Starting from (almost) scratch

Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by 2nd_bassoon, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. 2nd_bassoon

    2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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    New thread for a new garden!

    After a Covid-imposed 3 month delay and a week of heavy lifting we are finally fully moved into our house :yay: There's a lot to do inside, but obviously it's the outside that I keep thinking about :heehee:

    It's a long, narrow space - 175ftX20ishft - and somewhat level overall, though it slopes gently down towards both the far end and the right hand side, which makes for a few interesting dips.

    The house is higher than the garden at the back as it's built into the hill, so we've got some fairly dodgy decking out the the kitchen/conservatory door:

    2020-06-21 17.43.29.jpg

    My treasured outdoor tap (no more slinging a hose out the bathroom window :hapydancsmil:) is up here, so I'm already plotting how to extend that down to ground level.

    The patio is currently covered in the pots I've bought over from the old place:

    2020-06-21 17.43.42.jpg

    But it' a decent size and nice stone, so I doubt we'll do much other than pots/table and chairs etc.

    Looking back towards the house from the first stretch of lawn:

    2020-06-21 17.44.03.jpg

    (Excuse the mess, I haven't started tidying things away post move yet!). We're quite exposed to the house on the right of this picture at the moment - they're starting to build a small extension so have massively cleared the trees and bushes that were acting as a screen on their side. The fence is also lower and quite unstable so we're hoping they'll be as keen to replace it as we are before too long.

    Turning 180 degrees from the above photo, this is now looking down the garden again. The tree is the most enourmous apple tree I have ever seen, and very striking.

    2020-06-21 17.44.09.jpg

    The second half of the garden has some raised beds; the wood is starting to rot but they'll be solid enough for this year I think, once I've cleared them out. I've bought red cabbage and celeraic over from the old garden, and I'll also use them for my dahlias this summer as there aren't any other beds to put them in!

    2020-06-21 17.44.25.jpg

    The raised beds from the other direction:

    2020-06-21 17.44.56.jpg

    Beyond that is an assortment of what I assumed were fruit trees, though only one of them (on the far right) is showing any signs of a crop - not sure if it's a damson or a plum!

    2020-06-21 17.44.49.jpg


    So I've got a lot to work with!

    The must-haves are:
    - Vegetable garden - but how big?! Up until now all my veg growing has been squeezed into pots, so suddenly having more space for it is a bit overwhelming :yikes:
    - Shed - my tiny 3ftX1.5ft is suddenly woefully insubstantial.
    - Greenhouse :hapydancsmil:
    - Chicken run - I'll almost certainly enlarge their current 8ftX2.5ft set up.
    - A pond

    But as for how they're all going to slot together, at the moment I have not a clue :rolleyespink: I'm certainly going to keep a fair amount of the lawn, as I love lying out on the grass and we socialise a lot in the garden, but I'm starting to think about different configurations of beds around it too.

    So it's going to be a hell of a project, and likely with little work actually done this year; the house has the priority, and it'll take some thinking to work out what goes where. But I'm looking forward to the planning :)
     
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    • Perki

      Perki Total Gardener

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      How exciting for you 2nd bassoon :) the garden looks quite large , it common to make garden rooms in long narrow gardens. I spy a Conservatory ( Greenhouse ) ;) for now
       
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      • Sheal

        Sheal Total Gardener

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        Congratulations on moving into your new home 2nd_bassoon. :)

        It's not a bad thing you have to work on the house first. In between you can get to know the garden before starting work on it. Good luck!
         
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        • CanadianLori

          CanadianLori Total Gardener

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          Wow! What a lovely property. Good on you. I can hear the joy in your post and am happy for you :)
           
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          • 2nd_bassoon

            2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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            Belated thanks all for your kind works - between unpacking, discovering that every single tap in the house leaks, and a somewhat poorly timed (but much enjoyed) 10 day holiday I've been a bit neglectful about logging on here :redface:

            Not a huge amount happening outside at the moment, but we have put the red cabbage and celeriac that we bought over in pots out into the existing raised beds. No idea what we're going to do with 30 celeriacs but I got a bit carried away with having enough space to not need to be brutal in thinning them out :rolleyespink: The red cabbage is being battered by catapillars at the moment but I'm hoping a daily patrol will stay on top of it...

            2020-07-02 18.06.34.jpg

            2020-07-02 18.06.40.jpg

            The cosmos and dahlias have gone into the other raised beds as there's literally no where else in the garden to easily plant them - and I'm actually quite enjoying having a "cutting garden" for this year at least :smile:

            2020-07-02 18.06.46.jpg

            2020-07-02 18.07.01.jpg

            I've also moved most of the pots of the patio and started clearing the overgrowth along the edge. Unfortunately this has just revealed a long concrete step that will doubtless prove an annoyance when we start planning what to put here long term :rolleyespink:

            Before:

            2020-07-19 17.23.19.jpg

            2020-07-19 17.23.28.jpg

            After:
            2020-07-19 18.18.26.jpg

            So not a great difference - I stopped when I hit what I think is a bamboo-type of some variety because those roots were not budging and it was too warm to put real effort it :biggrin: - but it felt good to do some "real" garden work :)
             

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            • 2nd_bassoon

              2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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              Still mostly concentrating on odd jobs outside, rather than any of the bigger projects, though plans are afoot for the veg patch. I ordered the greenhouse last week :yay::hapfeet::yay:, and it currently has an estimated delivery date of 31st May 2021 :yikes: :wallbanging: :yikes: Luckily I noticed about the increased lead times or I wouldn't have even thought about ordering it until we'd cleared the area it's going on.

              But smaller jobs are being completed. I dug out the cotoneaster that was smothering the entirity of the bed at the base of the conservatory, then we painted and re-capped the low wall in front of it, and gave the soil a good thick mulch. I've filled the majority of it with wallflowers for this year, and put two clematis (Princess Diana and Wisley Cream) on one side to train up the decking. I've also got a climbing rose on order to grow along the main wall, and my current hope is that the sweetpeas will go in here as well once the wallflowers go over.

              This was the cotoneaster root ball :phew:

              2020-10-07 14.09.54.jpg

              And this was the bed post removal but pre-work - stupidly I forgot to take any "after" photos, so will have to remember to do that in the next few days.

              2020-10-17 12.31.12.jpg

              We've also done a lot of clearing down the bottom end of the garden, removing the rickety old dividing fence and digging out several of the old/dead fruit tree stumps so it all looks a lot more open down there:

              2020-10-17 15.35.09.jpg

              The next job I think we're going to tackle is removing the raised beds you can see in the previous picture, and raking up the slate path that's semi-buried under vegetation between them. The beds are old and quite rotton in places, and completely the wrong size - you can't easily reach the middle from the edges of most of them. The greenhouse and likely the chicken run will go where they currently are, and the veg beds just beyond. Not sure what we'll do with the slate, I might just list it online as free to collect.
               
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              • Perki

                Perki Total Gardener

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                That a long time to wait for the greenhouse @2nd_bassoon what sort have you ordered ?

                What are you planting in front of the window ? I did read a thread a while back about this bed you wanted a climber for it ? I never got round to commenting but I would go with a climbing / rambling rose, you'll be able to see the flowers through the window especially with climbing rose trained horizontally / fan shape across the bottom of the window, all the vertical shoot with flowers on will be poking their heads just above the windowsills .
                 
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                • 2nd_bassoon

                  2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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                  I know :frown: It's a Swallow, but all the low-to-mid-range greenhouse suppliers are quoting 26-30 week lead times at the moment - I also looked at Halls, Eden and Elite. Visited a few local gardener centres and they're in the same position, they've even sold off their display stock and now they're just waiting to replace it. One chap I spoke to said he's never known a year like it in over 30 years of selling them, a fatal combination of increased demand and interrupted supply chains. It is an "up to" timeline though, and the guy I've bought it through did say that he'd be quietly hopeful of it being more like 20 weeks than 30...but we'll see :th scifD36:

                  Yes this is the bed from the other thread! The climbing rose is going to be the main feature, after a lot of browsing I've ordered Starlight Symphony. My current plan is to plant it over to one side and train it up and round in more of an arch, but the fan shape sounds lovely... :scratch:
                   
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                  • 2nd_bassoon

                    2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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                    Not a lot of work outside in the last couple of months, we had to concentrate on ripping out and replacing the kitchen (turns out having a working oven and inside tap makes life about 67X easier, so it was worth it!) But we have removed (most of) the raised beds:

                    2020-11-15 14.08.37.jpg

                    2020-11-15 14.08.50.jpg

                    Annoyingly it turned out the two biggest beds were half filled with large chunks of rubble :doh:

                    2020-11-19 12.54.42.jpg

                    So going to have to come up with a solution for getting rid of that :wallbanging:

                    I also treated myself and bought an omlet chicken run - I know they're not to everyones taste, but I've wanted one for a long time and since a lot of the things I usually spend my money on have been cancelled now seemed like the time to do it :redface:

                    2021-01-05 14.43.55.jpg

                    2021-01-05 14.44.06.jpg

                    I had an email just before Christmas to say that the greenhouse will be ready sooner than May :yay: So the next big job is (a) deciding for sure where it's going, and (b) building the base for it :scratch:
                     
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                    • NigelJ

                      NigelJ Total Gardener

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                      I lost an awful lot of rubble into the base of my greenhouses. I dugout the soil as deep as I could go, 9in to 24in, then threw the rubble in to give a level base just proud of the soil surface. Secured the greenhouse base to that using the legs provided, built greenhouse and then levelled the floor with granite chippings.
                      Hard work yes, but the result was a greenhouse with a well drained base which never gets slippy or soggy; here in Devon that is an advantage. The mass of rubble also helps keep the temperature more stable and a degree or so warmer in winter.
                       
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                      • 2nd_bassoon

                        2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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                        Thanks Nigel, that's good to know - I was wondering about doing similar. The garden is on a permenant slope so we're going to have to build up a small terrace to level the greenhouse anyway, so hopefully a lot of the rubble can go into backfilling that.
                         
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                        • 2nd_bassoon

                          2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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                          Footings for the greenhouse are well underway; the trench was lined with hardcore and then topped with a few inches of concrete. We hired a cement mixer for the weekend, which was surprisingly cheap and well worth the money even for our relatively small area.

                          2021-01-17 12.44.47.jpg

                          2021-01-16 13.10.42.jpg

                          2021-01-23 14.58.49.jpg

                          Next step is to build a small wall up from the concrete for the greenhouse to sit on; the ground on the left hind side of the above image is much lower than the right, so it will be a low retaining wall there backfilled and levelled to match the right side.

                          I've also now got the shed on order, due for delivery 18th March. The ground where that is going isn't quite so uneven, so I'm hoping a base of railway sleepers will work there while being a bit less labour intensive...
                           
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                          • rustyroots

                            rustyroots Total Gardener

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                            Great space and looks like you are making good progress. Do the chucks have any covered area so that they can get out of the elements, be it rain, snow or sun? Love the old apple tree.
                            Rusty
                             
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                            • 2nd_bassoon

                              2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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                              Thanks @rustyroots . For rain and snow the half-height bit of the run is covered, not that they seem inclined to use it as shelter when it's inclement so far! For sun, when the apple tree is in leaf the canopy should provide them with a lot of cover, but we only moved them to this spot in November so this year will be the trial run.
                               
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                              • 2nd_bassoon

                                2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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                                After a lot (a LOT) of measuring, leveling, sighing and head-scratching, the greenhouse base is finished. The ground is completely uneven here so it was not a straightforward job, and we definitely regretted not just paying someone else to sort the damn thing more than once, but I'm pleased with the end result.

                                2021-01-29 14.05.00.jpg2021-02-06 12.18.52.jpg

                                2021-02-07 14.33.20.jpg

                                2021-02-21 16.15.25.jpg

                                2021-02-26 15.42.07.jpg

                                2021-03-02 14.29.22.jpg

                                The greenhouse itself won't be delivered for a few weeks, which gives me plenty of time to fret about it not fitting.

                                The incomplete extension on the left side of the pictures is going to be filled and topped with gravel and will eventually be a level home for the coldframe and a waterbutt.

                                Next big job while we wait on the greenhouse is the shed, which is due to be delivered in a couple of weeks. It will need treating and another level base constructing (out of sleepers this time, thank goodness, I'm done with brick laying for a while!); if the timings go to plan it should be ready for the end of the month, which, Boris allowing, will mean my dad can come and help with the construction part :fingers crossed::fingers crossed:
                                 
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