Garden Pergola Makeover


I’ve had a thing for festoon lights for a few years now but never had anywhere to display them in our garden & half given up on the dream until I had a lightbulb moment (see what I did there!) after changing our garden furniture.

We did have a cube rattan set which was a bit too modern & ‘straight edge’ for my liking. My mum was looking to downsize her garden set which was exactly what I was looking for (although I couldn’t find anything similar online unfortunately) so we sold ours to make way for this huge Hartman set which seats 9 on the benches then an additional 3 chairs if needed.

I ordered the wicker tray which sits perfectly in the middle from Perfectly Lovely Interiors available here which sits on top of an Ikea lazy susan for £5.50 here so it spins round – a bit like an adult spin the bottle!


The area around it seemed to look a bit bare & after doing some fixing the rotten decking, I came up with the idea to build a pergola which then seemed to develop on to incorporate some planters.

I’m lucky in that my mum & stepdad are quite possibly the handiest people ever to have around & actually built their own home from scratch with little help from tradesmen. I called in a favour using my daughterly charm which seemed to do the job & the 4 main beams started taking shape.


My mum & I decided to tackle the planters ourselves whilst the men were at work. We managed to build them together in one day whilst looking after two children at the same time. She was on the wood cutting whilst I did the lifting & screwing – who needs a man?

The main posts are 4×2 timbers & the planters are made from fence kickboards which are cheap but also look quite rustic which is the kind of look I wanted to go for. We looked at premade pergola kits but decided it was much cheaper & more bespoke to do it ourselves.


I then made a dash to Homebase where I bought some bags of compost, 12 lavender plants & 2x wisterias which will hopefully grow up & over to create some shade as well as look just beautiful (uhhh can I just talk about #wisteriahysteria for a second…).



It was finally finished off by some of the festoon lights which inspired the entire look from Festive Lights. I went for these ones which are connectable so after measuring the distance decided on 16m (2 sets) to give me a 5 rows.



You can get 10% off all orders with code ‘MADEME’ to fulfil your festoon light dreams too until the end of July.






This is now the perfect area for entertaining & summer BBQ’s – I’m so over the moon with the finished look & the way it’s given us a separate area compared to it all being one long decking area.

Now I’ve just got to keep all the plants alive….




*This is a collaborative post with Festive Lights


  1. Anisa
    May 15, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    Absolutely love it and so amazing that you ladies made it yourself. Great job Charlotte x

  2. May 15, 2017 / 1:52 pm

    Looks beautiful Charlotte.. Hope this weather picks up again soon so that you can get out and enjoy it. How gorgeous was Saturday though for Elsa’s party? Health to enjoy!

    Cathy xx

  3. Louise
    May 15, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    So lovely! Have you treated your decking with anything? X

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      May 15, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      No we haven’t – I’ve heard from so many people that it’s a nightmare & you end up having to sand/restain every year so they wish they’d never started. We do have to pressure wash it every year though x

      • Louise
        May 15, 2017 / 5:32 pm

        Oh really! We have just laid ours and it couldn’t have been stressed enough to treat the decking to stop the wood rotting. X

  4. Róisín
    May 15, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    Once again you have created something so beautiful ? ? I have serious garden / house envy every time I read your blog! Well done to you and your mum it’s just gorgeous …. hope you get the weather to enjoy! Xx

  5. Kelly
    May 15, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    It all looks lovely! Can I ask what did you put inside the planters as a liner?

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      May 15, 2017 / 8:30 pm

      Just weed membrane 🙂 x

  6. Nicola
    May 15, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, cannot wait to show it to hubby and keeping all crossed that he agrees this is what we need!!! Xx

  7. Catherine
    May 15, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    Hey lovely what a wonderful space! Well done team!
    Did the four main posts have to be concreted into the ground? x

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      May 15, 2017 / 9:41 pm

      We attached them to the joists x

  8. Katen
    May 16, 2017 / 4:28 am

    Hi. It looks lovely. Can I ask where you got your timber fence boards from?. Thank you. X

  9. Carol
    May 16, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    You do did really well helping your mum. I know that each day you are learning something new and passing it onto your lovely followers. I must be earning some Brownie points to cash in a little later…… From THE MUM

  10. Samantha Baker
    May 22, 2017 / 10:03 pm

    Hi Charlotte I follow on insta never done this before loving your beautiful home, loving your garden makeover it’s perfect. Just wondered where you bought the wood for the pergola and wether you had to cut to size or just set it up, I need something similar and don’t know where to start I’m not savvy in that way. Thank you x

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      May 23, 2017 / 4:00 pm

      Hi lovely, it was from a local timber yard – the wood for the planters is just fence kkckboards so very cheap but we cut everything to size as luckily my stepdad has every tool known to man! x

  11. Linda Davidson
    June 2, 2017 / 7:55 am

    Charlotte, I absolutely love this, it looks wonderful … well done all!! This is exactly what I would like over our hot tub and I’ve been looking for lights like these for ages – thanks for the heads up. Here’s to many happy long evenings in this fab area xxx