A dad who spent £50 a month renovating a garden loved by his neighbors – now he’s got all his money back.
Martin Fitton, 55, has splashed out a whopping £10k over the years to transform the outdoor area into a Japanese-themed space.
Starting the project in 2009, Martin added a teahouse, bonsai, meditation garden and meditation space to his once drab garden in Brislington, Bristol.
Although he had never visited Japan and had never tried the food, his love for the country’s garden culture inspired him.
Since then, the father-of-two has spent weeks gardening before turning to work as a weekend truck driver.
Martin said he has received many Japanese tourists, who all say it is a home away from home.
And now he’s making it public in an attempt to get his money back.
“We’re going to open it up as a business to put money back into it,” he said.
“I do all the work during the winter, I build the garden on a budget. I spend about £50 a month on it.
“I’ve done everything in the garden except the lanterns and recently added a Zen garden that the monks use for meditation.
“A Japanese tourist couldn’t believe I made everything myself, including a replica of a famous temple.
“I was visited by a YouTuber last year who went to the UK to visit it.
“After the pandemic, some travelers from Japan and Asia said they felt at home when they couldn’t travel.
“I learned Japanese gardening culture after taking a course in Dorset in 2009.
“Every day after dinner I sweep the leaves, it doesn’t look like an English garden because there’s no mud.
“We have about 22 guests an hour. I open it for charity but also to put money into the garden.”
He will publicize the garden as part of a National Park plan to open more than 3,500 private gardens to the public each year.
Martin added: “I was overwhelmed by the attention, I couldn’t have imagined that creating something in my garden could go this far in the UK and even further in Japan.
“I’ve made some great friends from Japan.
“I get a lot of people contacting me through my Facebook page, YouTube channel and website saying that I have inspired them to go out and create their own Japanese garden or accomplish something. which they started many years ago.
“They also say that after seeing my Facebook posts and videos, they feel calm, happy, and forget about life’s problems.
“I have a kimono and used to dress like a Karate Boy.
“My neighbors thought it was amazing and couldn’t believe the garden was in Bristol.”
Martin has spent the past 14 years on his beloved space and shelled out £10,000.
He is currently saving money to visit Japan in 2025.