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What could I do with this?

Hi there everyone hope your all well. Well me and the missus have finally got a house with a decent garden to do up. I've always had a intrest in gardening but never had the space in the old house to be able to do much. Anyways the front of the house has turf all the way up to the brickwork. The window sills stick out and with the electric box etc it makes it hard too mow so looking to border it in. The missus wants railway sleeper border going in along the wall under the window and then 90 degree bend following the contour of the brickwork. Is this possible and is there anything I should be aware of or cautious of? And is this possible or should I be looking at a alternative solution? I've attached pictures of the area and also a picture of the damp course as I know you shouldn't go higher than the damp course. Thankyou!


  • I’m presuming the apparent curve at the front is just an illusion? 

    Also, I am wondering what the aim is with the sleepers. Normally you would use these if you needed to raise a bed. Are you hoping to do that or just use them as edging? In the former case, you’ll need to watch out that you still have access to down pipes and cables against the house walls, for maintenance. Perhaps the best solution would then be to place the sleepers at a slight distance from the walls, though even then if you needed to dig out to get at the subsoil part of the cable it would be a lot more difficult with a sleeper in the way. So that’s just a thing to bear in mind.

    in terms of preparation, you would need to remove the grass, then lay the sleepers, dig over the soil (which will be compacted) and add a quantity of good topsoil which you would dig into the original soil before planting.

    As it is an easier and cheaper option, I will just add that you could get just as pleasing an effect without sleepers and topsoil, by adding edging around the outside of the bed and digging in plenty of organic matter but keeping the final level much as it is now. 
  • Fruffy91Fruffy91 Posts: 14
    edited April 2021
    I didnt on plan to raise the bed. I just wanted nice bordered edge that is pleasing on the eye. Also the side if thr house already has a border that was put in my thr builders of the house I shall take a picture tomorrow its a really big border thats barked with a few planters. I just wanted a solution maybe to change it up a bit aswell. The border is only going across the house brick wall the border that is next to the driveway will be staying for now. With the future intent of maybe hedge planting maybe. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,544
    Why not just go for a simple path with slabs or pavers or gravel laid on a membrane?  That would give you easy access to the meters and to the window for cleaning.   
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,649
    If you go for a path (and as @Obelixx says, that would be good for access) you could have some plants in pots standing on it that you can move out of the way if needs be. They would need watering regularly though.
  • WildFlower_UKWildFlower_UK Cambridgeshire, UKPosts: 215
    @Fruffy91 What you're planning is very similar to us. Our front garden area (similar width but shorter in length to yours) was completely overgrown with half dead bushes and dreaded brambles. We completely cleared it (including then covering it for 5 months to kill anything remaining off - hopefully we were successful!) and now we're going to grass the front 2/3s (throwing in some wildflowers for pollinators) and add a border next to the wall which, like yours, also sits under a window.

    One thing to bear in mind is where the garden faces (how much sun does it get?) and regardless of whether you plant into the ground or in pots/planters, the wall will prevent a lot of rain from reaching your plants. So you'll just have to keep on top of/an eye on moisture levels. Our front garden is in mostly shade so although we will still keep an eye on water levels, we at least don't have full sun on the area making it even drier.

    As well planting up a boarder (you probably want to have it 1m in depth/from the wall), you could think about growing climbers to add height. Your brick work is lovely but as with all newer builds, sometimes it's nice to add some colour and texture to soften the house. Even with a border depth of 1m you should still have easy access to the meter and you can clean the window if you have a long arm/an extending window cleaning brush.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,649
    If you have window cleaners rather than doing it yourself, they tend to be none too careful about where they put their feet (and the same with meter readers, if you still have them and not a smart meter). If you go for a border it might be a good idea to put in a few strategically placed slabs so it's obvious where they should step.
  • Fruffy91Fruffy91 Posts: 14
    Thankyou for all the great ideas! After running through them all I think we have decided to cut the border in just wide enough to create a path. Not too wide for it too be overbearing but not too narrow to make it pointless. Then to put some plants in pots along the gravel to break it all up a bit, then as suggested if the gravel needs to be used as a path to get to the windows or meters etc. Then the pots can just be picked up and moved with no problem.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,482
    edited April 2021
    Good for you, I reckon that's the right solution. Actually a gravel path is an effective burglar deterrent as it's noisy to walk on and they don't like it.
  • Fruffy91Fruffy91 Posts: 14
    Right so talking with the missus she mentioned about a gravelpath being different too the other side of the house. And she thinks it would look odd? A picture of the other side of the house attached. What would you guys do to the front of the house in your eyes to eradicate the problem of the grass coming right up too the house. Would you still gravel on the left hand side of the house even though the right has bark?. Would it really look that odd? 
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