so you could walk through, but couldn’t get to the space?!

It had been used as a storage area and not updated for several decades. The wallpaper had layers and layers on the wall one which was hand drawn stencils or printed onto paper, may have been an original.

Lucky enough to have a window in this space.
This window is the middle one on the ground floor
It has an amazing view so I didn’t want to waste this space.

What Did I do?

After stripping the wallpaper with my trusty helper Clayton – his Home Ed journey involves a lot of practical work to keep him busy, he loves these kind of jobs as he sees a finished result, which is very satisfying to him.

I had to scrape some gloss paint off sections of the under stairs wood ceiling section and strip the gloss off the beautiful Oak window sill and surround. Stained some wood panelling before going up and gave the area a good clean before panelling the wall.

I wanted a headboard shelve at the end to have a nightlight or books or plants on. I built the frame put a shelve on and panelled it in. If I had more skills and time on this project I could have made that section into a drawer or cupboard, but there’s always a chance to come back and develop it more.

This was my first project in the house and we had been renting for the last 8yrs so my tools were dusty and my skills rusty 🙂

I then started on the bed frame, I had an old divan bed frame that I used, I thought it was pointless buying more wood to build a wooden frame when this was already done. I built an end frame screwed into the wall and bed frame so it didn’t move and attached slats across the frame.

You can see how wide our stairs are, far bigger than a single bed, but a few inches off a small double. I have yet to get a mattress/foam cut to size, it just has a futon mattress on for now.

Again I would have liked to have a pull out drawer under here for duvet covers etc, but it will be something I come back to for sure!

Once this was done I laid a carpet, an off cut I had. I laid it over the bed area and the floor and finished with some wooden edging. Wallpaper went up and it was coming together.

Love textured wallpaper
Original light switch from this cupboard
Wood panelling under the window
Wooden window sill & surround restored
Sitting on the bed looking out
Lampshade from Ikea

This is my favourite space to sit, anytime of the day you can curl up with a cuppa, a book, a blog post and relax in the…..Calm Room. A much loved space for the whole family.

I am so glad I used this space for this and not just storage. Both doors are off so you can walk through from living to dinning room freely too.

This blog is from Home. Other related blogs from this area are:

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Building a Mini Food Forest in a Small Area. Ours is On A Fence (Year 1)

What Did We Do?

When we moved in, this area had conifers that covered half way across the garage, that were taller than the bungalow next door and were cut back so much on neighbours side they had browning leaves at the bottom.

Google street view shows the trees maybe about 10yrs ago. This is the only other picture I have from the listing, they were at least 20ft tall and easily 8ft wide in such a small space

How Did We Do It?

We decided to have them removed and put up a fence instead. Having them removed left stumps so to cover these we made raised beds to plant in.

21meters long of fencing

We decided on making them out of metal corrugated roofing sheets. Which gave us the flexibility of length and were the perfect high and didn’t cost anywhere near as much as sleepers due to the height we wanted them at.

Making them in the house with roof sheets and some decking for support
The posts were concreted into the ground. In hind sight I would have the middle wood longer to concrete in too. But it is fine and still standing 2yrs later
Solar lights up

What Did We Plant?

Fruit trees & nut trees and fruit bushes were put in here, rhubarb and Strawberries in hanging baskets. This area gets the sun in the morning and late afternoon as it passes back around the house so is a perfect location for these.

Sprinkling of fine wood chips/saw dust to keep the slugs away

In this area from left to right is

1. Blueberry ( 3. Shrub Layer)

2. Hazel ( 2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer)

3. Rhubarb ( 3. Shrub Layer)

4. Dwarf Plum ( 2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer)

5. Rhubarb ( 3. Shrub Layer)

5. Hazel ( 2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer)

6. Blueberry ( 3. Shrub Layer)

7. Dwarf Apple ( 2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer)

8. Blueberry ( 3. Shrub Layer)

9. Hazel ( 2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer)

10. Blueberry ( 3. Shrub Layer)

Following year we added in chives and strawberries, these will be detailed in another blog

Chives (4. Herbaceous Layer)

Strawberries (5. Ground Cover Layer)


Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Look out for blog post for Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

Look out for blog post for Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022

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This blog is from the 🟥 Pinky Red Area

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Building a Food Forest in Scotland. Starting with the Tree Layer (Year 1)

See Previous Post Starting to Build a Food Forest, Where Did We Start?

When and Where Did We Plant?

After building and planting in the fruit cage in July 2019 the design plan was to carry the fruit trees across the back. Not being able to cage the whole 30m area across we used these tree protectors to give the trees a chance to grow without being eaten by the Deers. These were planted April 2020

Deer in the Garden
8 Fruit Trees planted equalled spaced across the back

What Did We plant?

From left to right back row there is

1. Dessert Plum – Prunus Rivers

2. Dessert Apple – Malus Katy

3. Plum – Victoria Prunus

4.,Cooking Apple – Malus Arthur Turner

From left to right front row there is

1. Dessert Apple – Malus Red Devil

2. Pear – Beth on quince A

3. Pear – Conference bush form

4. Cooking Apple – Lord Derby

Staked in with a wooden stakes and the green protection covers, they were then all covered at the base with cardboard and garden mulch of year old leaves that were ready to use. The leaves had been left in 6 brown bins, kept wet to decompose and were perfect after 6 months of sitting there to use for this purpose.

What Did We Plant With Them?

At this time we only added a chive plant and a strawberry plant to the base of each one for the

4. Herbaceous Layer – Chives for the smell to deter the Deer

5. Ground Cover Layer – Strawberries to start giving some ground cover

More details on the layers see blog post Starting to Build a Food Forest, Where Did We Start?

Chives beside a tree
View from top floor. Fruit cage to left & rows of trees across the back. Planting of Butternut squash on black area (this did not work for us!!!)


Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Look out for blog post for Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

Look out for blog post for Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022

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This blog is from the 🟦 Blue Food Forest Area.

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Starting to Build a Food Forest, Where Did We Start? (Year 1 & 2)

There are 7 Layers of a Food Forest

  1. Tall Tree or Canopy Layer
  2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer
  3. Shrub Layer
  4. Herbaceous Layer
  5. Ground Cover Layer
  6. Underground Layer
  7. Climber, Vine or Vertical Layer

Bonus Layers

8. Aqua/Wetland Layer (Bonus)

9. Mycelial or Fungal Layer (Bonus)

7 Layers of a Food Forest

What is a Food Forest?

Food Forest sometimes called Forest gardening is a low-maintenance, sustainable, plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Wikipedia

Visual of a Food Forest

So How Did We Start and Why?

The ones that take the longest to grow is the place to start. That is the trees. You need to plan where these are going to go, work out your spacing between them depending on the sun, land levels, wind. Peter planned ours using the 12 principles of permaculture design.

Where Did We Plant and Why?

There are many choices of edible yields: apples, cherries, currants, gooseberries, grapes, medlars, pears, plums, raspberries the list goes on….

You need to choose first what you are actually going to eat, there is no point planting 6 different apple varieties if the people you are building this food forest for are not going to eat them.

Second, you need to choose varieties that grow in your local area/country and zone. In Scotland we are not going to get banana, pineapple, coconut trees growing.

Thirdly, you need to decide on sizes, we choose to have all dwarf fruit trees, fruit trees that have been grafted onto dwarf stock root so we can maintain them easier and for the space we have doesn’t really allow for such huge fruit trees canopies.

Due to the Deers running across our grounds daily going from field to field using our grounds ft as a through way we decided to buy a 10ft by 10 fruit cage to start planting in. By doing this, this meant we got started with our 1st layer while being able to observe the land for a few months over the winter before we continued.

Principle 2 of Permaculture Design
July 2019 when first completed
You can see the fruit cage right at the bottom

What Did We Plant and Why?

In here was planted 2 dwarf Apple trees and 2 dwarf pear trees to cover 2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer as we already have huge large trees in place to cover 1. Tall Tree or Canopy Layer

Hazel bushes to cover the 3. Shrub Layer, Chives for Layer 4. Herbaceous Layer and some Strawberries to cover 5. Ground Cover Layer which more have been added this month.

2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer- Bush Apple Tree
2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer- Bush Pear Tree

Today this cage has covered:

2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layer

3. Shrub Layer

4. Herbaceous Layer

5. Ground Cover Layer

3. Shrub Layer – Hazel Bush

5. Ground Cover Layer – Strawberries

The hanging Strawberry baskets made so many runners this summer, they are on the ground in here rooting to cover the ground over the next year. Once the runners root, we will cut them off and put the hanging baskets back where they were.

Fruit Tree Cage as it looks now


Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

Look out for blog post for Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022

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This blog is from the 🟦 Blue Food Forest Area.

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Oakmount House. Edwardian 1903 Home & Garden in East Ayrshire, Scotland

Not much is know about this house or the family that built it except the few pictures we were given by the previous owner, showing the original features like the beautiful windows, the windows in the roof & the chimneys all that have been removed & replaced.

Photo taken 1906
Photo of the family taken at the front door in 1906

Many of the features inside are still there from the ceiling roses and ornate coving and decorations to the beautiful oak wooden doors, window surrounds, skirtings and banisters.

Ceiling roses
Stunning oak throughout the house
Ornate decorations on coving
Beautiful cast iron balcony
Details on the roofing

So many beautiful features still there, yet so many replaced with newer versions and some gone altogether. I’m looking forward to lovingly updating, repairing & renovating this home over the years, trying to keep the older Edwardian style whilst modernising it throughout. Our main problem is heating this home, so wall insulation, floor insulation roof and windows are the first focus.

The biggest reason we were drawn to this home was the grounds. Approx 1/4 of an acre and the views are speculator all the way round the home

From the Kitchen Window
From the Drive way & what the living room looks out to

From the Top floor window
From the bottom Calm room window

From google maps you can see the different tiers of the garden

🟨 Yellow- top sitting tier that will also have a greenhouse & potting shed off to the right

🟪 Purple- kids playing tier with their swings, trampoline and enough space to run with a lavender sensory slope into this section.

🟦 Blue- large bottom tier we are making into the food forest, vegetable planters and flower slope into this section.

🟥Pinky Red- front section that has the mini food forest fence garden and rhubarb

⬜️Grey- kitchen courtyard herb garden, home to our vertical garden, herbs and planters full of salads and cut & come again food types.

Google view showing sections we plant to make
Google view of the grounds

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building a food forest Scotland header

A Little About Us and Where The Food Forest Has Started From

Katrina & Peter and their children are a Vegan living family of 5 in East Ayrshire, Scotland. 3 children aged 11-14. Their eldest Clayton who is Autistic and Non verbal is Home Educated by Katrina and has developed a keen interest and eye for the garden and is most happiest when planting seeds, potting up and watering what he has grown. This year Clayton started the Grow and Learn Course with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

“ Grow & Learn is a person-centred award, recognising individual progress and achievement in horticulture. Our awards are inclusive, individualised and offer life skills based education for all. Grow & Learn aims to address a large gap in provision in the world of horticulture by offering an alternative learning opportunity for those who find mainstream learning challenging“ The Caley

Clayton watering the vegetables in the planters

You can follow Katrina & Clayton on their instagram page buildingafoodforest_scotland watching them around their garden while they build up their Food Forest with Fruit, Nuts & Berries. Their Kitchen Courtyard Garden using Vertical Gardening techniques, their Vegetable Planters & Clayton’s Flower Beds.

12 steps of permaculture design

The family have lived in Scotland since 2013 and decided to finally make it their home in 2019 and bought a property in East Ayrshire with large enough grounds to start building a food forest approx 1/4 acre to start having fresh basic food supplies for their family. Peter completed Permaculture Design Course online at Oregon State University (certified by the Permaculture Institute of North America) and has designed the grounds using the 12 principles of permaculture design, they started with the fruit trees and fruit & nut bushes to get them established (all under net cages for Deer protection) while they slowly but surely continue to build the area around them.

Oakmount House when we first moved in, Feb 2019
Ongoing progress of the grounds Sept 2021

From a full grass area, they have split it up into difference sections, first is a seating area, which will also house a greenhouse & potting shed for Clayton to continue his skills in the garden, there is a slope onto the 2nd tier that is in the process of becoming a full lavender hedge for a wonderful sensory experience, all grown from seed on their window sills around the house. There is the kids area, for play, for running, for waterslides and swinging. The slope into the 3rd tier & their growing area with tall planters and a food forest establishing across the back, is home to what will be a stunning flower slope for the bees, full of colour and texture, which also seem to be a love of the Deers that run across the garden every morning & evening. This whole area is very much a working progress which they are documenting their progress on instagram buildingafoodforest_scotland

Behind the house they have built a Kitchen Courtyard Garden growing herbs & salads. A beautiful practical vertical garden is in this area too, they have made great use of this space along a black fencing that retains the heat and gives the plants an extra heat boost, 66 milk cartons kindly collected by their neighbours are attached on a curtain rail, planted out with the seasons food. A great use of recycling, reusing & repurposing, showing no matter the space you have you can always start growing something, even if it is using toilet rolls, paper cups, cutting up plastic bottles to use the bottom to plant & the tops for mini greenhouses or EVEN old shoes!

Before and now of the Kitchen Courtyard Garden
Vertical Gardening reusing old milk cartons
Herbs and lettuce growing in the vertical garden
Reusing, Repurposing, Recycling items for the garden

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