When we moved over here to East Anglia two years ago, we bought a house that had been repossessed. As you can imagine, the garden had not had a lot of t.l.c. Once we had settled in over the winter, I did some garden design sketches and then through the following two summers we set about improving things.
Part of the garden looked like this when we moved in:
First I got in some professionals to build a nice decking area in front of our french windows. They did a good job so I phoned them to see if they would like to dig up some grass and lay some slate. They didn't seem so keen on doing this manual work. So instead I set about digging out the grass in front of the kitchen myself and with the aid of a neighbour's wheelbarrow I moved tons of soil. Over the internet I then ordered 2 tonnes of blue/grey slate and this was delivered in two giant bags onto my driveway. This we then moved over the space of two back-breaking days, using shovel and wheelbarrow, onto the area I had cleared. We also had a flat pack shed delivered and we built it and painted it white to match the house. The grass-banked area was then finished with wooden edging and some hebe type plants. The end result is:
At the top corner of the garden the previous owners had started digging out a deep hole for a garden pond. However rather than finish the project they instead used it to just dump a chest of drawers (as you do?). When we moved in it looked like this:
I removed the drawers and filled the hole using the soil and grass removed from the area by the kitchen. I then needed to turf this area. On the internet I found a supplier of good turf about 20 minutes drive away. I called by to see it and tried lifting one of their rolls - it wasn't too heavy. So I ordered the amount I needed having worked out it would just fit in Mrs Troy's 4x4. The day I picked up the turf it had been raining heavily, doubling the weight of the turf. I drove back home with the turf VERY gently using the gears to assist braking. Then we laid the turf (more back-breaking work). Spare wood from the decking was used to make another small decking platform in the corner and we put a double seat/table combination on it. This area of garden was transformed as follows:
I think you will agree that the back-breaking work over two summers was worth the effort. We are now looking forward to an nice easy summer in 2009 just enjoying our revised garden. And when it comes to sell the house in years to come we should get back our investment of time and money.
POSTSCRIPT : It was remiss of me not to acknowledge all the hard work Mrs Troy did in digging out the borders and planting them.