My main focus with this garden makeover is that it costs as little as possible and where possible I want to use existing materials. I do not want to buy materials in!
I'm quite lucky because I've hoarded plenty of stuff, we recently aquired 50 or so wooden railway sleepers in varying sizes, we have a huge heap of old stone from the demolished part of the house and we have heaps of old slate, ideal for shovelling into Mr TGs mixer after smashing them to pieces to get the rounder, softer edges.
I have to admit that once I went out there with spade and shovel in hand I became quite overwhelmed with the challenge I had set myself - my plan includes alot of those heavy sleepers and stone!
Once again Mr TG came to the rescue and got me started, in fact what he did in just a couple of hours would have taken me all week but it means I can see where it's going and I suddenly don't feel so overwhelmed by it all.
Here's the first area he started at. The right hand side of the photo needed sleepers bedded down and all those stones & gravel removed to create flower beds.
Crikey I wouldn't even have bothered with a string line, I'd have gone by eye. I am such a lazy gardener!
It really didn't take him long at all to get those first few sleepers in for me and now I can begin to clear the stones etc on the right. There is quite a large area you can't see to the right of the image and it's going to house a large pond which will sit one sleeper higher than the edging sleepers and there will also be a patio area (as it's a sun trap) which will be slighter higher than the pond so that the garden, pond and patio will essentially be 3 levels. Make sense?
Initially I hadn't intended to have a pond here as we have a mini lake round near the polytunnel but we want to get some more Koi and although they thrived for many years in the mini lake an Otter family moved in to the coast just down the road and every other year when the youngsters move away to find their own territory they eat all our fish en route. It took us several years, several stock replenishments and one encounter with an Otter outside this year to realise what was happening.
I also laughed at Mr TG's idea of a patio in that sunny area too because I've always moaned that I needed to plant some of my more tender plants in that area but never could because the house render isn't finished. But the area IS a suntrap as it faces south (Yup I have a lovely South facing garden) and I do find myself sitting there in the summer so in my cunning new plan I have included a patio there but still have loads of planting space for my sun loving plants.
The walkway between the sleepers will eventually have a pergola and climbing Roses.
A view from our bedroom upstairs. The lines to the sleepers that create beds going into the garden are not quite perfect but surprisingly it doesn't bother me. It will be invisible anyway by the time I've crammed plants in. I deliberately chose to have the beds at different lengths too because I didn't want a central walkway going into the next area of the garden.
The area to the bottom of the photo goes back much further than you can see and is where the pond and patio will go
I have ALOT of stone clearing to do before the ground is anywhere near suitable for plants plus Mr TG has to protect those drains first.
But first I have to continue with setting in sleepers for beds (or re-setting as the case is in some places) and if you imagine you're standing in the new area where I said I was building a pergola THIS is what you're faced with
Not pretty is it! And my plan had to incorporate both of the aviaries even though they're due for rebuilding.
All the sleepers have to come out and be re-set and most of the plants on the right hand side will be coming out so that the ground there can be improved (it's simply full of Aquilegia) and those washing posts have to be set elsewhere.
Plus all the exposed fencing (this view shows the North/East direction) has to be sheltered in some way because those winds rip through my plants.
A few years ago I would have said that I could get this pretty much finished in 6 months but I'm not quite so nimble as I once was and am packing a few extra pounds too so realistically I haven't set myself a time scale - it takes as long as it takes. I can't devote all of my time to it because I have other areas of the land that need attention too such as the greenhouse and veg beds.
It's certainly a project though!