Getting Carried Away in the Garden

I got a little carried away in the garden on Saturday. I only popped out there to take look. Before I knew it I was deep into DIY which spiralled out of control. So, I spent pretty much all day out there!

Electricity in the garden

It all started because the electrical sockets that we have in the garden need replacing. Ian, an electrician friend of mine will be coming to do that soon. Before he can do it he wanted some new posts to mount the sockets on. I therefore need to sort this out before he arrives.

It wasn’t a major DIY project, just a couple of posts with another piece of wood attached to them. However, I didn’t have any suitable posts lying around so I decided to salvage some from the pergola.

Pergola Replacement

The pergola had been standing proud ever since I built it out of bits of leftover wood back in 2008. The photo in that blog post makes me laugh as things have changed quite bit in the garden since then!

However, the years had taken their toll and the pergola now needed replacing. I’d already ordered one in fact but hadn’t planned on removing the existing one until it arrived. The need of wood for the socket installations changed that so I decided to dismantle the pergola.

Although it was falling down it was also fairly well fixed in place. The large Solanum and the tangle of Sweet Peas were both holding it up and knocking it over simultaneously. The weight of the Solanum was pushing the pergola over. The tangle of branches was also holding it all together. When I finally got it down, the Solanum fell over and the sweet peas collapsed into a heap.

Over Engineered

With the wood freed I quickly made a rather rustic home for the new electricity sockets. With the three inch posts sunk about 60cm into the ground and a big bit of timber between them it’s probably a little over-engineered. I even added a cover to protect the sockets from the elements a little. I was going to put side on it and cover it with some roofing felt but thought that might be over-kill. The sockets are designed to be outside anyway.

Garden Sockets

All Ian will need to do is remove the old sockets, install new ones and wiring them up to the existing cables. Once the old ones are removed the the rotten posts they are attached to have gone, the new woodwork can even be sunk a little further into the ground if needed.

The rest of the wood from the pergola was either stored, chopped up for burning or used for the next job of the day – namely trying to keep the Solanum upright until the wood for the new pergola arrives.

Securing Shrubbery

The Solanum was surprisingly large and surprisingly heavy to man-handle. Having been attached to the pergola all of its life it had no support of its own and simply fell over once the pergola was removed. The next part of the day was therefore taken up by sinking several large posts into the ground. These were salvaged from the pergola. The Solanum was then secured to them with roof-rack straps and it was once again standing tall. In fact, I might even leave it attached to these rather than attaching it to the new pergola. This all took a lot longer than expected and was pretty hot work.

Space for the new pergola
Space for the new pergola

Spiralling Garden Chores

All of this was of course interspersed with plenty of other garden chores. You know how it is…. You go to store some wood behind the shed only to find that it is a little overgrown with brambles and other weeds. This means that everything from behind the shed needs to come out needs to be cleared before you can store the timber there. Next you go to put all of the weeds from behind the shed into the compost bin only to find that it is full so some rearranging of compost is needed. Of course, before you can do that you need to cut back the willow that is overhanging the compost bin. And so it goes, every ‘little’ job leads to several slightly bigger jobs and before you know it you’ve been in the garden for most of the day.

Fireside in the Garden

I did sit down for a drink at one point though and started to burn some of the wood from the pergola as well. It’s not the most efficient way to burn large quantities of wood, but the old stove that I’ve installed in the garden did the trick and it looks nice whilst doing it’s thing as well. Of course this did mean lots of time with the saw to get the wood small enough to fit into the stove!

Wood Burning Stove in the Garden
Wood Burning Stove in the Garden

By the end of the day things were under control. The pergola had gone, there was a new location for the sockets and the garden was relatively tidy. When the new pergola arrives I’ll no doubt have to cut things back a little further in order to install. Hopefully the Solanum will remain upright whilst doing so. Elsewhere in the garden things were looking pretty colourful if a little over-grown here and there. Considering how difficult it to get things to grow here, the garden is looking quite mature these days.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.