A couple from the UK has managed to transform their stock standard backyard garden into a tropical paradise inspired by a holiday to Thailand.
When Chris Ensell, 32, and his wife, Anneka, 31, moved into their newly built home in Ackworth, West Yorkshire in 2018, their garden consisted of nothing more than dried out turf.
After visiting Thailand the pair agreed that they wanted to recreate this in the UK and started the renovations in the summer of 2019 so that they would have their own calming oasis in their back garden.
Chris said, "When we first moved into the house the garden was just made up of dry and useless turf that hadn't been watered for weeks. I wasn't massively into gardening before starting this project as this was the first house that we lived in that had a good garden space. Our first home only had a decked area with room for some potted plants.
"After spending some time thinking about how we would like to design the garden, a tropical paradise theme seemed perfect because we had loved our holidays to destinations such as Thailand and Sri Lanka. We visited Sri Lanka for our honeymoon in 2018. We took a lot of inspiration from a place called Jim Thompson house in Bangkok."
He continued, "It's so calming and idyllic, we wanted to recreate this in our garden at home so that stepping into the garden would feel like we were on holiday.
"I started doing lots of research on tropical plants so I knew how to grow them and look after them properly. It seems pointless to spend money on tropical plants if I didn't know how to take care of them.
"I have learned on the job. I've spent lots of time watching YouTube videos and gardening programs on television."
Chris estimates that he has up to 300 variations of plants and has spent almost $7,500 on tropical plants since starting his garden transformation.
The pair go to specific growers for their tropical plants and attend rare plant fairs to try and get as many unusual plants as possible.
Chris, who is a photographer, said: "I like it when people look at our plants and are unsure about what they are. As tropical plants tend to grow quite fast, it is a challenge to know where to place the plants in the garden and where is best to plant them for sunlight.
"They are a lot easier to look after in the summer, I just have to water them in the mornings and evenings. This is also the time that the garden is looking its best. In the winter we have to dig up some of the plants and put them into our greenhouse with heaters to keep them alive.
"This is why research is important so you know how to keep your tropical plants in the best conditions over the winter periods."
Chris and Anneka completed their entire garden transformation themselves, with the help of some family members, to help keep the price of the renovation project down. They also hired all the equipment and tried to work within a budget.
The photographer added, "Aside from the plants, the project cost us around £1,500 ($2800). We tried to do it on a budget and get things for as cheap as possible, or even for free, on Facebook Marketplace.
"Seeing the garden coming together more recently has been brilliant because the plants are getting to really good sizes now.
"We are so happy with the tropical theme that we chose. Especially during the pandemic as we can't go on holiday, we have our garden as our own little holiday and oasis."
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