Back on November 26th 2016 I blogged about Planning for the future – a design challenge where I discussed the issues and some of you added your thoughts.
The main issue was we wanted a design to tidy up the space behind the wall and between the yew hedges but this is an area that gets very little sun and we wanted it to be relatively maintenance free.
Then on September 29th 2017 I blogged Planning for the future – a design challenge II which described in detail what we planned to do.
Then at last work began. The main reason for the delay was the lack of availability of the contractor we wanted to do the work.Removing any old turf, weeds etc to give a level bed. Note the soil was excellent quality and we now have a large heap waiting for use else where.Then the design was very carefully marked out. Note the very large set square leaning against the hedge to assist this.The areas where there was to be bricks was then dug out and a thick weed membrane covered the whole site. Crushed quarry waste was then inserted to provide a base for the bricks. This may look complicated but it helps ensure no weeds come through in unwanted areas of the final construction.
The success of this build depended on getting all the angles correct. The little yellow box on the tripod to the right of the picture is a laser leveling tool. This was set to the slope of the lawn and thus all measurements could be taken from this laser as the bricks were laid.
A wooden template was used to get the angles correct and the course along the bricks straight. At the same time the height of the bricks were measured from the laser.Metal edging was put around the lawn to give a sharp edge and gravel inserted.
The other areas between the gaps in the yew hedging was also paved in a similar way to create a unified design. The joints were pointed with a two part filler which produces a rock hard finish to prevent future weed growth.
At this stage the contractors had finished!I had always planned to source the trees and plant them myself. First I prepared the planting holes digging out any rubbish and getting the soil levels right so that they could be covered with gravel. We decided to go with Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire‘ – narrow, upright small trees with excellent autumn colour once established. I wanted to find trees that were at least a metre high and these were supplied by Mail Order Trees. On January 18th 2018 the trees were finally planted and the gravel spread out. You can also see that having removed all the rubbish and piled up soil from this area the bottom of the wall needed some attention.And on 18th May these were beginning to achieve our vision for the area. The bottom of the wall having been cleaned up and repointed.
The extra paved bits between the yew hedges really integrates the design.This photograph shows the final finish on the paving.And by 18th June the trees had already put on a significant amount of growth. They will need regular watering and some of the lawn needs some attention to establish good sharp edges.
The contractors were Ben and Sam whose company Stonetree I would recommend to anyone needing quality work.
|2018 Gardening Hours
|Week beginning July 7th
||Total 2018 to-date
||Average per week
It really has been too hot and dry to do much despite having been on holiday.
In November I discussed a design challenge in our garden. This is an update prior to contractors arriving to lay down the hard landscaping. The design challenge was to create a plan for the area of garden behind the wall which had been used as a general dumping area. Things have moved on and we now have a plan for the paths which were to follow the diagonal lines above.The bricks will be laid in the form of a “knot”although we do need to think through how the corners work. There are two options, the right end or the left but this is probably best done when we have the bricks on site and have measured out the overall shapes.
The bricks took some time to identify. They needed to be suitable for paths but also not to look wrong next to the old wall which was built in 1704. The bricks we have chosen are Old English clay pavers from Chelmer Valley.This picture shows them when they have been laid flat. However, we have decided to lay them on their edge. This has the advantage of better matching the bricks in the wall and it makes it easier to haunch them without the mortar showing along their edges.To give an idea of how they will look these pavers (slightly different from the ones we have chosen) have been laid on their edge, so our paths will be similar to the diagonal run of bricks.
Between the paths will be gravel; up to a metal edge along the edge of the lawn, up to the wall and around the trees themselves.
To achieve a unified design the gaps through the yew hedge and by the fruit cage will have have the same pavers laid in a similar way. These changes will give a very strongly defined lawn area which will be a precise rectangle and be symmetrical around the opening in the far yew hedge. This will also make lawn maintenance easier.
Lastly we shall have the same pavers laid along the edge of the small lawn which is up a step from the new design area. This small lawn is adjacent to the large pond area which is surrounded by similar pavers bringing a continuity to the design.
We have also decided on the trees. These will be Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire‘ – narrow, upright small trees with excellent autumn colour once established. The final choice of tree was determined by the site which only gets limited sunshine and the need for a tree that would not undermine the wall. Many thanks to people who suggested alternatives.
Until now the area has been a dumping ground!
but during the last few weeks I have been sorting out the good stuff from the rubbish and has amassed many river cobbles and granite sets that I am sure I will find uses for elsewhere in the garden. (I just need to find somewhere to store them now)
The contractors should arrive on September 19th so there should be another blog later in the year to show the result. We have wanted to do something here for at least 15 years so at long last something is happening. This is the last significant are of our garden to be developed.
And if you were wondering how the pigeons were doing here they are! They have just about doubled in just over a week and really the nest is hardly big enough for both of them.
|2017 Gardening Hours
|Total 2017 to-date
||Average per week
12.00pm – 5.00pm on Wednesday 14th June
Hoby , Leicestershire, LE14 3DR
£5 includes entrance to gardens plus tea & cake, Fizz available at extra cost
~~ Redwood ~~
Main Street, Hoby, LE14 3DT plus cake, tea & fizz
~~ Glebe House ~~
Church Lane, Hoby, LE14 3DR
All proceeds to All Saints Church Hoby maintenance fund.
See map of location of Hoby . If you can get to this event I am sure you will enjoy the afternoon.
This is the time of year when we all get out our garden notebooks and start to think about what needs to change in the garden.This is the view across our garden and shows the old kitchen garden wall. Actually our garden extends beyond the garden wall although the large sycamore tree is actually in our neighbour’s garden. The other side of the wall includes some utility areas.To the right is a fruit cage and then through the gap is the compost area. Directionally, this is looking to the south west.On the left is a dumping area. Every year we feel we should do something here but what?Same area from the other end, looking to the north east.Area viewed from the compost area. The issues are that on this side of the wall, due to a lower ground level, the wall is very tall, behind me is the compost area which is shaded by the sycamore (mentioned above). The wall is running from the north east to the south west so, combined with the sycamore tree, the area gets limited direct sun although it is not a dense shade. See also the garden map to further understand the layout.
This area is not a prime area within the garden. We wanted a relatively low maintenance solution which takes into account the light issues. Ideally we also wanted an area that feels different from the rest of the garden.First I have taken a photograph and modified it adding an area which I am planning to be some type of hard landscaping. (It is much easier cleaning up an area on Photoshop!). This will define the lawn and make it symmetrical around the way through the yew hedges.Next I have added some trees. These were provisionally multi-stemmed silver birch. I am yet to do a detailed plan for the hard landscaping but essentially the diagonal lines are to represent courses of bricks (about four courses wide ) that would create five 1m by 1m planting holes for the trees. The planting hole would have a weed membrane and gravel to finish. At this stage I am still thinking about the triangular areas by the wall and by the lawn. These could be gravel which would keep it simple or they could be cobbles which we have elsewhere in the garden and would form some continuity.
The big question is what trees to buy? On this decision there were a few of constraints. The centre of the planting hole is 1.45m from the wall so roots could be an issue, any wind we have comes from the south west and can be cold so despite the wall it is not the warmest of sites and lastly we wanted this to be fairly instant gardening so we were looking to buy trees of at least 1.75m. We are on a sandy loam soil which is free draining.
I have talked to one of the best local tree suppliers. Bluebell Nursery is an award-winning, traditional working nursery, specialising in rare and unusual trees, shrubs, climbers and conifers based in South Derbyshire, England. At this stage they have had the above brief and come up with some suggestions:
- Amelanchier lamarckii ‘Ballerina’ – small, rounded tree with masses of spring flower and decent autumn colour.
- Drimys winteri – unusual evergreen tall shrub/small tree with glossy green leaves and white flowers once established. Should enjoy being near a wall.
- Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire – narrow, upright small tree with excellent autumn colour once established.
- Eucryphia x intermedia ‘Rostrevor’ – small, upright and fairly narrow evergreen tree with masses of white flowers in late summer/early autumn. Should enjoy the shade and grow well next to a wall.
Another we considered was Styrax japonica but unfortunately, it would not be very tall initially for instant gratification. However, they would come into their own after a few years in which to get established. As for the multi-stemmed silver birch the advice was that we would definitely risk damage to the wall in time and even if not the case, as the wall is so tall you would be unlikely to have perfectly symmetrical habits forming as they would tend to grow towards the light given the opportunity.
At this stage we favour the Sorbus but the jury is still out.
Any suggestions gratefully welcomed.