It’s funny how destructive you have to be to something in order to make it better. The garden currently looks like thugs have broken in and destroyed everything in their path, the only saving grace being a few spring bulbs which are reassuring me that the space is a garden, and not a crime scene.
A few things have progressed lately. The first was the tree stumps were removed. Much as I would love for us to do everything ourselves, sometimes you just have to admit a job is too big and seek help. We had three main tree stumps and one dead tree in the garden. The fourth I was able to hack at with an axe and it disintegrated, but I think this was a particularly old stump.
As you can see they weren’t going anywhere without some serious pieces of kit! So I asked a few people for quotes which were in the £200-£300 range, a lot I thought. Eventually someone quoted me £200+VAT, and when I delved a bit deeper they said if they didn’t take the wood away they could do it for £120+VAT. That saves the best part of £100 which seemed like a winner to me. At the time I thought I could just do a couple of journeys to the tip, or chop the wood up to fit in our garden waste bin, but I’ve since bought a garden shredder so I can add the chippings to my compost heap.
As you can see, they did a good job and were done within half an hour!
But there were consequences of saving that £100!
Better get that shredder going!
The next development has been the bricks. The garden design we’ve decided to go with has curved edges, and we wanted something to edge the garden that we could curve and so bricks seemed a good choice. We ended up sourcing reclaimed bricks from a local reclamation yard where we could go and view a whole range of bricks and choose some that fitted with our garden. We ended up choosing some taken from an old pub, for 80p each, but weighing almost 3kg each. Luckily both me and Carl had taken each of our cars, so we filled them with as many as we could in the boot and foot wells, making sure we could still drive up hills!
Getting them home was one thing, getting them into the garden (bearing in mind we live in a terraced house with only an alleyway to access the garden) was another! They were very heavy, and we were absolutely exhausted afterwards, but rewardingly we were able to get an idea of how the garden might look once we’d laid them out.
We had marked out the design with string and lollipop sticks, which I think is an important step as it allows you to get a feel for the space and how different tweaks to the design might work. Carl has since started to lay the bricks out properly. I did start this but Carl is much more precise and patient than me, and did a much neater job! We’ve widened the bed on the right so the beds are symmetrical and taken the turf up where the curve starts (who knew taking turf up was so hard?!). Then Carl dug a trough along the edge of the grass for the bricks, and wedged them in place with earth. They might move a little bit, but I think this this is preferable than using lots of concrete near the plants.
I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out, I think the look really smart. It’s hard work and takes a while to do, but hopefully it will look really good once it’s finished. Beyond the start of the garden we intend to have a winding path with deep beds and a bench to sit amongst the flowers, which will lead to a gravelled area with a raised bed by the greenhouse and shed. But that’s probably a while away yet!