Couple turns garden into tropical paradise after Thailand vacation

Chris and Anneka in their finished garden (Photo: Caters)

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 backyard.

The couple were inspired by a trip they took on their honeymoon in Thailand and upon their return they got to work renovating the area behind their new home.

When they moved into the Ackworth, West Yorkshire estate 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 dry, useless grass that hadn’t been watered for weeks.

“I was not passionate about gardening before starting this project because it was the first house we lived in and had a good garden space.

“Our first house only had a furnished space with room for some pots plants.

The garden before they turn it into a tropical paradise

The garden before they turned it into a tropical paradise (Photo: Chris Ensell / Caters)

The garden now
The garden now (Photo: Caters)

“After thinking about how we would like to design the garden, a tropical paradise theme struck us as perfect as we had loved our vacations 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 Thompson’s home in Bangkok.

Chris added, “It’s so calming and idyllic, we wanted to recreate that in our garden at home so that stepping into the garden feels like being on vacation.

“I started doing a lot of research on tropical plants, so I knew how to grow and care for them properly.

“It seems pointless to me to spend money on tropical plants if I don’t know how to take care of them.

“I learned on the job. I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos and gardening shows on TV. ‘

The couple fell in love with tropical plants on their honeymoon
The couple fell in love with tropical plants on their honeymoon (Photo: Caters)

The garden has around 300 varieties of plants, at a cost of 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 love it when people look at our plants and don’t know what they are.

“Since tropical plants tend to grow quite quickly, it’s hard to know where to place plants in the garden and where best to plant them for sunlight.

“They are much easier to maintain in summer, I only have to water them morning and evening.

“This is also the time when the garden is at its best.

“In winter, we have to dig up some plants and put them in our greenhouse with heaters to keep them alive.

“That’s why research is important to know how to keep your tropical plants in the best conditions during winter periods. “

Although they spent a lot on plants, they did all the work themselves with a little help from family members, rented equipment and stayed on 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 as cheap as possible, if not for free, from the Facebook Marketplace.

“Seeing the garden come together more recently has been great as the plants are now reaching very good heights.

“We are very satisfied with the tropical theme we have chosen. Especially during the pandemic because we can’t go on vacation, we have our garden as our own little vacation and oasis.

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