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Ideas needed




Apologise if the pictures are too big.

we moved about 2 years ago and have inherited a money pit of a house, so the garden was left till this year, we have done a few bits. Like the base for the shed, the playhouse, removed a massive raised bed of sorts.

the people that had the house before us used scaffolding boards as decking which was very slippy and unsafe, the raised bit at the back was full of junk. The things that we found were shocking.

we decided we were going to deck it last year but to do the decking this year, too expensive, so I thought about artificial grass, even more expensive. So we kinda thought about gravelling it, will cost about £350.00. We have one dog and a nearly 4 year old so needs to be safe too. The trampoline is in the middle so my thinking is push it up against the tree so we can use our table and chairs in the middle.

my garden depresses me as my previous house had a huge garden and the folk I bought it from were very keen gardeners and every month some thing lovely would appear.

i want to try to have a nice garden with little expense as possible. Any suggestions would be lovely, as I cannot think out side the box!

Thank you for reading.


  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    Is that the extent of the garden?  Why have decking as you have paving slabs already.   I would have things climbing upwards like clematis & honeysuckle and you already have lots of pots in the background that you could fill with cheap bedding type plants.  Let us know what size the garden is and which way it faces etc so folks can come up with ideas.

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Personally, I would find all that paving rather depressing.  It is an expanse of grey, well two types of grey, and while a nicely finished stone patio with pots on it could look urban and chic, concrete slabs look like you've had the council in to decorate instead of Ground Force.image   Of the two, the darker grey slightly raised bit looks a bit better (actually that looks like it could be nice stone), and some paving with a different ground covering like gravel around it would look better, just to vary the effect.  Also, is there any reason why the slabs stick out and haven't been trimmed off?   I would finish it off in a straight line (get an angle grinder), with a border - maybe some wood in a line or a line of bricks or something. Or maybe build up to that level a little further out, backfill with soil in the gap and get some low growing things, like alpines, that will spill over the paving and cover up the uneven edge, but be easy to step over.

    Then I would take up the concrete slabs and cover with something to stop weeds - I usually suggest plastic membrane, but I don't know if that would affect drainage in this case.  And then put down gravel.  Where did you get your quote for gravel from?  An aggregates supplier is much cheaper than buying bags from somewhere like Wickes.  I think we got about ten tonnes for around £200.  But you do need somewhere for them to dump it.  Or maybe you could use play bark?  in the short term.  Just an alternative to 100% paving to break up the space. Do you want any soil beds?  I think you should have somewhere where you can plant a few bigger things with deeper roots, for some kind of structure and height.  Pots are all very well, but they need a bit of a backdrop.

    In my experience, if you are not happy with the concrete slabs, and my guess from the fact that all your ideas seem to revolve around covering them up with something, I would bite the bullet and get rid of them.  You kind of need to start from the bottom up.  Covering things up that you don't like, has a horrible habit of coming back to haunt you, so I would always advocate stripping back and starting again properly.

  • IcebabeIcebabe Posts: 5


     It's 15 metres x 15.

    Although it's looks a mess at the moment (understatement of the year), it looked horrendous before. We have actually believe it or not done quite a lot.

    So, I'm thinking finish of the back left with some grey slate tiles we found under the base where we built the shed base and finish that bit off. Push the trampoline back so it sits nicely under the tree (I have a trampoline cover to stop birds pooping from the Horse Chestnut tree we had cut down last year). Put the glass into the green house another job done.

    Perhaps do something with the the L shape where the concrete slabs are. (We found them under the scaffolding boards along with 30 odd dog bones I kid you not).

    The size is 2mtrs x 6 each side.

    The reason why the slates are not edged straight is because we inherited them like this and are still toying with ideas as to what to do with the garden itself.


  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Ah well slate is a whole different matter.  That has the potential to look really good - I did wonder if it was something better from the previous pictures.  I agree that the trampoline which has landed from outer space (we have one too!) should be tucked away, and probably leave hardstanding underneath, because having one on a lawn has peculiar effects on the grass and you end up with a series of Olympic rings across the area where it has been at various stages. 

    I do believe that you have done lots.  I would say that of all the time I have ever spent in the garden, only 15% at most would have been spent on growing plants - probably 10% come to think of it.  Garden jobs for me have included cutting up an enormous old style metal oil tank with an angle grinder with metal cutter blades - it was firework tastic - to get it through the house for collection by a metal collector.  And shifting vast piles of earth, taller than me, which I WISH I had photographed, which were covered with weeds - the 'hills o' weed' as I called them.  That was because we had the topsoil from the front dug out and redeposited in the area out the back, but it took a couple of years to get round to it.  Included was a dog skeleton, which someone has lovingly wrapped in a loosely knitted jumper for burial, and after the diggers moved everything, and I barrowed it, I am still turning up dog bones and bits of that jumper, and horse teeth, and sheep mandibles, and all sorts (this was a vet's practice outbuildings). 

    We have sorted out three skips worth of rubble and sick soil, redistributed hardcore that we bought and didn't need, transported stone down the paddock.  Then built the stone and brick beds out of what we had left over, designed arches out of discarded farmyard wooden poles left on site, built a gazebo - our builder did the woodwork but I did the brick supports, put up a fence, raised beds, a greenhouse.  And this has taken nine years, and I am only just about to plant things in actual real soil - not raised beds.  So I totally get your meaning when you say you have done loads, and I suppose all that explains why if I were you I would get rid of the concrete.  It is because I believe in stripping back and building what you want from scratch.  All the time that concrete is there, you are bending your own plans round something that someone else put there, which will have a serious impact on what you want to do, and your possibilities for the future.  Even if you get rid of it and have to put down a temporary solution, without it, you are back to basics and can do what you want.  Also, having some of it removed will reduce the risk of flooding as it will allow for greater absorption.  If you had that tree chopped down, then less water will be being sucked up by roots.  You will have such fun with your little girl in the greenhouse once the glass goes in!!

  • IcebabeIcebabe Posts: 5

    Haha, did think where you were going with this given the amount of bones you found.

    I've manage to find a local builders merchant, 47.00+vat for 850 (just under a tonne), the best price I've found given we live in the middle of no where. Thank you for the idea of not using wickes, even with other halfs 15% discount card from work we were spending twice as much.

    My little ones planted her plant, looks like a blue bell but it isn't. Her orange pansies are looking good in the flower basket. Things are looking a teeny tiny better already.

    Im looking forward to posting my finished picture, watch this space image 


  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Glad it is all positive!  Our foster daughter (9) is going to make a good gardener and is very helpful in the garden.  In my experience, boys, both my own and foster son, have limited concentration for gardening, although I think it is more to do with personality than gender.  We have decided to carve some little gardens for them out of the paddock, where they can take total responsibility for design issues and have some of the plants from the greenhouse.  Will be fun to see how their gardens develop!!

  • IcebabeIcebabe Posts: 5

    We are looking to getting into fostering too, we are in our stage two!

    Its a mighty long process. But fingers crossed. I know it's off the gardening topic but how long have you been fostering?

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Well, since it's just the two of us in here...!  We have been fostering for about a year and a quarter.  We have two children who we are applying to foster permanently.  Actually, I will PM you come to think of it, because I have to be mega careful online in 'public' spaces (as you will already know if you're on the courses!) 

  • IcebabeIcebabe Posts: 5

    Haven't been on any courses yet! But thanks for the info..

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