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What a Difference!


By samjp


Some of you may remember from my last post that we were having some work done on the back garden. When I say some work I pretty much mean rip it out and start from scratch lol.

The back garden is pretty big (much bigger than I first thought lol). But it was not a nice place to be. There was a horrible breeze block hut right by the utility window, blocking the view and the light, a patio by the house which had been lifted by the mares tail roots, a hedge my dopey other half planted right in front of the kitchen window (around the rotary washing line – which he left in place), a lumpy lawn (well more mares tail than grass) a concrete path which was breaking up with a concrete slab by the garage and a fence which was close to falling down. The photos (below) actually make it look a little nicer than it was.

Well last year I took several months coming up with “the plan”

Which 2 weeks before work was due to start OH suddenly found an opinion so the top patio was altered, to “the plan part 2”

Anyway 17th March the landscapers turn up. 8.15am they are on site with a sledgehammer bashing away at the old breeze block hut until the digger turned up at 9am. 11.30am the digger broke – good start eh – so they got the digger taken away for repairs and packed up until the digger was returned the following day. Still they got a fair bit done:

Day 2, the digger returns and thankfully this time it doesn’t break. Several hours and one rather huge bonfire later we have:

This is a tree (shrub?) that grew between the garage and the concrete path. We can’t remove it without causing damage so I’ve got a new feature. Mom says it looks like a birds head:

Day 3, the pile of rubble is taken away and the fence arrives. I still can’t believe how quickly they got the fence up. It seemed like I’d blinked and 3 panels were in. Oh they also ripped the rest of the old hedge out along our neighbours border. Bit of a last minute decision but none of us really liked it, so we decided to get rid and replace with trellising and lots of climbing plants at a later date. Unfortunately we discovered the neighbours wooden fence posts had rotted. The hedge was pretty much holding the fence up oops.

Day 4, the next “problem”. I’d ordered the path and paving materials after running my choices past the landscapers. Anyway the blocks for edging the path turn up. We’re expecting fairly regular sized blocks (similar to what you’d use for block paving), no more than 20mm difference in sizes. What we got had a range of about 80mm difference in block thickness! What a nightmare. I then spent the morning running round trying to find a replacement. Thankfully a local place had something that would work in stock and agreed to deliver the next day (even better – it worked out cheaper). Unfortunately the original supplier couldn’t collect until Monday and the crate with the original blocks in was on top of a crate of pavers (cue very tired arms on Saturday as I moved them all from one crate to another – all 340 of them). Anyway they finished off the fence (most of it and started laying the top patio. I didn’t take any pictures as I was trapped in the house – daren’t step on the freshly laid pavers.

Day 5, they finished off the top patio and laid most of the patio by the garage and put the rest of the fence and gate up. Again I didn’t take photos as I was still trapped in the house (and too lazy to walk the long way round lol).

Day 6 (Saturday) OH and I went out (the long way) to start shifting the big pile of old hedge. Since it was a last minute decision I’d said we’d dispose of it, if they would rip it out (far easier with a digger). 2 trips to the tip with 2 cars later, we’d got rid of most of it. This time I took a few photos before we packed up.

Day 7 (Monday), the landscapers came back and finished laying the patio by the garage, cut the patio by the house to shape and laid most of the path (leaving themselves enough space to get the wheelbarrow in and out).

Day 8, I really felt sorry for the landscapers as we had torrential rain all day. By the time I left the garden was looking decidedly soggy. Still they soldiered on through the rain and finished up the hard landscaping (cut the patio by the garage to shape, laid edging stones and finished the path). The only photo I took was through the upstairs window before I went to work the following morning – it was still raining and far too soggy to walk down the garden.

This weekend OH and I have worked rather hard, removing the roots of the hedge, taking the last bit of hedge to the tip, laying edging stones and gravel along the patio by the house and putting in a step by the back gate. I’ve also spent several hours digging out the bit of border by the garage and top patio, removing a lot of weed roots and incorporating a fair amount of farmyard manure. I also started digging the border where were going to put a rockery (stones being delivered next week). My word is it tough there. Very stony, couple of fairly big rocks, and very gritty soil (mostly thanks to the 2 inches of hardcore compacted on top of the soil). Still got loads of work to do there before we put the rocks in place.

Looking from the gate towards the house:

The border by the garage I’ve worked on for several hours today:

Patio by the garage:

Border where we’ll put the rockery (part shade – as is most of the garden)

Patio by the house with its new edging:

And a small selection of the roots I’ve pulled out today:

There’s still a huge amount of work to do, but I’ve enjoyed myself this weekend (ok not so much with laying bricks lol). Even the back breaking digging has been good to do. Can’t wait till I can start planting now :-)

More blog posts by samjp

Previous post: I'm all excited now

Next post: The Rockery



what a transformation, you will have to post pics once it is all planted up nicely!

30 Mar, 2014


it looks so much bigger! Don't go to sleep at work this week - you must be exhausted!

30 Mar, 2014


It does look bigger now, best bit still to come, have you decided what you are planting Sam????

30 Mar, 2014


That was a lot of hard work, but it all paid off in the end.

Just wait for the aching muscles.

31 Mar, 2014


All in one day??!!! wow, you must be exhausted! it looks a zillion percent better, well done you!

it[s going to be glorious, and we'll wait with bated breath for each nrew update.

Oh, you must be so pleased!!!

31 Mar, 2014


Thanks Sarah. Lol be careful what you wish for - I'm a tad snap happy and more than happy to share :-)

It does look huge now stera, I hadn't realised just how big the garden was. Lol I am a tad sleepy and achy. Only worked half a day today - did the shopping, just finished cleaning the house. Still got a mountain of ironing though :-(. Still working from home tomorrow so I can have a lie in :-)

Thanks lincs. can't wait to get planting. Im not sure what I'm planting yet. Planning a white theme for at the side of the garage - thinking a few ferny things, maybe white foxgloves, Lilly of the valley. Other than the rockery no idea what I'm going to do in the rest. Would love a prunus and or Japanese acer though. I've started a few things from seed - sweet peas are already looking great.

Thanks Alex. Lol no waiting on the aching muscles front. I'm ok till I sit down too long, then I seize up again lol.

Thanks Fran, yep pleased as punch :-). We did all that work over 2 days. May have got more done but had to pop up to stoke. Hope your right on the glorious front.

I've just skimmed through the before pictures. It's already hard to believe it looked like that.

31 Mar, 2014


lol it's so therapeutic to look though old photos of eyesores - then look around you and realise anew just how far you've come!

31 Mar, 2014


I'm sure you'll be sitting on that patio giving both of you a huge part on the back in the summer. Well done, you've planned the area well and I agree it looks so much bigger.

31 Mar, 2014


It is really therapeutic isn't it Fran. Such a great feeling when you realise just how much of a difference you've made. Even better when you can see your plans coming together :-)

Thanks Scottish, I'm very much looking forward to that day. New table and chairs being delivered Thursday morning so we could do the sitting down thing very soon lol - roll on summer :-)

1 Apr, 2014


lol inspires me to have another go at Sketchup!

1 Apr, 2014


Go for it Fran. Its much easier than moving things around in the garden. Feel free to yell if your struggling with the programme, I'm happy to help (however I can).

Well my "spare" ton of gravel has now been swapped for a crate of rockery stones (plum slate). Fingers crossed the rain goes away this weekend so I can play :-)

2 Apr, 2014


WOW....It is going to look amazing!

2 Apr, 2014


Thanks Michaella, I certainly hope so. Welcome to GoY.

2 Apr, 2014


thanks for the encouratement, Sam. lol, you might be sorry you said that ...

the slate sounds terrific. are pics yo yet, or will you do a blog to show progress?

2 Apr, 2014


The slate pieces are gorgeous. Not too huge either so OH can pick them up :-)

Not taken any photos yet - work keeps getting in the way of gardening (its not good you know lol). I'll definitely take photos though. I'll probably post a blog of the progress, I quite like being able to look back and see it all take shape in one place (that and it helps me remember what the heck I did lol).

Fingers crossed it'll stay dry on Saturday and I can get out again. Wont be able to do much Sunday, OH's parents are coming for dinner.

2 Apr, 2014


lol I await the results with moderate impatience!

2 Apr, 2014


Lol you and me both.

OH has just said he would dig some of the rockery border tomorrow if it's dry. That is until I told him I'd started digging it in the middle (couldn't get the fork in the end it was so solid) lol. Apparently I've made things really difficult. He doesn't want to redig it (even though it probably needs another going over to get out the weeds). Can't be too upset with him, I know he'll be hit and miss at best getting the weed roots out.

3 Apr, 2014


That's just amazing Sam . . . give yourselves a huge round of applause! Lots of luck with the planting - that'll be the fun bit :)

3 Apr, 2014


Thanks Sheila. Can hardly wait to get planting. Ground needs a fair bit of work first though. Now if it would just stop raining .... Lol

5 Apr, 2014


What a huge difference to your garden already Sam - looking good even before you've planted anything! Easter break will include more hard work in the garden I guess! :o)

17 Apr, 2014


Thanks Shirley.

Boy yes a lot more hard work. So far we've built a rockery and started digging the lawn area. It's hard going though, there's masses of mares tail roots (removing as much as we can) and the soil surface is like cement it's that hard.

Plus point I've spent a couple hours today pricking out seedlings and planting a few more seeds - far more fun than digging tough ground lol.

17 Apr, 2014


I agree Sam, it's good to change round what you're doing and you'll get there in the end! We have an on-going project involving lots of moving of shrubs, but more of that later ... :o)

17 Apr, 2014


Helps to renew the enthusiasm doesn't it. I'd got so fed up with digging the other day having a break did the world of good. Gave my arms a break and was much happier when I went back out today.

Yeah we'll get there eventually, I just keep picturing it with grass and flowers - helps to keep me going.

Oooh sounds like you've been busy. I'll look forward to seeing all these changes.

18 Apr, 2014



23 Apr, 2014

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