Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

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JonC
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Location: Sandhurst, Berkshire

Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by JonC » Tue May 29, 2018 7:10 pm

Hello all. I had been planning a front garden make over in the cold winter months of January, February and March in a vain attempt to cheer myself up in the freezing winter we had this year. I don't have the skill or time that Yorkshire Kris does so I couldn't do a YouTube video, but I did want to share my experiences with you all.

Come April I had everything planned and had sourced all the plants and building materials I needed. I then needed to wait for a good weather forecast and plan the ordering so that everything arrived as needed.

The front of the house had been a source of annoyance for some time. This might seem odd given that I already had a huge Trachycarpus set in the middle of the lawn, but the rest was a frustrating mess. I had an awful lawn that was infested with Chafer beetle grubs and a water drainage cover set in the lawn as well. Part of the lawn didn't get much light and so became mossy in the extreme.

I wanted rid of the lawn and also didn't want the hassle of mowing every week in summer too, so the lawn had to go! In its place would be a gravel bed covered in Yorkshire Cream stones. A nod to my heritage even if I now live in Sandhurst. Spaced around the garden would be a selection of palms and palm like plants that I had in pots and some new additions I had on order from the Palm Tree Company. I have to say the service I received from Chris was outstanding and I can't recommend the company highly enough. Great service and terrific plants.

April came and the Easter break looked a good time to get everything done. I pencilled in a week off with the company I work with and looked forward to transforming the garden. Unfortunately, the weather was pants in the second week of the Easter break so I cancelled my week off and postponed for the week after which was due to be better. Wow!! what a week that was. Temperatures close to 30 deg C here and I got everything done in the week.

Firstly, let me remind you what the garden looked like to begin with. I have posted this image before I think. So, here we have a very poor quality lawn with a lovely Trachycarpus set in a bed of Begenia. I don't mind the Begenia at all, but over the years the lawn moved inwards and the Begenia moved outwards to create an area of long grass and Begenia. It was a mess and needed sorting. I needed to lift the Begenia and create a border to stop the creep of long grass into the border.
BG1.jpg
Here are a few 'before' shots of the front garden. They don't communicate the utter mess the front lawn was or the invasion of long grass into the Begenia border.
BG2.jpg
BG3.jpg
BG4.jpg
The next step was to create a border between myself and my neighbour as our lawns merged and also a border around the Trachycarpus. I also wanted to separate the back of the garden in front of the house which was shaded for shade loving plants. I chose carpet stones for aesthetics and also ease of laying and created a series of borders one weekend before the main makeover work started.

Here you can see the outcome with the addition of a few holes I pre-dug ready for the arrival of new plants. As I went along I transferred the plants I had in pots to their new homes in the garden. Here you can see a Cordyline a couple of Chamaerops, a Yucca and ten year old Cycas revoluta already in place.
G01.jpg
Spare earth and some holes ready for plants.
G02.jpg
G03.jpg
G04.jpg
Next the lawn had to come up. The whole process was tiring, but this was a tough job. The landscaper who put the garden in had used a plastic mesh in the ground for some reason and it bound everything together. It meant that digging and lifting turf was difficult and the turf took me a whole day to remove. I have to say I haven't been as tired in ages. I took the turf and placed it upside down around the perimeter of the back garden. The birds had a great time taking the grubs from the sods. I didn't mention until now, but the whole makeover was becoming very tiring as our home is built on very stony ground. I have a Jumbo bag from Wickes outside the house now with the best part of one tonne of stones that were removed in the process. It made digging impossible as the spade or fork simply couldn't penetrate the earth. I had to use a grubbing mattock and a ground work wrecking bar to gain access to the earth.

At the end of a very tiring day I had the lawn up and things were starting to take shape.
G05.jpg
G06.jpg
It looks like I've ready the maximum number of images allowed for one post so I'll carry on in part II.
Last edited by JonC on Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:10 am, edited 4 times in total.


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JonC
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Location: Sandhurst, Berkshire

Front garden make over (Part 2)

Post by JonC » Tue May 29, 2018 7:19 pm

Continued...

Another view of the de-lawned garden.
G07.jpg
I'm just starting to add the weed blaock membrane and added a bit of gravel to keep things in place.
G08.jpg
The plants arrived and then I was eager to get them planted. The remainder of the gravel was then added. It made a big difference and everything came together on the Thursday and Friday. A week of very hard work, but I am very happy with the results. A few pictures of the 'nearly' finished garden. I am still adding to things as I come across a new plant. No more mowing and now something nice to look at when I drive home.

I've added some larger Cordylines, a massive Cycas revoluta and a Butia Capitata as well as some smaller pink/purple Cordyline and some Agaves. I'll have my work cut out in Winter :-)
G10.jpg
G13.jpg
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G09.jpg
Hope that was interesting. Now to plan the back garden.....
Last edited by JonC on Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.


chris f
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Re: Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by chris f » Tue May 29, 2018 8:22 pm

Fantastic transformation Jon. You can see that there was a lot of hard work there, I feel your pain as I'm doing my back garden at the moment. Nice choice of plants too. Chris


Tom2006
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Re: Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by Tom2006 » Tue May 29, 2018 9:21 pm

Wonderful transformation! Great job to get that done in a week!
Most wanted list - Any Young Trachycarpus and/or fern.


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cordyman
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Re: Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by cordyman » Tue May 29, 2018 9:45 pm

Stunning, very well planted, and makes a huge difference icon_cheers icon_cheers icon_cheers


Yatsura
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Re: Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by Yatsura » Tue May 29, 2018 10:35 pm

Always makes all that hard work worth it when you can see the final result.

Looks great, big improvement icon_thumright


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kata
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Re: Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by kata » Thu May 31, 2018 7:28 pm

Great effort Jon, well done!!

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DiCasS
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Re: Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by DiCasS » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:22 pm

Wow Jon, I thought it was nice before, but looks amazing now. All the hard work has paid off.


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elge_onion
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Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by elge_onion » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:23 pm

Your hard work certainly has paid off. I bet your neighbours are very envious.
Mind like Poison Ivy.... body like Grotbags[i[/i]


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Blairs
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Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by Blairs » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:48 pm

Wow, what a difference and it looks bigger and lush. Very well done.


GREVILLE
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Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by GREVILLE » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:10 pm

That deserves a medal, Jon. What comes above gold....?


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karl66
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Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by karl66 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:12 am

Hi Jon...very well done & a great makeover!, also just to my taste also. I think the one thing it's crying out for is some giant stone's scattered in between plants.


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JonC
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Front garden make over (Part 1) - pop the kettle on

Post by JonC » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:20 am

Thanks for all the positive comments. I am happy with it and was pleased I could complete the garden in about a week. I did spend quite a bit of time planning and researching though. That was the fun part. I did underestimate just how hard it would be to complete and also just how much soil and rubble would be generated.

We've not had rain (proper rain not mizzle) for two months and so I am having to water everything weekly. So not quite maintenence free :D

I'll take a couple of photos in the Autumn and see if there is any progress/growth. Then I'll repeat annually so I can track the garden maturing.

Now my thoughts are turning the the back garden and next year's project. That's more difficult as space is limited and I need to balance the needs of the family in terms of outdoor living space, room for the washing line, greenhouse, pond, tables and chairs, patio etc..Also I don't want to go mental and make the house difficult to sell should we ever decide to move.

Regards, Jon.


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