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Starting From Scratch/Levelling

Hi folks. First time here. Thanks for having me. I look forward to hearing all your wonderful advice!

My wife and I arf looking to completely renovate the garden we inherited when we bought our house last year. Here's a picture in. Its current state:

In terms of design, we have a vague idea that we'd like a large shed at the back left (where the bbq is) and we will keep the tree at the back right corner. Directly out the back of the house we want decking/patio gravel for a dining area, then a lawn going up the back most likely with beds either side. The garden is about 9.5m long by 4.7m.wide.

The question I'm struggling with is how to start. The other issue we have, perhaps not so evident from the picture, is that the garden slopes down to the lefthand side so we'd like to level the whole thing. 

So, do we dig up all the concrete and level first before doing anything else? If we go for decking do we need to bother removing the concrete and levelling that area?

Another question, as there were previously beds either side of the concrete, does this mean the soil is going to be different in there areas? I'm just wondering how this might affect laying turf/seeding new grass. 

Any help would be hugely appreciated and I'm sure I'll be back here many times as we voyage through the various stages of the journey to making the perfect garden! 

Thanks so much! 

Tom in South East London 


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,249
    Hi Tom, welcome to the forum,  you've come to the right place :) . My advice would be to clear the site of everything you don't want, including all that concrete. You can then set up pegs and string (old fashioned way, you may have an app !), to get the level. By the time you've dug it over, raked it etc to level it prior to seeding or turfing, the soil should all be well mixed up.
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,025
    To answer some of your questions:
    You don't need to lift the slabs if you want to put decking down IF the level from the house is ok. Remember the decking will/should sit above the slabs. Cover the slabs with weed suppressing membrane and peg it down.
    If the garden slopes to the left, instead of lawn with borders either side, think about a lawn with a big border to the left. That way, if you put a decent 'kerb' in, you will be able to level the lawn and the border will look after itself. Once it is filled with plants, you will not notice it slopes. And you could grow climbers along the fence to the right to give you some colour and greenery. 
    Personally, as your garden is not that big and the decking area will take up about half of it, I would forget the lawn and just think about a curved path (grass if you wish) going from the deck to the shed with the rest in planting.
    One thing to think about using gravel for the seating area is that it is difficult for chairs to sit solidly on it unless you opt for benches. And for decking, is it sunny (good) or shady (Bad - slippy). 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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