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New home: Garden

This one really has been a long time coming.

When we moved into our new home in December 2013, our new dinky (but manageable) garden was overgrown, with a half-collapsed fence, domineering tress and bushes, a leaky shed and worn and impractical landscaping. But it had to make do. There was no point in tackling any aspect of the garden till we did our planned extension. And even then, that would wipe us out funds wise, meaning a longer wait for a lovely garden was on the cards.

The garden when we moved in

The garden and shed when we moved in

The garden and extension when we moved in

The garden and extension when we moved in

But we picked away at the garden bit by bit. The first job was to bring in an arborist to remove the badly maintained and imposing tree which was covered in ivy and wisteria, the withering ceanothus and the rampant evergreen bush with the name I fail to recall. Our neighbour wasn’t happy about us removing the tree – he doesn’t like felling trees and had previously campaigned the council to plant a new silver birch in a gap in the street. I’m with him there; I don’t like the thought of felling trees unnecessarily, and I do like the extra privacy and flying visitors to the garden that trees bring. However, this one had never received a proper trim and had become so overgrown it was causing problems for the neighbours and casting our and our other neighbours’ west facing gardens into shade for much of the day. So it had to go.

As soon as the tree had gone, the garden felt much bigger and airier, and was no longer going to cause bother for our upcoming building work. However, it did mean the already collapsing fence really wasn’t going to stand much longer. It did stay up during the building work but came down straight after, meaning we had to make do for a couple of months with no division between us and our neighbours – not ideal let me tell you!

Eventually, the next job on the list was to lay some decking (the step from the new extension to the ground was too large and we definitely wanted a deck for plants and a table and chairs), put up a new fence and spruce up our old shed. One coat of paint on the shed and one fence installation later and the shed was collapsing; the base had been rotting away and it was doomed. But again, funds and time didn’t allow for a new one, so we made do from last July till just last week, when eventually – hooray – my Dad and Jeffrey took down the crumbing, leaky old shed and put up a nice new one (which was apparently “a right bastard” thanks to the double doors but got completed just in time for a trip to the pub to watch Hull City get promoted to the Premier League).

The next day it was onto the last major job – the lawn. We had made do with our nice new decking leading to some click together decking from Ikea that the previous owners had laid. This had started rotting and, as well as not being very inviting for toddler feet, looked rubbish. 1 tonne of topsoil and 11m sq of turf along with some lugging and raking later and we had a lawn, which Jeff is very pleased with himself for being the master layer. A few stepping stones help get us from the decking to the shed and along the length of the washing line when the lawn is damp and while the turf is getting established. Throw in a new olive tree in an old galvanised wash tub from my parents’ old neighbour, some bamboo in an old galvanised feeding trough and a selection of new plants in pots and in the borders and the garden has become a wonderful extension to our kitchen/living/dining room. A space for Finlay to run around – and boy does he have some energy for that – and for us to sit out in this glorious weather. Now we just need some of our plants to grow slightly taller to hide the fences (I hate that exposed fence look that so many people have going on) and provide us with a bit more privacy.

This final job makes the downstairs of our home complete – though there are a few decorative tweaks I want to make to the back room and the hallway and I am planning on painting the shed late this year or early next – and, as Jeffrey put it last night, makes it an enjoyable stroll from the shed, along the stepping stones, over the decking, through the living area and kitchen, along the hallway and into our cosy living room. Lovely!