Sunday, 3 May 2015

First impressions...

Back in the cold and damp days of February, the project to revamp my front garden began. After a good three months, and not to mention the work I did last summer, the front entrance to my home now finally gives the first impression that I had hoped...

When I first started looking for a house, I was hoping for a Victorian or Edwardian home - something that had character. So, when I found this 1901 Victorian semi-detached cottage in my price range I was delighted. However, although the Victorian bones were there, the front entrance was really not to my taste.

As a reminder, here is where I started last June:

The picket fence was weathering at different rates, resulting in mismatched colours, the front garden was very straggly and even the lovely lavender had become very woody, and I was definitely not enamoured with the blue front door and expanse of pebbles in the garden.

In August I completed some essential work to repair the cracked and peeling paint on the window and door architraves - and taking the opportunity to change the colour of the front door. I also pulled out all of the existing shrubs (that had been trampled while I worked on the bay window) and started to plant the structure of the new garden...

August 2014

In August last year I started to get quotes from landscape gardeners to come and relay the path to the front door and side gate, remove the pebbles, build some brick garden edging for the window garden bed and a new garden along the front fence, and finally, lay turf. Having found a lovely, and reasonably priced landscaper, I then had to wait until February of this year to find a slot in his work schedule where he could fit in my work.

So, in mid February, work finally started. Here are the before pics:

From the side path looking towards the front fence

The old and decrepit side path

After a few days, the garden was starting to take shape. All of the pebbles had been removed and both paths had been re-laid with pale grey sandstone. My neighbours also decided to have their front path replaced, so we were able to make this a joint (and consistent) effort.

Paths complete, brick garden edging laid and ground prepared for turf.

February is not the best time to lay turf, so I had to wait another three weeks or so until the worst of the overnight frosts had passed before Leo returned to lay the turf. After much dithering, I also decided to paint the front picket fence - I had received conflicting advice about this, but in the end decided that I really didn't feel that the weathered wood look was what I wanted.

Two weeks ago we had a nice batch of dry weather, including a weekend - so I decided to make the most of it. Thirteen hours of painting later and the worst of it is done (part of the side section still needs another coat...but they are predicting dry weather tomorrow, so I hope to have it finished then).

A last bout of planting in the rain last Sunday, and the front garden is finally I just need to wait for the new plants to grow and fill out - but that will be a much easier task to watch and enjoy.

The After...

 The bay garden has two standard myrtles, some lavender and aquilegias (to remind me of my grandmother). I've just planted an edging of Japenese Holly - this is gaining increasing popularity here in the UK as it is very similar to box, but not subject to box blight which seems increasingly prevalent. 

The fence garden has a standard white lilac in the centre of the bed, flanked by choiysa ternata - these will grow into hedges that I'll keep clipped to around fence height.

The much improved side path

It took a long time to reach this point, but it is now a real pleasure to come home and see the difference...

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