Peace has decended. No more the drone of the concrete mixer, no more the shrill whine of the angle grinder, no more overheard landscaper’s laddish banter and badly tuned radio… and no more flippin tea making! The hard landscaping is finished!!
To further test my ever-diminishing patience there were a few days of ‘nothing happening whatsoever’ last week, while my landscaper awaited delivery of some final materials; namely, an inspection hole tray and specially fabricated metal edging to go around the birdbath – made by his local blacksmith….
Inspection hole tray fitted with blocks, very boring but a lot better than a horrible concrete or plastic cover
Metal edging fabricated by the blacksmith to retain gravel from planting area for box hedging - very neat & smart and way easier than using Ever-Edge in this situation
Sharp sand is brushed between the pavers...
...and the gravel is laid (small grade Cheshire pink)
The tools and building materials were packed away, the stone planters were put in place, the skip was collected by ‘Bill & Ben’ the skip hire men (I kid you not!) one last round of tea was made, the wire was replaced on the fence to close up the access point and they were gone.
This is, of course, just the beginning of the exciting process of creating a garden. But it is a real joy to have a good basic structure. I know the design is simple; some may think it very boring but I love it and my Other Half loves it too. What I am absolutely delighted with are the materials we’ve used as I think they’re very sympathetic with our house and its rural location. It also meets my own brief of being low maintenance and easily accessible. And, of course, there are other things to add, a bench, side arches for climbers to create two arbors and planters.
Oh and, if anyone else says to me they ‘can’t wait to see it with the plants in’ I might scream and throw something! You can’t wait?! How d’ya think I feel! I’ve learnt one thing for sure; patience is definitely not a virtue I possess!
So, as is always the custom with these things, here’s an obligatory ‘before’ picture…
And after pictures. Ta da!!
After landscaping - view towards the house
After landscaping - view from the house
Finally the finishing post is in sight. Well.. as far as the hard landscaping goes anyway. And we’ve mainly had excellent weather for it!
Day 12 - Landscaper arrived later than usual having gone to source more reclaimed stone, this time for our new step out of the house
It’s been an interesting few days with a some ‘eeeek!’ moments. Progress has felt rather slow – probably due to my growing impatience at wanting to get it finished! Anyway, on with the pictures, hope you enjoy.
Day 12 - Start of step construction - ready for the stone coping
- Managed to source a fab reclaimed millstone at a very reasonable price to sink into the paving as a feature
Day 13 - As we have plenty of pavers, I decided to have a paved area at the bottom of the garden (rather than just gravel) where the bench will go
Day 13 - Paving completed; just imagining my 'dream bench' here now!
Day 13 - Progress by the end of the day; millstone in place but not at right level yet. We were rather unprepared for what happened next!
Day 13 - early evening - no, that's not a Cyberman in our garden, it's the sandblasting man!
He looked very pleased with his achievement - but look at the mess! The garden looked like something from a moon-landing!
Day 14 - Stone coping is cut & installed to complete the step
Progress by the end of day 14
Sunday 21 August - NOT a day of rest. The OH and I spent 5 hours sealing all of the new paving (with paintbrushes!). Hopefully worthwhile as the garden is North-West facing & attracts a lot of algae & moss growth. I also pruned the hedge!
Day 15 - Garden is cleared of landscapers' clutter & the beds are dug, hurrah!
Day 15 - All of beds dug - birdbath making a handy coat rack... sigh
So here we are by the end of day 15 - just a few tiny bits to do before the gravel can be laid. Getting there!
Although the back garden still looks like a building site, at last the design is emerging and we have some shapes!
I have to say I am incredibly pleased with it and have been internet window shopping for a bench for the bottom of the garden and arches that I may include at the sides to create two arbors for climbing plants. I’m also hoping my landscaper can source a mill stone to sink into the patio at the entrance to the main path. Our house used to be a granary, so although it wasn’t an actual mill, this would be a nice nod to its history.
Day 9 and the first of the four beds is completed
Day 9 - First bed layout & stone fully laid
Day 9 - Closeup of an angled basketweave corner - very pleased with how neatly it turned out
Day 9 - my stone planters make a very useful coffee table it seems!
Day 10 - Another bed almost complete - central octagon shape more evident now
Day 10 - Patio level around stone has been raised. Hoping to find a mill stone to set in centre at entrance to main path
Day 11 - View back to house, patio membrane in - more able to imagine it with the gravel in now. Have chosen a small grade Cheshire pink
Day 11 - Exciting moment when I got back from a meeting to see birdbath central feature unpacked from its crate & in place. Absolutely love it!
Day 11 - Closer view of birdbath looking back towards the house. Going to plant a hexagonal chunk of box around it
Result of my internet browsing - my DREAM bench! A 'Moot seat' named after Moot Gardens in the Wiltshire village of Downton as featured in Gertrude Jekyll's 1918 book 'Garden Ornament'. Just one problem, it's over £2,000!
So, it’s going brilliantly – despite typical British summer weather and countrywide rioting! It’s been a challenging week for me and the OH who both work from home, what with (internal) builders constructing a built-in wardrobe & landscaping in the garden – a LOT of tea making and a lot of mud & dust! ‘Lady Grey’ tea for the ‘rather particular’ builders (rolls eyes) and just plain ‘Builders’ Tea’ for the landscapers.
So on with the pictures, which reveal the ‘BIG DECISION’ over the path/bed edging pattern, a load of VERY heavy stone and some ancient Egyptian building techniques. Hope you enjoy!
Day 6 - Setting out of beds & top end of garden cleared ready to take stone
Day 6 - Footings trenches to take large chunks of reclaimed York stone are dug
Day 6 - During trench excavation, an old beam is unearthed, sadly way too rotted to salvage, but an interesting find from our oriiginal Victorian farm building
Day 7 - Exciting moment - the reclaimed York stone arrives! John, the Boss's 2nd in command is now with us, otherwise known as 'Stumpy' after he chopped the end of his finger off with a hedge cutter - wear gloves people!!
Ok Callum, that might not be the BEST place to stand right now!
Ok, just stick it right on that pallet there please Mr Stone Delivery Man!
Yeah, right... well that stuff looks bl**dy heavy, shall we have a tea break & build up some strength ya think?
Day 7 - Well.. if it was good enough for the ancient Egyptians, it's good enough for us. Get that stone on those wooden rollers & move it!
Yo o heave ho... yo o heave ho
Day 7 - Stone laying. Now what was it Archimedes said again?
Stone laying - Calvin Klein or George at Asda? You decide!
Day 8 - Stone now in place and partially cleaned up. Does anybody EVER wear that hard hat?!!
Day 8 - the first bed edge is laid out - and the BIG DECISION is made.... we're going basket weave!!
Progressing well - ahhh lovely membrane to keeps weeds at bay
End of day 8 - 'Still Life - The Essential Landscaper'
This gallery contains 14 photos.
Days 4 and 5 don’t look that exciting – but work is progressing really well. On Monday, Chris, the boss, will be sourcing our large chunks of reclaimed York stone for the patio area near the house, which he’ll clean up by … Continue reading
This gallery contains 24 photos.
Day 2 – Site Cleared & the Site Inspector calls – she approves of unearthed grubs! … Continue reading