At the end of the summer I had the delight of going over to Haven in Great Yarmouth to judge an exciting competition they had.

They tasked lots of holiday home owners with creating little gardens out of free buckets.

I have to say that the challenge was taken up with a phenomenal amount of enthusiasm. I was bowled over by the little buckets – loads of thought had gone into it and some people even created handmade items. They were filled with imagination and humour and I wanted to share some with you. Here are a few of my favourites.


This won first prize and it’s a truly magnificent display. It has three buckets made into a seaside cliff with brown fabric linking them together. The outermost one has a fantastic windmill, and I love the little catcus in the middle bucket.

The main bucket is an evergreen treasure with lovely white rope fencing and garden furniture. The use of fabric, shells, pebbles and even cocktail umbrellas give this garden bags of personality.

The plants are great choices for a low-maintenance container, including ivy, primrose, adjuga and plenty of alpines.

Here’s how to plant an alpine rockery too!


The second-place bucket garden is a green haven! It’s jam packed with plants to create a miniature world cut through with a tiny path. It has viola, ageratum, mossy saxifrage, a dwarf conifer and even a few cactus plants.

I love the beach bucket attached to the side with sand, driftwood and a little towel. It also has a large rock with a little man who is preparing to dive into the smaller bucket. It’s really inventive and the planting is so clever.


As you can see, this holiday home bucket has been dressed around the outside with a little seaside rake and spade to remind you of being on holiday. In the centre there is a little camper caravan with a table and chairs.

I love the violas and campanula around the outside, and the sunflower representing the sun in the sky. The rainbow and cotton-wool clouds are also inventive. What a great bit of fun to brighten up the step of any caravan.

Here’s my guide to planting perfect containers.


This is a beautiful pink and purple display and I love the bucket decoration. Those hibiscus flowers around the outside make a real difference. It’s planted with viola and alpines, which are great plants for long-lasting containers.

The recycled elements are very imaginative, including the use of plant labels to make the fence. The fountain is made from a plastic water bottle that has been cut into strips and bent back around. It flows into a water feature that’s really an ice-cream tub which has been painted. There’s also a little meerkat on that terracotta slab. The whole bucket has got a great deal of personality.


This is a typical seaside bucket, including a lovely seagull. I love the nautical theme with the upended pot and the blue representing the water, with a wooden boat, anchor and ring too. There are also lots of shells and stars to decorate.

The alpines, iberis and grasses are great container plants because they are low-maintenance. All in all, a gorgeous seaside tub.

Here’s my top coastal plants.


This is more forest-like. They have attached more containers around the outside of the bucket to give them more planting room and filled it with lovely evergreens. It has a tall conifer at the back to make you think of a fir tree. Beside that is a log cabin made from little wooden sticks that have been cut up and stuck together.

I also love the white table and chairs and the little wheelbarrow at the front, and the splash of colour from the red cyclamen. It even has a wooden bridge linking the two pots. A very imaginative display.


This is a beautiful one – it even has a homemade lodge in the back. And that windmill! It has all been made from recycled objects. I love the coffee stirrers and the tennis ball roof. It’s truly original and creative.

The planting even includes a baby oak tree which looks like it was found on a woodland walk. And I love the use of buxus and alpines for evergreen foliage. It’s a really imaginative scene.

Read how to create structure with evergreen plants here.


This is the Great British seaside in a bucket! I love the handmade bunting and flags, and the puffin is a nice touch. The cut-up water bottles are used to make a sea splashing effect around the bucket, and the silvery planting and grasses reminds me of sand dunes. It’s really effective and would brighten up any home.

Thank you very much to Haven for inviting me to judge the competition. And well done to everyone who took part.

This is just a small selection of all the buckets that people have created to add a splash of colour to the steps of their holiday caravans. They looked marvellous and everyone should be very proud of their creations.

Find out more about Haven Ownership here.