This is my own tiny 300-year-old cottage in Northiam. I bought it derelict it from the Great Dixter estate in 1985 and spent several months stripping it back to the oak frame and rebuilding it. My late mother-in-law lived happily there to the age of 96. After she’d gone we didn’t want to sell it so decided to start doing holiday lets. The front garden was already well-stocked by Elsie with cottage plants but I created a courtyard garden at the rear with a seaside theme.
The old slabs I’d originally laid were covered with two tonnes of shingle, carried through the house! At the back I constructed a rustic bench seat, bracketed with two wooden planters. A small shed was installed and painted black, referencing the Hastings net huts. Old stone sinks were filled with alpines.The front garden worked well throughout the summer months but looked sorry for itself the rest of the year so recently I decided to redesign it with more structure. A simple path of Indian sandstone slabs divide the area, widening in the centre to support a stone birdbath, with simple planting either side. Now it looks good all year round.