I wish that clay would wash off with a bucket of water, only thing that gets it off is a jet-wash! Still, got to love being on clay, I've built just about every type of pond possible, concrete, pre-formed, liner, building a natural clay pond was brilliant though!
Just taken a look at slate chippings on the web, like the look of them especially with occasional matching paving slabs for walking on or for placing pot plants as obelixx suggested.
Have you considered using part of the area for a small wildlife garden pond?
Not a pond, maybe a water feature though. We have this already in the garden:
Was a liner pond, but has been restored this year as a natural clay pond.
Pond looks to have shrunk in the picture, but it's about 2.5 meters across, so fairly substantial for wildlife pond.
Hi philippa, just posted up a piccy of the finished pond in response to peaceful ponds post.
Wan't too successful for us at first attempt either. Was a massive amount of work and wouldn't hold water. Did lots of research and went again at it, worked the second time round. We used sodium bentonite to act as a natural liner and cheated a little with a pvc semi-liner around the top, mainly to stop worms making holes in it.
The whole story can be found on the web here:
You'll see the project took forever to get going and at times I thought it was never going to happen!
Here is a short cut link to the bit about building the pond the second time:
I have the same problem here with muddy boots and clay soil Gemma
The bonus is that when you get it in good heart you can grow plants really well in it -as you've found with your veg plot. I've always had clay soil to garden in and it can take time to get it right but it's a great medium. This summer and autumn have been very dry so it's helped enormously with all the digging I've been doing.
Looking forward to seeing your pond gradually develop. You have a lovely site for the garden
I'm learning to love clay Fairygirl, Double digging half the veg plot to incorporate well rotted muck deep down for the first time this year had its dark moments though. I just kept reminding myself how much better the soil will get over the years.
It will be worth it. If you can get some manure to put on your veg plot to leave over winter, that will really benefit you. I did something similar last year as I created a border along part of the new boundary fence. When the plants went in during spring they really took off . Just keep telling yourself it will be great in another year. I was beginning to despair earlier this year as the garden looked dreadful and I felt a bit daunted with the amount I still had to do, but it's almost there and I know by next summer it will be a much more useful space.
With you there Fairygirl, my garden looks like a building site, but so, so much got done this year, just got to keep going and believe it is going to get there
I'm an fan of well built decking in the right place. A sunny position is ideal but anything other than that will make it slippery and slimy.
I built a deck in my garden in August which took a while to build and more money than I anticipated. Its got built in planters so I don't have to have anything sat on the deck other than chairs and table. The planters have been filled with soil and plenty rotted compost for planting up in spring. To combat the rodent problem, I made sure that the deck was contained underneath. I fitted a liner which surpresses the weeds but is also resistant to any animals. Stapled it up to the deck so it creates a barrier to getting under the wood. I posted a hefty update on here about the garden an will continue to update once further progress is made.
You could remove that concrete slab beside the house. You may find that it looks like its attached but is separate from any foundations. Getting a lever under the edge of it and seeing if it moves at all would be a good indicator. Don't worry about the drain cover, it will come free but would be just a case of cementing it back in once out ofthe way. I had the same in my garden, thought the concrete extended under the garage as the floor slab but turned out to be a separate piece once I got a pick axe under and tried for movement. I also have a manhole cover to put back into position! The area which I did that will be gravelled over with both 20mm gravel and slate which are used alongside each other for decoration. I'll use a border to separate them.