The back garden at our house was the final project in our grand scheme of doing up the house. The front garden had been the first project (before we even started on the house – the urge to put a spade in the ground was too strong). I think of myself as a gardener – gardening is one of the things that I do. The back garden was a project though. The previous owners of the house would, I guess, not call themselves gardeners; thus the back garden resembled a (bad) pub garden, it was approximately 40% decking, 30% paving, 20% tarmac and 10% (dog turd encrusted) lawn.
The decking came out fairly swiftly – we wanted to see what was underneath (and the decking was used to build raise vegetable beds in the front garden), the low brick wall was next out in order to ease access to the back door of the house for building materials, but the rest stayed roughly as it was while we figured out the interior. The urge to buy plants was strong though – too strong perhaps, I bought and lost a multitude of plants because we didn’t have any ground clear to plant them in and they remained in their pots and were lost to the winter of 2010/11. Come last summer though we were ready to tackle it – cue weeks of digging out a pond by hand, moving the spoil to one side, removing paving, digging out hardcore, infilling with spoil from the pond area, ordering and then raking out gravel and building one huge raised bed to disguise an area to park the car . . . and then planting.
There’s still masses to do – the planting is still a bit scrappy in places, the soil needs some serious mulching (it had never previously been cultivated being formerly used as a cow yard – before the pub garden incumbents) and I’m already eyeing up bulb catalogues in order to increase the number of alliums, tulips and narcissi, oh . . . and the weeding. All that aside though it is now a joy rather than a chore.