This is our second summer in the house and time for another garden revamp.
We moved in at the end of August 2011 and inherited a garden that was 6 x 11 metres of shingle. Great for stone collectors, less great for anything else. I set about clearing back the shingle and the membrane and began to dig out the earth underneath and turn it into a garden. What I found as I dug, as well as bags of rubbish, a stereo tuner, metal guttering, iron washing poles, cutlery and more, was existing paths and beds. This made garden planning easier. I bought some old scaffold boards for a couple of quid each and set about making raised beds. With the old bricks I unearthed I edged and raised up the central bed to make it into a lawn.
At the autumn I had what approximated a garden and through the following year I set about populating it with veggies and plants. I was lucky with my vegetables last year and cropped potatoes, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, sweetcorn and tomatoes and even a few courgettes though the slugs seemed to get the best of those.
At the beginning of the spring I decided to lower the north and west (left and top) flower beds and use the earth to fill in the paths to give us a bigger lawn. This has partially worked, the flower beds are easier to tend but the grass seed hasn’t taken.
I’ve not been lucky with the veggies this year either, whatever I’ve planted out the slugs have feasted on and from six drills of carrots I’ve had one plant. Potatoes and tomatoes have done well but the lack of produce has given me the opportunity to re-plan the garden.
The bounding wall of the garden is badly bowed and the outhouses were built at the same time as the house, late 1920′s and are not in good repair. Ideally I would like to knock down the outhouses and replace them with a shed. I’d also like to take back the bounding wall of the garden a good half a metre, making it good and safe as well as providing space for table and chairs on the lower level of the garden.
While I need the approval and help of my landlady to remove the old outhouses and make good the wall, there is still lots that I can do to improve my garden myself.
The garden is south facing with the house to the north of the plot.
Here’s what I plan to do:
- Remove all the rubbish and shingle that is still in the garden.
- Remove the concrete edging on the old beds.
- Landscape the new beds by digging back to 1m wide and edging with the old bricks (they are currently 1.5m wide which is not easy to manage)
- Use the scaffold boards to make square raised vegetable beds for the east side of the garden.
- Move the compost heap into compost bins dug into the east side of the garden.
- Move the planting from the east side to the west side beds.
- Fill in the existing paths and seed as lawn.
- Cut in a new path to the seating area at the south-east corner of the garden.
- Remove the whirlygig washing line and put in a new line.
- Get rid of the dock weeds (these and the slugs are my gardening nemesis)
There is lots to do, but I’ve broken it down into tasks and hope I can get a little bit done each day over the next few weeks so that it is finished by the end of summer.
The overall look I would like in the garden is of a relaxed English cottage garden that is easy to manage and has space for my daughter to play. I want to reuse as much of the materials that I have in the garden already, to be both ecologically and financially thrifty. On the day’s that it is too wet to do anything I’ll be adding ideas to my In The Garden Pinterest board.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my plans and to find out what your gardening plans are this summer, so do please leave a comment.