Welcome the (back garden) jungle!

Welcome the (back garden) jungle! Homeowner spends £15,000 transforming her 60sq m plot and two-storey house into a tropical paradise with more than 250 plants

  • Hannah McFarlane, 39, of Winchester, Hampshire, has spent £15,000 on more than 250 tropical plants 
  • She transformed her ordinary 60sqm garden into a tropical paradise complete with tiki bar and pergola
  • The work continues inside where she has created an ‘indoor jungle’ with dozens of striking plants 

A plant collector has spent £15,000 on more than 250 tropical plants for her house and back garden.

Hannah McFarlane, 39, who lives near Winchester, Hampshire, bought her first home in September 2017 and wanted to completely transform the small, unloved garden into a tropical paradise after being inspired by her travels.

Hannah was inspired by favourite holiday destinations including Bali, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, and Miami and decided to re-imagine the ordinary 60sqm space into a back garden oasis complete with a homemade Tiki bar, wooden pergola, driftwood stepping stones, and a big tropical centrepiece.

The magic continues inside, where she has used houseplants to turn the two-storey home into an ‘indoor jungle’. 

BEFORE: Hannah McFarlane, 39, who lives near Winchester, Hampshire, bought her first home in September 2017 and wanted to completely transform the small, unloved garden (pictured) into a tropical paradise after being inspired by her travels

AFTER: Hannah re-imagined the ordinary 60sqm space into a back garden oasis complete with a homemade Tiki bar, wooden pergola, driftwood stepping stones, and a big tropical centrepiece, pictured at night

Welcome to the jungle! The magic continues inside where Hannah (pictured) maintains some 150 plants of varying sizes

Hannah explained: ‘When I bought my house, I could see that the garden had huge potential so I started renovating it in March 2018 and that’s when I began to transform the house into an indoor jungle.

‘I’ve always loved gardening but I’ve never had my own house but I never had the chance to create something of my own.

‘I love the tropical feel of being on holiday and I’ve tried to recreate it. People can’t believe I’m living in the UK from my pictures. I have around 150 tropical house plants and a lot more in the garden.’

Hannah admitted her tropical plants can be ‘quite expensive’ and can be difficult to source. Her priciest purchase was a Trachycarpus Wagnerianus, also known as a ‘Waggie’ or ‘no fuss’ palm tree, which cost £395.  

She continued: ‘The most I have spent on an indoor houseplant is £180, it’s a rare Jewel Alocasia from Borneo called Alocasia Melo.

Drinks are served: Hannah can entertain family and friends at her homemade tiki bar, set in the tropical garden

Voyage of discovery: A beautiful path leads through the mature garden to the shed tucked away at the back


Finishing touches: Hannah (pictured right) has added signposts to the garden, showing some of her holiday inspirations

From ordinary… to extraordinary! Pedestrians walking past Hannah’s two-storey home would never know about the amazing tropical garden at the back of the house

‘You have to be mindful when purchasing certain rare houseplants that are imported because sadly some of them can be poached from the wild. I would recommend doing your research and buying from local growers and local private sellers.

‘Most of the plants I find are from various sites online – private sellers, online shops, and garden centres and it can be difficult sourcing some of them’. 

After years of work, Hannah is now nearing the end of her garden project but wants add ‘nautical style decking’. 

Surprisingly, she says the garden only takes a ‘couple of hours of work a week’ to maintain.     

‘Some of the plants in the garden I have to wrap in hot horticultural fleece in the winter and a couple I have to dig up and dry store in my home but the rest are suitable for winter,’ she said.

Personal paradise! Hannah wanted to recreate the feeling of being on holiday with her vibrant homemade tiki bar  

Worth the money: Hannah admitted her tropical plants can be ‘quite expensive’ and can be difficult to source. Her priciest purchase was a Trachycarpus Wagnerianus, also known as a ‘Waggie’ or ‘no fuss’ palm tree, which cost £395

A holiday at home: Visitors tell Hannah that going to her garden is like going on holiday. Pictured, some of the vibrant plants that surround the path through the garden, with a signpost for the beach

‘To keep the indoor plants happy all year round, I have grow lights, a water distiller and humidifiers. Some of the plants are more difficult to keep happy than others.

‘There are plants in most of the rooms but I keep a large collection of my most treasured plants in the living room.

‘Once a week I’ll water all the plants in the house and that can take up to three hours and if it’s hot, I’ll have to water the garden every morning.

‘My oldest house plant is 15 years old. I’ve always had little a couple of house plants even from a young age. Plants make the house really cosy and it’s very therapeutic looking after them.

‘When people come into the house, they say it’s like going on a little retreat abroad.

‘My advice to anyone who wants to build their plant collection is to do some research online first and find out about how to look after them.’

TLC: Hannah can spend up to three hours a week watering the plants and said some of the ones in the garden (pictured) need extra care when the temperature drops over winter

Pride and joy: Hannah has houseplants on display throughout the house but has some of her favourites on show in the living room 

Cheers to that! The homeowner said she is nearly finished with her garden paradise but wants to add nautical decking

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