The new Darlington trend that sees small courtyards transform into great outdoor spaces


Darlington’s drab concrete backyards transform into stunning outdoor spaces as a new trend sweeps through the city.

Hundreds of locals have created “gardens” in Darlington by sprucing up the often overlooked outdoor space with an array of plants, outdoor furniture, and string lights.

A group celebrating the city’s hidden gems now has nearly 1,500 members, with residents sharing photos and tips on how they’ve transformed small spaces since its launch earlier this year.

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From a boring backyard used only for storing trash cans or hanging laundry, residents have created gorgeous spaces to sit and enjoy al fresco dining in the summer or for green-fingered residents to do gardening.

Allison Malloch, who started the Darlington Yardens Facebook group earlier this year, said: “You don’t have to have a boring backyard.

“I love that we can really give people a choice and that they can be inspired by what others have done.

“You don’t expect to open the garage and see a jungle.”

Allison Malloch in her North Road garden

The 55-year-old, who lives in North Road with her husband Duncan, added: “We started the garden about three years ago. My husband did a lot of the building work and I do the gardening.

“I love looking at them all on Facebook and coming up with ideas myself. We decided to go with big leaf plants and create a tropical jungle vibe.

“I think it inspired a few other people on our street as well.”

We take a look at some of Darlington’s beautiful gardens and what the creators have to say:

Tracey Holdom, who lives in Brook Terrace with her husband Darren, has turned her garden into a lovely place to sit outside on a warm evening.

The 51-year-old said: “I have a passion for gardening and designing interiors and gardens, and my husband is a very passionate and knowledgeable handyman.

“We moved here just before the Kent lockdown so we left a lovely garden, as such we were keen to turn our small space into a haven of relaxation.

“The design and planning took several months to design, the building, concrete as you can see, took six weekends of work. All work was done by Darren, and all materials were sourced locally and online for the lighting. “

Tracey Holdom turned her backyard into a lovely place to spend a cozy evening
Tracey Holdom turned her backyard into a lovely place to spend a cozy evening

Kerry Smith, at Pierremont Road, is also among the residents of Darlington to transform the yard of her house.

The 56-year-old said: “I needed a place where I could sit and relax but with specific areas.

“So I have a bistro table and chairs by the kitchen door for coffee or breakfast, a sitting area to have a drink with my friends, a corner under the pergola with a barrel and stools. bar for my son and his friends when he comes home from college and my egg chair by the patio doors where I can curl up with a book.

“I now have my relaxing little piece of heaven.”

Kerry Smith's transformed garden in Darlington
Kerry Smith’s transformed garden in Darlington

Vincent Shaw, 30, lives at Bank Top and has turned his yard into an “oasis”.

He said: “I wanted to show that even though the gardens are small, they can still be turned into an oasis! I love gardening and having a small garden was not going to stop me.”

Vincent Shaw turned his backyard into a "oasis"
Vincent Shaw has transformed his yard into an “oasis”

Alexis Battison, 49, who lives in the Eastbourne area, said: “I wanted to create a relaxing outdoor space where I could retreat after a long, exhausting day.

“Whether it’s sitting in the sun or hanging out, it’s a great place to relax. I can’t wait to come home each day. It’s my happy place.”

Alexis Battison's garden
Alexis Battison’s garden

Take a look at other gardens in Darlington here:

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