May we introduce…The Garden of Doom…!

June 30, 2009

Now the house is pretty much done (apart from the very long to-do list of “bits and bobs”), and the summer has arrived, we’ve well and truly cracked on with the garden.  You probably will have got the general idea, from previous posts, that our garden is about as big a job as the house, so in the past couple of weeks we’ve got well stuck in – driven at least partly by the fact that it’s Beth’s hen do on the 11th and she’s supposed to be having people round for a BBQ…..six months ago when she was organising it, she assumed that the garden would basically be done by now…!  Hahahahahahahahaha.

One of the main jobs that needed doing was to fence off a useless portion of the driveway, to incorporate into the garden, enabling us to move the shed (well, position a new shed), and create a decking area/patio where the old shed was.  This makes the garden even bigger!  Last week we organised a very reliable man to come and do us a lovely new close-boarded fence (11 awkward metres for £600, if you’re interested), the only catch being that he couldn’t do it for several weeks.  Then we got a phone call at the end of the week saying that he’d be round on Monday, if that was ok with us…well, we couldn’t refuse, but unfortunately it meant an EXTREMELY busy weekend for us, preparing for his arrival.  We had to remove the old shed, remove a wall, cut a hole in another (retaining) wall for the new gate, break up another load of concrete, and dig out  about 3 cubic metres of soil from behind the retaining wall.

Luckily for us, Beth’s Dad and his friend Ade came round one evening during the week and knocked down the old shed – apparently it didn’t take much, if you’ve seen the photo in one of the first posts, you’ll see why!  We didn’t get a chance to take an up-to-date photo before that happened, but here’s a photo of our garden, looking towards the driveway and road, at the start of the weekend:


The pallet of wood in the foreground is the new shed, and the gap behind is where the old shed used to be.

Here’s a view from the other direction, looking into the garden from the road:


The men in action smashing things!  (Beth would like to point out that she did at least her fair share of the heavy work – and has the done-in back to prove it – but it so happens that she took all the photos so isn’t in any of them!)


We worked from 8am until 10pm on Saturday, with just a 2 hr break in the evening to watch the tennis.  Then we worked from 7.30am until 7pm on Sunday, without stopping.  Needless to say, we were both cream-crackered!

Here’s some photos showing our progress:


Fence panel and wall gone!  We were supposed to cut a neat 3′ gap in the wall, but it literally fell apart so we ended up just knocking it down altogether in the end.  You can just about see the beginnings of some steps and a path inside where the gate is going.  Behind the bit of chipboard, next to the steps, there’s a new low retaining wall, which forms the “terracing” to take the ground down to driveway level.


Wall gone!  That’s where the old back gate was, and where the new shed will sit, with the fence going alongside the pavement then turning back towards the garden roughly where the wheelie bins are…does that make sense?!


Skip nearly full!  Yes, we succumbed, and hired a skip – given the circumstances and the amount of rubble we had to get rid of, we realised we’d be going backwards and forwards to the tip for the next decade!  It cost £100 for a 4 yard skip, rubble only.  Incidentally, in the background, looking towards the “side garden” you can see that the ground is all levelled out, the mound of earth is gone, and most excitingly, the three huge tree stumps are gone – good work David and Marc!  🙂

So, here’s a photo from Monday night, showing Don the Fence Man’s progress:


Right-hand post is fixed to the existing wall post, as it’s directly above the water main.  The other 3 posts are all concreted in.  He stopped at that point as he needed to speak to us about what to do with the post/fence next to the garage.  The original plan had been to run the fence up along the top of the retaining wall, concreting the posts into the ground behind the retaining wall.  Unfortunately as the wall had fallen down, and the soil behind fallen with it, there was nowhere for the posts to go!  Lots of confusion with levels, lengths of boards and heights of gravel boards ensued, but he got it sorted in the end and was happy to continue on Tuesday (today) – here’s a photo from this evening:


Hopefully you now can see what we’re intending to do!  The new gate will go between the 2nd and 3rd posts in from the left hand side.  The decking will be where the new shed (still on the pallet) is currently sitting, and will be nicely hidden out of sight from the road.  What you can’t really see in any of these photos is that we’ve built a new, low retaining wall out of blocks up at the back of the garden, to form terracing and therefore level out the slope.  It handily also used up most of the soil that we dug out!

So, that’s you all up to speed now!  More photos to follow – hopefully the fence will be finished tomorrow so we’ll try to update the blog again very soon.