This couple has spent £40,000 transforming their back garden into a Japanese paradise.
Graeme Tate, 66, started the project 25 years ago at his detached home in Rossington, South Yorkshire, with his wife, Lynne Tate.
The semi-retired electrician’s garden includes a koi carp pond, a rockery, and a tea house in two separate areas.
Graeme said: “It really is beyond all expectations, I never thought it would look like it does today when I first started!
“I have always loved gardening and used to keep an allotment. I had no real interest in the aesthetic side until I heard Alan Titchmarsh say on television that vegetables are food for the body and flowers are food for the soul.
“It was from here that I decided to throw myself into it properly.”
The project has come at an eye-watering price, but Graeme says it has been a gradual investment.
He explained: “It sounds like a lot of money, but it has been spread out over an awfully long-time.
“We have made savings by doing the design and build ourselves.
“I used to work as an electrician in the local coal mine before becoming a commercial & industrial installation electrician.”
“I really am just an ordinary working chap who loves his garden.”
He dug out the pond by hand himself in 1996, adding: “The pond is essentially built in the same way that you would build a swimming pool.
“I saw a Japanese garden whilst visiting Compton Acres in Poole, Dorset which inspired me to create my own.
“There was over 100 tons of soil to move before adding the concrete and the rockery.
“Now I have around 40 koi carp in this pond which are flourishing.”
Graeme’s dedication has seen him join the British Koi Keepers Society, a body imparting proper knowledge on caring for the Japanese fish.
He explained: “As I have such a large quantity, it has been a really helpful resource.
Graeme also has a tea house, which is separated by a beautiful ornamental fence.
Graeme added: “We use the garden all year round but on a nice day, it is lovely to use the tea house or to relax out on the patio.”
“One of the other most striking features of the garden is our wisteria which blooms in May to early June. We really look forward to this event which looks absolutely stunning”
The garden has also been a huge hit over the years amongst friends and family.
He said: “Everyone seems to be blown away by it.
“It is a lovely creation we get to share with people when they come to visit and has been a really fun project to build over the years.”
Despite the love of Japanese architecture, Graeme and Lynne have never visited Japan.
He explained: “We are unlikely to visit in all honesty, but we do still love to visit other Japanese gardens around the UK.
“There are amazing examples at Tatton Park, of Knutsford, Cheshire, Pure Land Garden in Nottinghamshire and in Saint Mawgan, Cornwall.
“All of these have helped me with inspiration for my own garden.”