This garden has been in the same family for decades and was serving as little more than an outdoor space in which to hang the washing. A great deal needed to be done and the owner felt overwhelmed by the task. The primary request was for a new path as the existing one was tricky to walk on. The shed had to go before it fell down and the aim was to ensure that the owner would be able to see the garden from the comfort of an armchair which faces out the living room window, shown below.
The shed had to be sorted as it housed a collection of old tools, garden chairs, pots of paint and bits of old carpet. The windows from the shed had disappeared many years ago and consequently wildlife had moved in during the Winter months. Once sorted and any useful items put on the ‘keep ‘ pile the rest could go. Similarly all plants were scrutinised and a number were dug up as ‘keeps’ with a total of six mature specimens marked with blue ribbon to save for the new garden.
Costs were to be kept as low as possible and although the owner wanted plastic grass to avoid mowing, in the final plan grass was permitted.
The latter part of the day sees the sun roll down the garden, from the house end to the bottom end by the gate. To make maximum use of the sunshine, a small area of patio was agreed to give space for a small bench or table and chair, or perhaps a statue. The owner liked this idea as it would mean less grass to look after.
Once the shed was demolished, any useful tools were to be kept in the empty coal shed or outside toilet as this left space in the garden and saved the expense of a new shed.
The area which for so many years had been home to the shed, was to have a small raised bed with stepping-stones behind it to enable access to the outside wall.
The path was to curve into the garden, to create an interesting area for planting, finishing at the gate. Indian sandstone met the budget. Work took four days.
Planting which was ‘saved’ in-situ included Weigela, Euonymus fortunei, Fuschia, Hibiscus, and Winter Jasmine. Others were dug up and split including Sedum, and hardy Geranium Johnsons Blue. Cuttings collected from other gardens included Pulmonaria and Acanthus mollis.
New planting included three small trees, two forms of Acer palmatum and the slow-growing, Cercis siliquastrum with its heart-shaped leaves. Shrubs included the Hydrangea paniculata Limelight and a Sweet Box for winter scent. Cercis siliquastrum Acer palmatum Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’
Shown below are the plants in their new home.
Hibiscus still wearing its blue ‘keep’ ribbon
The tree is underplanted with a selection of Allium, hardy geraniums and Alchemilla mollis which will cover the ground and tumble over the sides of the raised bed. The home owner was rather pleased with the outcome but seemed even more pleased by the stream of friends and neighbours who called by to admire her new garden.