Couple transform new build garden into tropical paradise after Thailand holiday

While most of us can only dream of spending our days in a calming tropical oasis right now, Chris and Anneka Ensell have managed to create one in their garden.

The couple were inspired by a trip they took on their honeymoon to Thailand and when they returned, they got to work making over the area behind their new build home.

When they moved into the property in Ackworth, West Yorkshire, in 2018, it wasn’t very inspiring – but now it’s a space they love.

Chris, 32, 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.’

The couple visited the countries for their honeymoon in 2018 and fell in love with a place called Jim Thompsons house in Bangkok.

Chris added: ‘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.’

The garden how has around 300 varieties of plants, costing around £4,000.

Chris and Anneka go to specific growers for their tropical plants and attend rare plant fairs to try and get as many unusual plants as possible.

Chris, 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.’

Although they spent lots on plants, they did all the work themselves with a little help from family members, hired equipment and stuck to a budget.

He added: ‘Aside from the plants, the project cost us around £1,500 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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