Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Garden........one of my new passions. Part one!

We moved house in September last year and we are now renting my MIL's house. She wanted somewhere smaller and we needed somewhere bigger! The garden here had been quite neglected over the years just having grass cut and a few small bits done by a friend of MIL's. I really wish I had taken some photos before we started this monumental project but it didn't seem like things would take off the way they did!

To give an idea of the garden 'as it was', it's quite a big garden that was almost entirely turfed. There was a long concrete slab going from the house to almost the end of the garden. As seems quite popular in this area, there were also 3 tall metal poles used for a washing line. Aside from a long stretch of concrete along the back of the house, that really was about it. Oh, I almost forgot the two irking great pine trees in one corner of the garden. These had been left to grow out of control so were nearly 30 feet tall.

Everything changed when we were very kindly offered a rather large area of decking. Giles went along with a friend to collect it as it had to be dismantled and then it sat in the back garden, killing the turf underneath it for about 5 months!!
Scroll forward to the end of the 5 months, which was around March this year and we finally decided it was time to get the decking sorted out. I remember looking out of our bedroom window one weekend afternoon and seeing this bloody great framework assembled. That was the first time I realised just how big the decking was going to be. It's fab!! So, Giles worked really hard to get the decking all laid. This is what we ended up with....

As you can see, it extends almost the full length of the house and is HUUUGE! The sun awnings were courtesy of a little flutter that paid off ;-)

Once the decking was done, the obsession started in earnest!

The next project I decided on was that we should returf the garden. In it's pre-us state, the lawn was really uneven and patchy, plus with the concrete path that you can just see in the corner of the picture, we really didn't have much choice if we wanted a nice lawn.

Cue us deciding that we didn't need to hire any expensive equipment.......I mean, how hard could it be to dig up 100 square metres of turf right?? Ummmm, bloody hard!! Backbreakingly hard in fact. Still, it saved us £100 so it was worth it of course.......NOT!! Two or three days of blood (literally in my case after nearly taking my foot off with a spade), sweat (copious amounts thereof) and tears (well, maybe not the tears but the rest is true) we had a mud lawn!

It was extremely satisfying to see this expanse of mud after all the hard work!

The following morning, we had a lorry load of turf delivered and then set about laying them over the mud......

I should note at this point that I had already started planning and digging flower beds. At first, there was going to be my herb garden, one small bed on the opposite side of the garden and a small bed at the corner of the decking. We had also put a small fence near the back of the garden so we could store bits and bobs behind it. A compost heap, spare garden chairs, logs for the fire and so on. You can see the nice new fence panels in the pictures above.

So we got the garden turfed. This was actually a really quick job and we were very lucky that our neighbour's brother offered to help (as I really, REALLY didn't want to do it!).

This is the garden by the end of the turf laying day.

We don't get much sun on the decking late in the afternoon, so I had decided to put a small patio in front of the little fence we had just put in. The romantic notion I had was that I could settle myself there in the early evening with a gin and tonic, to catch the last of the sunshine. I forgot for a moment that I have 3 year old twins........we don't have an early evening as this is bath and bedtime!! Still, the idea was nice.

Anyway, this will do for part one. I will leave the patio, my flower beds, pots and planters, herbs and a new found love of growing edibles for another installment.....

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