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Clearing and Planning The Garden.

Initially, the garden at the back of the Bungalow that I recently moved into was a simple square some 40 feet each way. It was surrounded on 3 sides by a lot of conifers around a central square that was covered in heavy duty landscape material and 6 inches of gravel where a lawn must have been. The  material and gravel went neatly over the whole garden - even under and around the Conifers at the sides! The only place it didn't cover was underneath the many slabs!

Before I could start on the Garden the first job was to empty my garage of plants to clear the way so I could get get wheelbarrows through from the back garden to the front. The plants included several large Citrus trees and Bananas that were there sheltering from the Winter. By this time I had decided not to install a new Greenhouse in the garden, so as the Oranges and Lemons, etc still needed protection, I donated them to the Charity where I work knowing that they could safely keep them in their large greenhouses until the bad weather of our late spring was over. After this was done it meant that I could call the team in from work to get started on the back garden.

I drew up an ambitious plan of what I was going to do with the garden when it was all cleared and that was to make lots of raised beds. Initially, I thought of using Gravel Boards to edge them with as I did on my Allotment, but I soon realised that they would look out of place in a garden. At work we had had a delivery of lots of long, straight, thin logs that were basically unused Pit Props which had been used for some event on the Chase. I thought that these would look good and give a natural yet decorative feel to the garden. The paths between the beds were going to be slabs, but again I realised this wasn't a good idea as they would get slippery in the Winter and as the garden is on a slope this just wasn't sensible. So, instead I chose to make the paths out of Wood Chip. The more, or less square central patch would be divided diagonally into 4 Triangles that would then be planted up with some Herbaceous plants from work along with a few that I brought with me from my previous house and quite a few of the trees and bushes that had been stored up on my Allotments. These included a couple of Figs, a Red Hazel, Golden Yew, Palm, etc. The Deciduous fruit trees would basically replace the conifers and they would be under-planted with bulbs for a bit of colour. Then, flowerbeds would go in the middle of the garden. 


Anyway, the team from the charity where I work  came in their little lorry and got busy barrowing the Gravel away and taking it back with them to work to be used on various jobs there including a standing area where I had been putting my tree seedlings. When the lads came they didn't come empty handed because they brought the logs with them that were to edge my new beds. 

These are a few pictures of a "Before and After," view of my new garden. The first does not really show the full extent of the gravel before the team from work had started to remove it, but I have pretty much done the rest of the work myself with a little help from an elderly friend.



After the gravel had been removed the next job was to dig a drainage Trench that I then used to bury all of the assorted broken Rubble in. The idea of this was that the water would naturally drain down the slope to the bottom of the garden ending up in the trench instead of on my yard. 


The soil that was dug out from the trench was thrown back and used to part fill the new beds. It was very poor quality and compacted looking as though it had never been turned since the house was built some 40 odd years ago. However,
I mixed into it 16 Bags of Bonfire Ash from work. Also I dug in 15 large bags of Composted Bark Chips and 15 small bags of Horse Manure! It might not make a nice Cake, but I am hoping that it makes a good mixture for the Plants! It certainly built up the level in the beds.

I delayed putting wood Chip on the Paths until I had got a bit more of it sorted because of spoiling the Wood Chip by walking mud onto it when I was digging.

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