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We have a lawn :-)


By samjp


Well its took a while but we’re finally there (mostly lol). Over the last few months we’ve worked our socks off digging over the lawn area, preparing it for turfing. As well as just digging to loosen the compaction we’ve also dug out a ridiculous amount of roots (mostly mares tail), which is what has taken the time (well that and the cement like soil surface lol).

Part way through digging the lawn we got completely fed up so went for a jolly to a local (ish) garden centre when I spent a slightly scary amount of money (then we went back a second time for a second attempt lol). I then followed that up with a trip (or 2 lol) to a GC by work. I also managed to find 2 big half whisky barrels (well 1 whisky one wine) from an online supplier. Most of what we brought was intended for the house patio which is north facing so gets a fair amount of shade. Planted up I’m quite pleased with the effect (everything has already really filled out from these photos):

Campanula glomerata alba and Begonia semperflorens

Acer Ornatum

Heucherella Sweet Tea

Left to right: Heuchera Cherry Cola, Begonia Go Early, Astrantia Major Sunningdale, Begonia Go Early and Heucherella Sunrise Falls

Left to right: Geum Eos, Begonia Go Early, Astrantia Major Rosea, Begonia Go Early and Heucherlla Brass Lanterns

Bamboo fargesia in a BIG half whisky barrel

Bamboo (not sure of the type) in a half wine barrel

Corner by the back door

Other patio corner

I’ve still got the one little wooden planter to fill, just need to decide what with. As I want something tall ish I’m struggling some.

Well anyway back to the digging. We finally got close to the end (I wasn’t convinced we would lol) where we started talking about the planned herb bed. We had been thinking about having a herb wheel but I hadn’t been convinced it would fit with my plans for the border. Well as we had dug out a huge amount of bricks (still not convinced the house wasn’t growing an extension lol) we started playing with shapes:

We both quite liked this so decided to run with it. Since we’ve got such a problem with mares tail we decided to dig it out quite deeply, build the raised border, use a weed control membrane on the bottom of the bed and fill it with fresh soil. All the spoil from the hole I sifted through a 10mm riddle (oy vey its work on the arms). But the end result (complete with a selection of herbs) looks quite good (though I say so myself)

At this stage I think we had spearmint, curry plant, rosemary, bay, variegated thyme, broadleaf thyme, lemon balm, blackcurrant sage, purple sage, common sage, French tarragon and feverfew. We’ve since added lemon scented thyme, marigolds between the thyme in front of the bed, a bronze fennel to the one side, a fennel on the other side, pineapple mint, majoram and a pretty one whose name escapes me. We’ve also got carrots growing in the front of the bed.

It was about this point I got very excited and opened a bottle of wine :-)

Before we put the lawn down we decided to plant a tree in one of the planned borders. So one evening after work we spent a ridiculous amount of time planting a Eucalyptus gunii

(not the best photo – sorry)

I ummed and ahhed loads before getting this tree. But as we said what the heck its gorgeous and if it gets too big for its boots we can always take it out.

Anyway, I’m sure your getting bored now and wondering when on earth I’m going to reveal the lawn. Well without further ado (and only one cut finger) here it is:

View from the chairs by the house

View from the path by the garage

I keep finding myself just standing and grinning at it. Laying the lawn made such a huge difference to the garden.

As well as all that I talked my brother and cousin into helping out by painting the garage and strimming the front lawn (it may have been a tad long lol). We’ve also started painting next doors falling down fence (so at least it is less of an eye sore), put up a rose arch over the path (no photos yet though) and started digging over the remaining borders. Still got borders to finish and hopefully the chippy will show up sometime this week to put in a new door and window in the garage (both are in a terrible state) and put up a pergola over the patio by the garage (I’m thinking about growing a grape vine over it). Oh yeah and we’ve been growing tomatoes, salad leaves, radish, carrots, coriander and the amazing fenugreek which was grown from supermarket herb pot (the type intended for use in food rather than for growing) 4 years past its date lol. I’ve then got masses of plants to put in and the plants I’ve taken from nans to move (I’ve got part of a peony, some London’s Pride, a Japanese Anenome, a Geum and a tiny Heuchera). I’ve also got Grandad’s rose in the front garden to move later on in the year when its dormant. I’m really pleased with it though, its got 2 flowers at the moment. My OH’s mom thinks it could be Queen Elizabeth (planted over 30 years ago by my grandad)

Finally just to keep myself busy (lol) I’m growing a few different things from seed. I was amazed at how many verbena bonariensis germinated, think I’ve got about 40 plants. Now if I can just get them to bush out a bit…. My star plant from seed though has got to be this Malva (so far)

I’ll leave it there for now, since I’m bound to have bored you senseless lol. If you’ll excuse me I’m off to grin at the garden for a bit lol (or dig).

More blog posts by samjp

Previous post: Fed up now

Next post: My poor Eucalyptus



I love what you have done, the contours will really give in depth and draw the eye in different directions as the planting takes shape.

21 Jul, 2014


Absolutely love the paving with the slate in between. Quite sure the garden will look fab when you have it planted up.

21 Jul, 2014


I love the idea of you standing around grinning at it all, and who can blame you - after all that hard work and planning its surely time to stand back and cheer yourself. It has really paid off. Talk about a transformation scene! The lawn looks wonderful and so do your troughs.

(Watch that lemon balm though, it will want to take over the bed.Mine is two feet tall and now about 18" across. Have you tried making tea with it? One sprig in a cafetiere and half fill with boiling water. Its very calming and tastes lovely when you're tired.)

Have you Googled the rose? I think Queen Elizabeth is paler pink than that one.

21 Jul, 2014


Thanks Denise and Wendy. Hoping it will look good when planted. We dug about another 10 foot of border yesterday and improved it (nearly ran out of compost again now), then spent several hours playing with plants. Quite like how I've placed some of it, but not sure about the rest yet. Think maybe I need to finish digging so I can see how it all works before I plant. Its amazing how many plants I've got.

Thanks Stera, lol hard work its definitely been, still getting to the fun stuff now. No we've not tried lemon balm tea, I'll give it a go one of the days. The mint we planted in 2 ltr pots in the border to try to contain them, but didn't realise the lemon balm was the same. May dig it up and plant it in a pot in the border. Thanks for the warning.

I have googled the rose and it looks about right to me, but you can never really be sure with how the colours come out on different photos. It seems paler to me in reality than how its come out in my pictures. I don't suppose it really matters, would just be nice to know.

22 Jul, 2014


If your rose is paler than your pics its probably QE then.
The lemon balm doesn't run like mint it just makes a big clump and is quite tall when it flowers. It does seed around a bit but you can keep it under control. Its better in the ground than a pot really. Just give it a bit of breathing room, don 't put it right next to something small, and be prepared to split it after a while.

22 Jul, 2014


Thanks stera the lemon balm might be ok there then. Just have to keep an eye on it. I'll add it to the list lol.

22 Jul, 2014


What a transformation Sam! No wonder you have a smile on your face ... all looks lovely. :o)

24 Jul, 2014


Thanks Shirley. Not far from complete (well as complete as a garden ever is) now. Largely waiting on other people - so frustrating lol.

26 Jul, 2014


Oh yes, I know that feeling ... we waited ages for our little Summerhouse to be built ... it was all stacked up in pieces for ages! Worth the wait though ... are you having to water everything in this hot weather? Both the water butts are empty so it's hosepipe to the ready for all the pots ... that should put the water bill up ... :o(

26 Jul, 2014


Frustrating isn't it.

Yep I'm spending most nights running round with a hose pipe. Last week was becoming a real struggle to keep everything watered with how hot it was. Not complaining though - loved the sunshine :-)

I'm really glad we're not on a water meter. I dread to think how much it would've cost. We are getting a water but, but until the garage and pergola are done we can't install one.

30 Jul, 2014

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