Thursday, 26 April 2012

Garden makeover: Part one

Well I'm sat here killing time until I have to go out this afternoon.... I have a dentist appointment which I'm really not thrilled about but has to be done! I always feel nervous before I go to the dentist, even if nothing ends up being wrong... that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach is with me now, even though I'm sure it will be ok.

Anyway let's not dwell on that for the moment! Things have been really busy here this week but not just with my work... so sorry for my blogging absence... again!

When we moved into this house last year, the garden was literally bare, just soil (and crappy soil at that, half soil, half builders rubble). It is not a huge garden at all, and is kind of a funny shape as it wraps around the side of the house, but for us it is plenty to be looking after and after living in a second floor city flat for years it is so lovely to have a garden at all!

Anyway by the time we had sorted ourselves out after the move, it was then Autumn and the weather got colder and wetter and we just decided to leave it until Spring. I did a bit of research online and had almost decided to just put gravel down as it would be low maintenance. Neither of us really know anything about gardens or gardening - I would like to learn but Karl has absolutely no interest at all so it kind of just seemed like the easy option.  

So we dithered about for ages, I rang up some landscaping companies to see if they would come out and do the work but they were all busy... so we dithered about some more.... but then last week, Karl ended up having the week unexpectedly off work. So on Monday morning last week, we made a snap decision to 'do the garden' ourselves, deciding that turf was probably the easiest way to go. So we set about measuring and ordered three tons of topsoil that morning!

The weather did not help when we were trying to prepare the soil. We spent ages digging out all the weeds and stones - of which there were so many - and spreading all the topsoil - poor Karl shovelling three tons of soil by hand... all in the pouring rain! When it had dried out a bit, we levelled it, and tramped it all down, as instructed on the Internet, and awaited our turf which was supposed to be arriving on Thursday.

It came... at about five in the afternoon. After waiting in all day for it, the moment it arrived, the heavens opened and all our neatly levelled and flattened topsoil turned into a bog within about three minutes. 

That three hours work were some of the hardest I've ever done. Turf is bloody heavy!! I could barely lift each piece and it was a real struggle. I literally was close to tears, at the mud and the rain, which was ruining our neatly prepared soil and at just how physically exhausted I was. We had to lay the turf that evening as Karl was going away the next day and you can't leave it rolled up otherwise it will die. 

Anyway Karl was a hero and ended up doing most of the heavy lifting and putting the turf in place whilst I pressed it into place with the rake. Although the soil had so many footprints in due to torrential rain, when pressed down, it thankfully squashed them all out flat.

Having never had to put fresh turf down before, I kind of naively thought that as soon as you laid it, it would look like a beautifully manicured lawn! Wrong. The turf, obviously having been rolled in on itself was really muddy and dirty...

But in just one week, the rain, which has actually been a godsend, has washed it all clean and it has already started to grow. When we lifted up a corner, you can even see tiny white roots poking out! Hopefully in another few weeks it will become established and we will be able to walk on it.

It is obviously still a huge work in progress and a total blank canvas  at the moment but the hardest bit is now done. The bare bits of soil left are where we are going to dig out flowerbeds... we've got some of those little log things to put around the outside of them! Then I can start the bit I will actually enjoy - choosing flowers and plants. As well as the couple of large flowerbeds, I've got quite a few tubs and containers to fill, I want lots of colour so lots of summer bedding plants will be going in!

We have probably been the only ones who have been loving all this rain in the last week. Newly laid turf needs masses of water in the first week to help it root so it has been great timing (just not when we were trying to lay the stuff!) and means we haven't had to do any watering ourselves.

Sorry if this has been a bit of a boring post for some of you, I felt like I had to write it though, one, to document it so that we can look back on it and remember what it was like before, and two, as it took nearly the whole of last week, it just had to get a mention! Although it may not look it to some people, it feels like a massive achievement and I'm so happy to look out of the window each day and see green! I will be even happier once it is all done and we can sit out and enjoy it, but I'm really pleased with what we've got done so far.

Anyway hope you are all having a good week and keeping warm and dry in such miserable weather! I have had quite a productive week this week designing  new cards, mainly fathers day ones, which have actually been really fun to work on. I was going to add some of them to this post but I've now run out of time and need to get some lunch before I have to go to the dreaded dentist! Back soon xxx

P.s I've also (nearly) finished my patchwork crochet blanket, hooray! Though it has shrunk to a baby blanket size - more on that next time! x


Pink Milk said...

It's not boring at all. As you say, it will be nice for you to look back on your blog and read this post when your garden starts getting more established.

Are you in a brand new house? We moved into ours ten years ago - it was new - and the 'landscapers' had laid the lawn over all sorts of rubbish and rubble. Consequently, it was always bumpy and patchy and never looked nice. Anyway, we have just gravelled over the last of it. Hooray!

Well done you - it sounds like it was a real slog. It looks super and will be worth all the hard work in the long run. Now the fun bit starts ..!


PS. Good luck at the dentist's. I find it hard to even say the word, never mind set foot in the place! x

Deborah said...

Your garden looks so much better, great job on the turfing! we find it is easier to do jobs ourselves rather than getting someone in to do it as we change our minds alot! Hope the dentist goes ok later sweetie, fingers crossed :)

Bee happy x
Have a delicious day!

Sconch Textiles said...

Looking good! Newly laid turf always makes such an impact :)

We have just had part of our garden done (trees taken out and others pruned) and it is such a big job. Have been meaning to get round to having it done since we moved in - almost 2 years ago!


Fimbly Boutique said...

Bless your heart...

We moved into a new build 3 and a half years ago, we only turfed the garden in november, we tried twice to create a lovely garden for both us and the kids but it just didnt work so we paid a gardener to sort out our HUGE money we spent, kids have oodles of fun in the garden and its more important than anything..
Will look forward to next instalment!

Mary Janes TEAROOM said...

Well done have lots of lush green grass now and you will have so much fun in the next few weeks adding your pretty pots full of flowers,
Hope you are having a happy week,
Susan x
P.S Good luck with the dentist..fingers crossed for you!

Linda said...

I have also been busy in my garden. It can take a lot of time and a lot of work, but you will be so proud of what you've accomplished! Your grass is such an improvement! Every time you see it, you will think it was worth it all!

.Rosa Lily said...

I love looking at other bloggers gardens (and houses!). A great job and I think so much more satisfying than someone else doing it for you.

greenrabbitdesigns said...

It's not at all boring, well done to you both getting it all down and looking really good!!
Now the hard work's over the fun can begin and just think of all the fun you're going to have planting flowers. :)
Hope the dentist went well!
Vivienne x

The Krafty Cupcake said...

You should have arms like Popeye! That stuff is back breaking! It is def worth it though as your garden is looking great and should be perfect for the summer. Sue x

Helen Philipps said...

I found your post really interesting, not boring at all!! All the hard work you both did in the rain was worth it because your lawn is already looking lush and green, the perfect backdrop to the flowers you will plant....and isn't that your very own potting shed already there too?? I look forward to seeing what you create in your garden, I'm sure it will be delightful. Hope some sunshine comes your way this weekend, Jenny!
Helen x

FourHappyBunnies said...

Lovely to see the transofrmation of your garden. In this weather, I spend hours staring at my garden thinking, plotting, planning.
I hope you spend many happy hours creating your perfect summer garden and enjoying the fruits of your labour xx

Jooles said...

Oh my goodness Jenny, what an exhausting time you've been having! but just think how beautiful it will look and as you say you have all the lovely bits to do now...can't wait to see it in a few weeks :o)
I don't think you could have laid it at a better time!
happer weekend
love jooles x

Dinki Dots said...

Good work - looking great! I don't envy you all that hard work!
Hope the dentist went ok, and looking forward to seeing your baby blanket!
Maria x

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caroline said...

Hi Jenny, your post wasn't boring at all, I loved reading it. The turf looks fantastic, well done to you both, it's such hard work but so worth it. And what a week to choose with all the rain watering it for you! Have a lovely time choosing all your new plants.

Love C xx

Sandra (Cherry Heart) said...

Lovely green grass! Much better :0

Sandra x

magie said...

Great job! It looks good. A few years back my hubby and I did the same (but to the front yard), so I know just how much work it is to actually do it. Do share a photo of your flower beds in the summer..I would love to see what you have planted :)
I hope the dentist visit went all right..I always dread going to the dentist as well ( I do a sigh of relief after each visit :P).
Have a nice weekend
Magie x

Alix said...

That's an impressive transformation - it's going to be so worth all that hard work in the end, and you've already got the satisfaction of all that lush, weed-free lawn to look at too! We've been doing the turf thing in reverse, taking up strips to make way for the decking, and they really are SO heavy! Have fun planning the pretty bits - I think you're going to end up loving gardening!

seo melbourne said...

Just a quick note to let you know that I liked what I read. Cheers!
SEO Melbourne

Landscape Architect Sydney said...

It is right to say that garden makeover is very necessary. I recently remodel my garden. Now it is looking much better than previously. Complete look of my garden has changed. Thanks.

Garden Furniture UK Company said...

You're very resourceful and creative. This project looks beautiful and it could be nicer if you finish it with a range of contemporary and durable garden furniture.

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Gwendolyn Reyes said...

Good job! Now it looks livelier with the greenery flooring it. Now you only have to add those flowerbeds for more varieties of color. I suggest you put some furniture too, so you can spend a cozy break out there every time the mood seems right. Anyway, it’s been years since the makeover, so I’m sure you already did the essential things to make this place more beautiful. Have a good day!

Gwendolyn Reyes @ Tapestry, NJ

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