I’m quite pleased with our back garden. It could almost be described as a mature, well-maintained garden these days. Quite a garden makeover if you think about what it was like when we first moved here. Essentially it was just a grassy and very uneven field. It then became a building site whilst our house was built and over the years I’ve worked on it to make it what it is now.
There were some hiccups along the way as it was completely dug up to install a septic tank. It was then dug up again to install a soakaway and again to build a conservatory. I seem to remember it being dug up several times to install phone lines and such like too. It seems as though diggers have been regular companions to our garden over the years, but it’s once again looking good.
Gardening in Wales
Gardening here in West Wales is never easy. We have sand rather than soil, we have winds that you won’t believe and salt laden air. On top of that, it’s bone dry in the summer and flooded most of the winter. Getting anything to survive is a success. Getting plants to thrive is unheard of. Unless of course you are talking about horsetails, goose grass, dandelions or stinging nettles, they seem to love it here!
The fact that we now have quite a few larger plants growing, some with quite a bit of height is reason to celebrate. It’s quite funny looking back to photos of it as it developed. Things change over the years and there have been a gradual improvements to the garden, and some set backs. First there were some rudimentary flowers borders and beds installed. Hard ‘landscaping’ has come in the form of a wooden pergola, a slightly raised gravelled seating area, compost bins, sheds, a water feature and fencing.
All the while trees and shrubs have been growing. Some have succumbed to the harsh conditions, others are doing well and becoming established. Bedding plants and flowers come and go but I’ve been working towards having a relatively easy maintenance garden. I quite like working on it, but it’s nice if it can be left to it’s own devices as well. Some years it gets less attention than others so having it too high maintenance isn’t a good thing.
The recent addition of a robot lawn mower and hard landscaped edging will help with this too. Hector is out there keeping the lawn neat and tidy as I write this blog post!
There’s still lots to do of course. I want to add some more colour for a start. The established plants need to be kept under control. The gravel edging needs to be replaced and we need a new bench. Some plants haven’t survived and annuals need replacing all the time. New plants are always nice too and have to be slotted in somewhere. They might not do well here but it’s always worth a try. A garden is never finished of course, it is always a work in progress but things are looking good out the back.
A Front Garden Makeover
The same can’t unfortunately be said for the front garden. I removed the rotten deck last year and since then it has been somewhat neglected. Here’s what it looked like earlier this week.
Not very inspiring, not very attractive and not much use to anyone. 2021 will be the year that this changes! I’ve been saying that every year for ages now but this year really will be the year that we get on top of it.
A New Patio
Top of the list for our garden makeover is to have a patio where the old deck was.
Morgan no longer uses his trampoline that I sunk into the garden about 5 years ago. This had settled in nicely to the garden but is no longer needed. I therefore removed it this week, along with the drainage pipe that I’d installed to prevent the sides of the hole falling in. It had worked well, but has served it’s purpose so has now gone.
The large hole that remains will be the perfect receptacle for the sand that will be dug out in order to lay the patio. Although it would look good as a pond as well!
Next on the list will be to level off the front garden (again using the trampoline hole to accommodate any excess material) and then turf the lawn. We could just seed it as we have done in the past, but some nice new turf will give instant results and hopefully look nice too. The success of the robot lawn mower out the back might mean that we need another for the front garden once that’s been done.
New Fence and Gates
Finally we want to replace the front fence and install some gates too. As you can see, the fence that is there isn’t much of a fence really and there are no gates at the moment. Things have been getting busy along here in the summer months and we have to put up with a steady stream of cars turning around in our drive. I’ve always thought people with ‘No Turning’ signs on their gates were just a little miserable but now that it’s been happening to us I can see why they do it. Hopefully, gates will put a stop to it and also make things feel a little more private too.
I’m hoping to put some bulbs into the lawn alongside the fence. These will probably be crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells to give colour through the late Sinter and Spring. We’ll probably have some planters around the patio as well. probably with bedding flowers and lavenders for the bees in. The border alongside the ugly looking wall will need some attention too but I’m as yet undecided what to do with this. I might just leave the honeysuckle that is already there in place as it does quite a good job of hiding the wall even if it is a little unruly.
I would usually do all of this myself, but as we wanted a professional job done on the patio we’re getting professionals to do it. We’ll get them to re-turf and build the fence while there at it too. It’ll be good to have the front garden looking nice as it’s been due a garden makeover for a while.