Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Re-landscaping the garden!

The bare bones - what we started with!
Looking up the garden in September
Gardening and garden design has always been a passion of mine, and landscaping is a frequent feature of my thoughts at present as we slowly plan what we want to do with a fairly ‘new’ garden.
Here are some pictures of the ‘‘raw material”...a steeply sloping south-facing plot over lava rock, exposed to sea breezes! - interesting indeed, but quite a poser!

Now that I have begun to become really familiar with the plot, already basically quite  nicely shaped by our predecessor in the flat, it is time to make it a bit more practical, so the hard landscapinghas to receive some serious attention! The top pathway outside the back door needs completely rebuilding as it is not only unsafe, but as it consists of myriad levels of haphazard paver shapes, it is extremely frustrating….how I look forward to popping a couple of folding chairs on our own little patio outside the door and raising a shady parasol umbrella at a moment’s notice in order to enjoy a sunny siesta or morning coffee!

My Pinterest board “ Gardening and Plants”  is especially useful here, as it promises to supplement my already well stocked gardening book library really well. Even this morning I’ve added some more ideas, as I DON’T wish to go down the road of Major Works (so I realise I will have to work with the existing 'lumpy and porous' lava rock beneath), or too many labour - intensive species!  The emphasis needs to be on DIY and low maintenance, while keeping lots of interest!

A retaining wall is certainly going to be necessary below our planned patio, so  I think some of the articles I “pinned” on to my board diy projects had become absorbed into the back of my mind, when I decided that we should make up our own paving slabs out of concrete...this way we could make interesting shapes around existing plants, a bit in the style of this garden , ending up hopefully with a lovely design along these lines!
Here are some photographs of some of the slabs we have been making, showing how this shape allows us to plan and re-design as we go along, fitting the hexagons together, 'steering' around existing planting, and allowing spaces for new planting...exciting times!

The latest hexagonal paver, skirting the lilac bush!
A very large lilac bush had been heavily cut back in our garden by a predecessor, and is now beginning to recover in the picture on the left .  Yes, it's very near the house, but my plan is to let it grow tall, thin it out, then allow a white clematis montana to grow up through the branches...can't wait!

Here you can see the awkward dimensions of the pathway outside the back door, and developing buddleas awaiting replanting.

It's an interesting process , designing a garden - a bit like painting with plants and trowel!  Often I will sit for hours, pencil and notebook in hand, looking at the space and thinking of possibilities and shapes!
I’ll never forget watching my (then small) son steering his tricycle around and around a much loved garden I designed over a number of years, in and out of the rose area, round the garden shed and the sand pit (we had made a big one with a cat proof cover!), sometimes appearing around a corner, before disappearing behind the  water butt….etc etc! I think he must have enjoyed it, as he became very good at steering, and would spend hours at it!

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