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Removed old deck... now where to start!!


We are lucky to live in Bournemouth where we can grow some wonderful plants and I need some help on how to create a garden basically from scratch!

We have a small-ish garden that faces NW out the back of the house.

At the end of the garden we have a 5mx5m log cabin as our home office, to one side a small overhang used for bikes. Right on the boundary to the NE we have a very old 10 foot Camilla tree, do you have any ideas on how we can surround the tree? see picture for the mess that is there at the moment!

In front of our lovely log cabin we did have a large decking area... until yesterday! See picture! Now that the decking has gone the log cabin is about 1 foot higher than the front so I need to create some kind of retaining wall/step, this will also cover the foundations of the log cabin.

Yesterday I pulled up the old deck that has been down for over 15 years now, underneath I found the classic 90's pink and white concrete slabs in an off set diamond shape. Around this area In each corner I have a triangle of bare ground. To the left of all this I have concrete, right up to the boundary fence (SW).I was thinking in this area of having a raised bed for vegetables? I did research into railway sleepers but for what I want this could end up being expensive. I am thinking now about breeze blocks and rendered?

Do I leave the concrete 90's slabs and add around them or do start from scratch?

Any ideas would be welcome, I cant wait to get started but I need guidance!

Many thanks,



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,823

    For the bed under the camellia, I would fork in a couple of big bags of ericaceous compost which will improve the fertility for the camellia and then plant shade lovers such as hostas, ferns, geranium macrorhizum, cyclamen hederifolium to give you an extended season of form and colour.

    For the rest, it depends on what you want to do and how much time you have.   In such a small, shaded space a lawn may well be more bother than it's worth to prepare the soil, plant or sow and then maintain and the dog won't help either.   

    Build your raised beds for veggies in the sunniest spot and be prepared to limit your crops to things which don't need prolonged sunshine to ripen them so salad leaves and assorted brassicas - see here for more info -

    Then make a decision about those paving slabs - keep or throw - and consider making a solid paved area on which to perch a table and chairs securely.  The rest of the space should then be cleared, levelled, covered with a  weed suppressant membrane which allows water to penetrate and then cover that with gravel or slate chippings or chipped bark according to budget and taste.   You can use changing pots of other plants such as spring bulbs, summer bedding, winter interest plants to add colour and form throughout the rest of the year.

    You may want to consider painting or staining the fence to make it look smarter and/or plant a climbing rose such as New Dawn which doesn't mind shade and will give lightly scented pale pink flowers.  Depends on where your raised beds end up.

    Last edited: 17 June 2016 14:10:33

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619

    If your garden isn't very big it might be worthwhile making some 'shelving' instead of using raised beds to grow veggies, this way you can grow more but also keep the snails away.  You can grow lots of Strawberries and herbs that will probably give you more joy than, say root vegetables.  Similarly fruit trees are always worthwhile as the only attention they really need is to be kept in check.

    As for the paving slabs, they appear to have been set on a good base so if it were me I'd keep them, put a bistro set (or a hot tub!) to sit out in, grow some privacy around it and it should make a decent sun trap.

  • JenDBJenDB Posts: 3

    Thank you both for your great ideas, especially about intergrating the camellia bed into the raised bed brilliant idea that I had never thought of :) thanks 

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