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Front Garden Facelift

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At the start of September, I decided that if I worked very hard, I could fit in one more major gardening project before the winter weather arrived.

In my front garden, the robin watched my activity with curiosity, from his perch up in the Miyako tree …

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Over the past couple of years, my two small front lawn areas had become choked with a tight, low-growing weed. It was one of many reasons which made me decide to take away the lawns.

Last year, my neighbour had disposed of her grass by hiring a man with a huge machine. I didn’t have the funds for that, but I reckoned, with time and application, I could use my trowel and fork to remove my grass.

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My plan was to do the makeover by recycling as much as possible. The patterned pavings were old, used ones I’d had free, and I’d stored for some years.

So I smashed most of them into smaller pieces, ready for a stepping stone design …

… and, in truth, another reason I decided to break them was because I struggled to lift the heavy, unbroken, whole pavings.

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These heathers were flowering alongside where I was gardening. I was delighted by the mix of shades in the one pot … mother nature makes colours work well together in ways we can’t envisage …

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The lawn nearer to the drive contained one patch of weed-free grass, so I dug up the best areas of turf and moved them to the back garden where a section of lawn needed replacing …

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These transferred turfs are a bit of a patchwork, but I’ll see how they look after a winter of settling in …

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In the front garden, I placed the pavings on the bare earth as quickly as possible, to deter the neighbourhood felines …

… they’d decided my efforts of exposing loose soil were exclusively to provide them with a giant cat loo …

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The robin had his own ideas about my new design … he was impressed …the pavings were spaced apart ideally … for perching-places to spy on worms.

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Sometimes the robin couldn’t wait, and he hopped down, moving in under my feet, very close to the trowel action …

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Next was the Bee and Kew challenge …

… in my recent blogs I described my antics in Bee and Kew car park, sawing up long pieces of timber, so that they would fit into my little turquoise car …

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My front garden project was on a low budget, but I did need to buy some sacks of stones to complete my design.

But I can’t lift the filled sacks, so I split each sack while it sat on my trolley in the Bee and Kew car park …

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… and I put half of each bag into old empty paint drums for the journey home.


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My car felt much heavier than usual, but luckily my dogs volunteered to accompany me on our shopping trip, to act as ballast and keep my car evenly balanced.

Truffle was especially chuffed to have been so useful, and that very morning, he’d even offered to eat extra breakfast, to add weight to the experiment.

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My design began to take shape .. I like rocks and stones, and I was having fun.

To be honest I was making it up as I went along …

… and the local cats disappeared as if by magic …

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I continued to economise by splitting plants I already had growing around my gardens, and putting them between the broken pavings.

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The ‘White Water’ side almost sorted out … it was time to do more work on the ‘Black Rock’ side …

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Each day, when the postman walked down my path, he noticed more of my cobble jigsaw completed, and he always offered encouraging comments …

… in fact he became expert at negotiating the obstacle course … leaping over my tools, gloves and buckets …

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Here’s a plant I bought back in April at a village fΓͺte.
I think it is a perennial veronica ? Earlier this year, it had one tall flower spike …

… any way, it has put on lots of new leaf growth since then, so I split it and planted half on each side of the front garden.

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The plant shown below, I put on GoY as a question.
It was one of several small plants and herbs I bought recently to complete the ‘Black Rock’ side of the planting.

Clever Annella knew the name of the plant :

Chaenorhinum origanifolium Blue Dream … now why didn’t I know that ? Trips off the tongue so easily ;o)

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I placed the black cauldron almost in the centre of the Black Rock side. It’s a family heirloom, inherited from my mother … now full of houseleeks from my back garden pots.

The veronica and the Chaenorhinum origanifolium Blue Dream are both planted near the cauldron.

I’m fascinated how the dark rocks change colour when wet. In this pic. the dark rocks are dry and they look a bluey grey shade…

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In this pic. the dark rocks are wet and transform to jet black !

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So, the initial phase of the face lift is complete.

I realise I’ll probably be contending with fallen leaves, weeds and wormcasts among the stones, but I’m looking forward to seeing which of the new plantings survive the winter …

… and it’s far more interesting than worrying about two weed-ridden areas of lawn …

One or two plants are already trying to bloom … I’ve told them … wait … you’re not supposed to flower till next year !

The winter skies are approaching. I have more ideas, for the White Water side and Black Rock side, but they must wait till springtime.

Over the next few weeks I have several different challenges to deal with, but I’ll try to be back on GoY more often from mid-November onwards.

… and thanks to my wonderful NHS physio lady JOANNE … without whom none of this would have been possible !!!

More blog posts by terratoonie

Previous post: Green and CHILLED

Next post: JEWELS ..... between rocks and hard places



Comments

 

Excellent TT verΕ· effective.

13 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Kath... thank you :o)

13 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Tt, I have too much grass as well, I won't call it a lawn, but unfortunately the garden is on quite a steep slope, so if I were to make more flower beds,{ which I don't have the time to do,} they would have to be terraced, which turns it into a much bigger job, so I'll just have to put up with the grass, Derek.

13 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Steve ..
thanks ... Monty Don did offer to help out, but had to stop when his Golden Retriever, Nigel, kept retrieving all the cobbles xxx

13 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Derek ..
I understand your dilemma .. I hummed and haaaed about taking away my grass, and I'm sure if the areas had been steep slopes, it would have been a more difficult decision.

13 Oct, 2014

 

Congratulation, Terra. It looks like a very practical intervention into the garden. Now you can pick flowers, herbs without stepping on them. Hwever - how is your back now? I am afraid, this waits for me, too. Either next week or next spring. I am curious, if you put something under those broken pavings - either layer of sand or layer from the small stones? I was said it is important for stability of each stone in the path.

13 Oct, 2014

 

Hello Kat ... thanks ..
My physio exercises have helped a lot with my back and shoulder pains. I would very much recommend exercises to anyone with similar problems.

The broken pavings have only loose soil under them, but it is fine soil, without lumps or stones, so the pavings don't wobble too much, and I can move a paving or some rocks if necessary.

13 Oct, 2014

 

What a transformation Terra.and a vast improvement on rubbish weedy grass :o)I love your curved design and how the stones change colour with the weather..So glad at last,you are feeling so much better with the Physio..it's been a long slow haul,but you made it :o) and all the help from Conker and Truffle has been very well received too ! I hope your better health continues ..well done :o) xx

13 Oct, 2014

 

Hpw clever TT I did not realise you had such an enormous front garden, it looks smashing in more ways than one lol love the bee and Kew challenge, where theres a will!!
Hope your back continues to improve, look forward to seeing more of your garden makeovers, heres power to your elbow xx

13 Oct, 2014

 

That is brilliant and so interesting. I am impressed- landscape designer Terratoonie.
All the best.

13 Oct, 2014

 

A super result TT what a transformation, so pleased you were able to tackle such a big job after physio Joanne's expert help, I bet Conker and Truffle love helping you at Bee and Kew - such fun on your trips xxxx

13 Oct, 2014

 

I am ever so impressed with your determination as much as with the results Terra. When you said you used a trowel and a fork to lift the turf I as full of dread at the thought of it. As you know, I am also a practised turf lifter, but I have a half moon edging tool and a husband with a spade to help a bit! :)) well done indeed! :)) the thought of splitting those bags of rocks up......:/

14 Oct, 2014

 

I have to admit that I wasn't sure about the lawns going completely because I have always loved the spring time photos of your front garden Terra but I really like it. The planting will look lovely next year. Also those back lawn patches will take by next spring, I often cut and turn turf to repair my lawn edges then add a little bit of seed to blend it in :o)xxxxx

14 Oct, 2014

 

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Gold Stars for Team Terra 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Such brilliant work and eye for colour and shape, especially the ever changing stone three cheers πŸ™Œ

14 Oct, 2014

 

Its good to hear the physio has helped such a lot. I wonder what she would think about what you've achieved in your garden? How you moved those neat turfs with a trowel and fork is beyond me to imagine - its an amazing achievement, even with the robin helping. The boys didn't seem to have made much of a contribution this time except with the transport but after all breaking and carting pavers and stones in your mouth is a bit too much to ask...perhaps they were part of the design team?

14 Oct, 2014

 

Thanks Sandra, Dotty, Klahanie and Neena ...
I seem to have been working non-stop during 2014, so I'm glad my aches and pains have improved and now are mainly staying away. xxx

Thank you Karen ...
There's only me to do all the tasks, so I find ways of doing these things ... even if sometimes rather unorthodox !

Annie, I had the same thoughts as you about how my garden would look in springtime, but, amongst the rocks, I've put in quite a lot of split plants from around my gardens, and bought a few little new ones, so I hope it will look okay. Thanks for the encouragement about the turf. I think my back lawns might need a bit more improvement next year. xxxxx

Hi Pam ... I'm really glad you like the black rocks ... and thanks for so many stars ! xxx

Hello Stera ...
Conker and Truffle worked hard on the eating challenge to ensure they weren't underweight when it came to acting as ballast in the car to balance out those sacks of stones.

I told Joanne the physio lady all about my work on the dog run fencing and gates, and she knew I was planning to tackle another garden project ...
....she did warn me not to try to do too much too soon, but once I get stuck into a project I sort of forget advice about taking it easy ... however, I'm very good at stopping every so often to do my exercises !

14 Oct, 2014

 

Your hard work and imagination are incredible, Terra, and the results are stunning! I love stones too, and just love the different sizes and colours that you've used to make a coherent design . . . well done you, and so much prettier and more satisfying to look at than lawns which need weeding :))

14 Oct, 2014

bjs
Bjs
 

Snoopdog I have never seen Monty Don make anything that approaches that good ,well done Terra

14 Oct, 2014

 

Thanks Sheila ...
Stones and rocks are lovely to look at, aren't they ... very interesting shapes and colours. When I started digging up the turfs with my little trowel, I thought 'What am I doing? No going back now !' ... Lol... but I'm pleased.

Hi Brian, thank you !
I'm already having fun, checking the growing progress of the plants.. Your fern is in there, with lots of baby ferns growing along the stem.. It spent its first couple of years in a pot in my kitchen !

14 Oct, 2014

 

Oh Terra, I love the idea of stopping hard work to do exercises...

14 Oct, 2014

 

Lol. Stera ...
.. and, amazingly, quite simple exercises take away the pain ... must be good !

14 Oct, 2014

 

Hello TT :) That's a job well done !

It looks more interesting now :o)

14 Oct, 2014

 

Hello Hywel ...
thanks ... and I no longer need to march the mower around to the front garden :o)

14 Oct, 2014

 

Terra, you are the perfect example of ' Where there's a will there's a way!'

It was fascinating to share the progress of what you were up to and how lovely it all looks now.

No more worries about when to do the mowing next either!

14 Oct, 2014

 

Terra I'm delighted to see you back in action again, I also chuckled at you doing your exercises between all the hard graft, as has already been said "where there's a will etc...."
Isn't it good to have willing helpers, all three of yours look happy and well fed, bet robin was the only one helping with the digging though, lol.. it looks great Terra, you've certainly had a busy summer........

14 Oct, 2014

 

I love what you have done here Tt. Especially the white water side. They are both so much better than grassed. This is a lovely blog. Saved to favs to read again.

15 Oct, 2014

 

Well done TT! I bet you had a great time at Bee & Kew... It's simply amazing what you can do with a few empty paint pots! I have had lots of fun in my Baby Rover car with Banana Boxes picked up from our local big yellow M store - They are worth their weight in gold...! :D

15 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Chris ...
I agree about the mower ... Now I mow just the back lawns ... near to where the mower lives ! Much easier.

Thanks Sue ...
It's been a non-stop year, and I can't see things slowing down till about mid-November !

Hello Avis ...
Thanks for looking in on my blog. x

Thank you, Homebird ...
The White Water side gets more shade in the winter, so I thought that should be the bright side. Over time, the weather will dull the brightness of the white somewhat. I have plans to do more to the whole area next year.

Thanks Tracey ...
Yes, I have banana boxes in my car as well ... great for transporting a wide variety of items !

15 Oct, 2014

 

Well TT they say a change is as good as a rest and your blog has made me smile because you have worked hard replacing your lawn with paving and cobbles while I have worked hard replacing the crazy paving and slate in my front garden with turf.
I love how you have complimented the sunny side and the shade side with different colour cobles and look forward to seeing how the new planting looks come the spring.

15 Oct, 2014

 

I just love it, well done you and friends

15 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Stroller ...
It is nice to change things around isn't it ...
... yes I wonder how our front gardens will look in the springtime ...

Thanks Aquilegia ...
Today I added just a few more little plants.

15 Oct, 2014

 

Looks fantastic Terra. It is fun to be so creative in the garden.

16 Oct, 2014

 

Magnificent blog & work! You do yourself proud! I really like the look of those stones changing colour! You'll have some "entertainment" now when it rains! LOL!

16 Oct, 2014

 

Congratulations on your front garden make-over Terra ... and also to your ingenuity for transporting the stones back in the car! As for lifting the turf with a fork and trowel ... must have been such hard work for you. Thank goodness for Joanne and the physiotherapy! I don't miss my little two squares of lawn in the front at all ... no more dragging the mower round ... hooray! Take care and don't overdo things. :o)

17 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Linda ..
I'm pleased you like this... it is still a work in progress !

Thanks Balcony ... the black rocks are indeed fascinating ... when it rains they change colour very quickly !

Hi Shirley ..
thank you ... in my little car, I'm finding ways of transporting all kinds of odd-shaped or heavy items ... and my dogs are always delighted to come along and help. :o)

17 Oct, 2014

 

WOW! i really appreciate the new design of your garden Terra, it is very modern and spectacular, love all the details you have done in your garden.Combination of Rocks and Stones is perfect ! Love it !
Really impress of Truffles being obedient, xxx
I think you have a large garden, Terra ...

22 Oct, 2014

 

Hello Junna
Many thanks for such lovely comments ...
Truffle was fidgety ... Lol ...
he didn't really want to sit still for the photo. xxx

22 Oct, 2014

 

So pleased your physio lady has helped sort you out, TT but also that you are taking breaks between your jobs. You've certainly made a good job of your front garden. Getting rid of grass is not an easy task and I speak from experience - mine has all gone from the back garden now!
I had to laugh at the image of your postie leaping over your tools, etc :)

23 Oct, 2014

 

Thanks Gee ...
yes, the grass removal was a challenge .. last year I couldn't even use the trowel at all without pain, so Joanne gave me very good advice indeed, and such simple, easy exercises to sort things out ..

My Postie has applied to enter the next Wellie Olympics in the Garden Tool Vaulting event ;o)

23 Oct, 2014

 

I had to come back to this, TT, as I couldn't remember exactly what you had replaced the grass with! Must be my age!! I still have all the turf sitting in old dustbins waiting to rot down - it seems to be taking a time.

7 Dec, 2014

 

Hi Gee..
more pics of the front garden on 29th Oct blog JEWELS.

I had nowhere to store my old turfs, and also I knew they were full of weed seeds so they went for recycling !

7 Dec, 2014

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