Back Garden – a blank canvas

The ‘blank canvas’ back garden in late summer, together with plants from my last place plus some new additions awaiting the makeover to start. BTW, due south is over the back fence on the left so the edge of the grass along the dwarf wall is in full sun all day. However, the soil quality is dreadful – pretty much solid clay so am expected to have to remove a layer, replace with top soil and rotovate.

The yellow marker shows the plan, which is a 1m border all around, where the wall is ‘hatched’, take that down to patio level and install wide steps up to the retained lawn using 600x600mm black limestone slabs. Each side of the steps will be 1.2m deep perennial beds. The brick wall will be repaired and painted, the slate used to finish.

The steps will be broad enough to take the two big terracotta pots now sitting on the path around the front.

Will need new turf too, those are bull rushes growing, although I may leave that until the autumn rather than try and get new turf to take in the summer! The back fence will get shrubs in front and some climbers to cover.

If this was my ‘forever’ house, I’d be much more aggressive in reducing/removing the lawn but have half-an-eye on selling what is a family home so buyers will likely want a lawn in an enclosed rear garden.

Thinking about the patio, which is very poor slabbing. I was going for a deck but have gone off that idea due to attracting rodents.

Turf being lifted, rented the machine and skip. Turf lifter so quick and easy(ish).

Everything has been in pots all summer, except the twisted willow which has migrated to the wettest part of garden – hope it likes it. Got a 1 tonne bag of loam topsoil which is spread over the tilled clay and lightly dug in. I am effectively raising height of beds by 10cm – 20cm to improve drainage and hopefully get plants/bulbs through Scottish cold wet winter. Esp. trying to avoid ‘sumps’ around root balls, added blood, fish and bone to help roots establish and watered in.

The focus has been on planting and the slab laying is only a mockup to check which are the best ones. The engineering bricks will be masonry painted in “stone” and have coping made from poorest slate slabs sawn into 4 strips, hiding all the holes.

The drainage problems on site have been causing some puzzlement. It looks like some field drains will need go in when new turf in laid on a bed of sand, so piping will be laid under the slabs in readiness.

The lowest point! I was close to “giving up”, battling in the mud to lay drainage pipes, ground pressure brings water to surface.

Welcome assistance, “lawn” has gone and 6cm of grit laid

That look’s better! Just need to install cross-beam on the pergola.

Looking like a proper garden, the days of digging in the mud are (almost) forgotten.

And (almost) done in early summer!

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One thought on “Back Garden – a blank canvas

  1. Just came across your blog. Very interesting as I have just moved to a new build in Oatlands, Glasgow so we are practically neighbours!

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