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Don't you just love it when a plan comes together!


Ideas can change the world. They don’t need to but they can. It is odd, then, that we don’t celebrate our ideas more often, more openly. Rather, we probably worry that others will think us odd, scorn our insights into something new or changed, better, more colourful, more useful or more eloquent.

Yet we don’t need to try and change the whole world, just our own world perhaps. Just a little bit. And when we do, we must make sure we stand back and look at our achievement and celebrate it none-the-less.

For many years I have made a point of organising things into better systems. Systems that serve me and my family or serve others. It is through doing so and deciding what is best and possible rather than what it usual, normal, predictable, that I have had my best ideas.

Recently, Elaine and I decided that we wanted to change the use of our small front garden. The need to do this was driven by the all too familiar problem of street parking. Many of our neighbours had already converted their front gardens into lock-blocked parking spaces addressing, in their own way, the dilemma of preserving a parking space for themselves at the end of the day.

At first we discussed following suit, but looking at our modest front garden, its dwarf cherry trees, grass and colourful borders, I couldn’t help thinking that there had to be a better option. But being as small a space as it was, what could be done?

First I started by measuring out the space and comparing that to the size of the people carrier we own. Even with its doors open, there was ample space to do more than just pave everything. I was somewhat surprised until I realised that I was assuming that others had cleared their whole garden site on the basis that they actually needed to. Discovering this was not necessary, (for a single large car at least), instantly meant that other options had to be possible.

The plan I came up with and is now implemented has led to a remarkable amount of entirely positive reaction by neighbours and passers by. Recently, a friend, looking out from the living room window across our creation, commented that, of course, our neighbour could not do the same as he didn’t have the same amount of space. I had to point out to her that the space he had was identical to mine. Her confusion was because our front garden now existed in three dimensions. Instead of its previous length and breadth it now had depth, (to the level of the pavement, approx 18") using small retaining walls. It was, as before, a garden with the same dwarf cherry trees, grass and colourful borders, but now had a twin slabbed, (Bradstone Old Town Grey/Green, weathered), area where we could park the car.

As I worked to finish it off, I was both surprised and very pleased by the amount of passers-by, completely unknown to me, who stopped to comment upon how nice it all looked and what a good idea it was!

We are very pleased with the way our idea was made real, to the benefit both of our, (albeit selfish), need for parking but also our desire to keep a garden which we had always loved.

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Well done! I hope other people in the road do something similar - if everyone who wants to pave their garden for parking follows your example, it would lessen flood risks and keep some green and planting space too, to avoid the dreary rows of tarmaced and block-paved front gardens so often seen. Many congratulations - it looks GREAT!

18 Jun, 2008


I agree. You've kept as much green as possible.

18 Jun, 2008


unfortunately most of my front garden is concrete with a tiny patch of earth, i plan on planting as much as poss into this area. you did a brilliant job there

18 Jun, 2008


Very well done and many congratulations- it looks super.

18 Jun, 2008


Your garden looks great, wish more people would do it, instead of all concrete,but i have to admit i've got some of my front gravel, but i have left boarders either side with plants in it mostly for wildlife, and i've got it more or less that i dont have to touch it, still have to water some pot plants & hanging baskets, i've made it like that because im not a front garden person, but can spend hours in my back garden.Although my front garden is nice & tidy.

18 Jun, 2008


I commented on your pic before I realized you had written about it, and I just wanted to say again that it is brilliant, and a testament to your creative abilities. Thinking outside the box can have amazing results.

18 Jun, 2008


Yes me to ,I agree with that

18 Jun, 2008


What a GREAT idea! I have been pondering how to make a drive or permeable parking pad on my front lawn. This is the best solution yet. I hope you do not mind if I borrow your wonderful idea. Keep up the creativity.

19 Jun, 2008


We've got the exact same situation in this area. We're lucky because as there's just the 2 of us at home now we only have one car to park but our drive is looking v. tatty as the tarmac is over 25 years old.
We've already decided that, when we can afford, we'll just have it re-tarmaced with brick edging but won't be following most of our neighbours who've had their whole front gardens paved over.
There are 10 houses on our bit of the road - 5 have completely paved their frontage (one is absolutely huge as it's a corner plot & looks hideous) - 2 have re-tarmaced but used up most of the 'green' bit & 2 of us still have the same lay-out as when the houses were built. When it rains the water sluices off 4 of the drives causing a min-torrent on the road - 1 of the paved drives, however, doesn't because they had the forethought to install draining all along the pavement edge.
Unfortunately, the down-side of not having enough off-road parking is that we block the road causing problems for other's particularly emergency vehicles - aaargh! Nowt's simple!!

13 Jul, 2009

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