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Inexpensive suggestions for improving garden

We want to make our garden a bit prettier. Key challenges are to: 1) Remove the shed (we have alternative storage space) 2) Replace the shed with an eating dining area 3) Hide the back brickwall 5) Find a way to hide or improve the cracked concrete that makes up the path and the ground where the shed currently is A few challenges to achieving this are that we don't want to undertake heavy work such as removing the concrete because we don't have a side access. We don't want to create any high levels as we are planning on having children soon and want to make it safe. Here is a link to see the garden. Any help would be much appreciated.


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Is the shed currently sitting on concrete? What direction does the garden face?

    There are two things you could use to cover the concrete path and/or shed base - gravel and chipped bark. However both will have problems keeping in place - you will need edging and neither are particularly good for a seating area unless you go for benches rather than chairs because the surface will not be stable enough for chairs. Decking might be a better option for the seating area despite all its faults.

    The back wall can be hidden by fixing some 6x6 trellis panels and growing scented and/or evergreen climbers up it. The rest of the garden needs a tidy up - grass cut regularly and the borders edged and weeded. Again climbers can be grown up the fences or some espalier fruit trees.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Hi kai image

    Sorry, i cant view your pic as my phone wont paste anymore!

    Railway sleepers are fab to use as decking, they dont need any fixing and last forever! Its only possible if you can happen upon some that are going for next to nothing (the only reason i have some), i wonder if you may be able to do the same thing with scaffold boards? You have to search for a bit for them, but they are out there image

    Please remember freegle etc, some people just want rid! image

    and wot hogeed said for the climbersimage
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348

    Sorry I can't view the pix, but I certainly wouldn't lay anything 'loose' on top of concrete and hope it would be ok. Very slippy. If you can't get rid of the concrete, then the only real alternative is to build a timber walkway over the path and do the same for the space where you want the dining area. If the site's shady that's no good either for the same reason as using gravel or bark, unless you cover it with chicken wire which isn't very attractive. Fine for a working area in the garden but not much else. The other way of sorting it would be to lay another skin of concrete over it , put in a nice edging and perhaps set some stones into it in a decorative pattern to make it more attractive. You could probably do a fair bit of that yourself.

    Think carefully about the issues with the concrete. In the long run, it might be better to tackle removing it so that you can have something far more suitable for your needs. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Can't get link to work; click on tree icon to upload pics directimage

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,048

    When I clicked on the link all I got was the same post on the RHS web site.


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • image


     See if this works.  I think it's worked.

    I also think the path would be better taken up to begin with.   Bit of a job but worth it in the long run.   It's too narrow in my opinion. 

  • Thank you for the very helpful responses.

    A few points, the garden is North East facing so it gets some mild sun in the mornings throughout (the lavendar bush by the shed may need trimming back if we are trying to avoid shade there).

    There is solid concrete beneath the shed and to the left of it. The far left where the bushes are are currently a border with soil. 

    I should clarify that we have a little bit of money set aside, we just don't want to spend much more than a thousand (on labour/materials). Timber/decking, which I'm not overly keen, sounds like the simplest thing to do on the path and back but I am concerned about the slippery nature of these in a cool garden (although we really only go outside to sit when it's really sunny). 

    Taking up the path sounds like a good idea too (the bits of grass either side are really narrow at the moment). How easy is that to do and is it likely to make a lot of mess through the house?!

    Finally I didn't know it was an option to add another skin of concrete over old concrete. Is this a good idea in the longer term? If so, it may well be an option.

    Thanks again.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348

    Don't see any reason why you can't add another layer but you'll have to shutter the sides and make sure it's deep enough. Having now seen the pix, if I was you I'd take the path away and put one down the right hand side to the shed/dining area. That way, you'll get a decent sized area of grass. However, are you sure you want your main dining area in that spot  - does it get enough late sun for evening dining, or does that not matter?

    Sorry for the questions Kai, but I'd hate you to make changes and then not be happy with them. I know how hard it is to rearrange things on a tight budget. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • No problem ask away! None of the garden gets much sun, but that part of the garden gets the warmest sun (closest to midday) whereas the rest of the garden is shady before lunchtime. There is no shade in the afternoon or evening but that's OK, we would only sit out there when it gets really warm in summer and other than that we just want it to be nice to look at!

    I think the path at the side does make much more sense too.

    What does taking the path away involve - presumably quite a lot of drilling and taking away the remnants? Then we could just lay new lawn?


    (Sorry for the typo in my earlier email, that should have said lavender).


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348

    It may be less deep than you think Kai, and since you're saying it's a bit ropey anyway, you could probably tackle it with a sledgehammer and bag it to take away. I've broken up concrete quite easily that way image

    You can then fill in with soil to match the level of the rest of the grass and either turf or reseed. 

    I take it the area at the bottom of the pic is where your house is? You can create a simple, small space with gravel or paving there, to give you an alternative little seating/dining area near your back door.  Ideal for a cuppa or a glass of wine after a hard day! That way you can make the most of sunny areas you have too. If you're going to have children, the bigger lawn would be a benefit, and you'll spend more time out there once you have them - swings, slides and sandpits image

    Quick note about that brick wall - if it's not yours you can't attach anything directly to it, but you could plant some shrubs along the front, including some scented ones as it would be next to a seating area, or you could put in some posts and trellis independent of the wall, for climbers. It largely depends how much time you have for maintenance too. Sweet peas are handy for summer scent and colour so that's a cheap way of getting some quick impact next summer.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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