Can a garden be pretty without flowers and trees?

It has become time to admit that I am completely and utterly fed up with our back garden.  Obviously in the Winter it has become very neglected but in the Summer the children spend nearly the whole time in the garden.  They just love it.
We began a clearing project a few Summers ago now and it was all going well, as these things have a habit of doing it ground to a halt when we ran out of time and money to go any further.  The plan was to rid the sides of all the trees which would give us an extra 2ft each side, we started well and cut them back ourselves however unless we hired a skip which is expensive it was a case of doing a little each week and filling the green garden waste bin, we did this and cleared most of them but ground to a halt when other things came along.  We needed to dig the trees and bushes out from the roots to stop them growing back but sadly didn’t get the chance so now they are all growing back again and it’s almost back to square one again.

When the warmer weather comes along this is my number one priority as I need the garden to be useable again.  We have now also decided to remove the trees from the back of the garden too to make the garden bigger and to remove the wasted space as although the trees and bushes look pretty in the summer for the rest of the year it looks a mess of fallen leaves and overgrown branches.
Currently our garden is uneven and needs levelling out to make the children’s garden toys stable and safe, they currently have a 10ft trampoline which they adore, a double wooden swing and slide set, a seesaw/roundabout and 2 plastic playhouses. 
After removing all of the trees and bushes (from the roots this time) I plan to have the grass removed and the garden levelled out or at least part of it levelled and a border added along with bark chippings – this is where I plan to move the swing/slide across to.
I then want to replace the plastic playhouses with a nice wooden one which they can both share and that I can customise to include storage for their bikes and garden toys.  I’ve been looking at this league table of the 20 best  playhouses for girls to get an idea of what is already out there (and although it is titled playhouses for girls of course they are suitable for boys equally), I love this raised playhouse which incorporates a slide too meaning I could get rid of the large swing/slide set and replace for a smaller double swing instead.  I also think it would be very easy to board the sides of this and add lockable doors to the front so I could safely store the bikes and not worry about them rusting in the rain.  I think a concrete base would work best to aid the weatherproofing, a job which would need outsourcing I think.  
With a lack of plants in the garden I do feel it can still look pretty by adding accessories and keeping it tidy.
I want to repaint our old shed and am really drawn to a beach hut theme (although Paul isn’t as keen), I also want to use chalk paint to paint either the shed door or one of the fence panels to create an outdoor art station for the children.  I may also take a closer look at What Shed for other outdoor storage options just incase this turns out to be far too much hard work. 
I’ve been pinning ideas I like over on Pinterest and will add to this board as and when I see something I like and hopefully by the summer I will finally know what I want to do to complete our garden and to make it look pretty without the flowers or the trees.

Follow Clare’s board Garden Project on Pinterest.

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