With planning permission submitted, the focus over the past couple of weeks has been on the garden, whilst we’re waiting for planning approval to begin extension works. In fact, our garden has been a bit like Clapham Junction these past two week with fencers, landscapers, tree surgeons and tree climbers!
The wire mesh fencing around the back of the garden needed replacing with proper fencing and the wire mesh down the right side is rather hit and miss, if at all. However, conscious that we also need to dog proof the garden for the long term so Jazzy (our resident mini-schnauzer) doesn’t try a Houdini on us, it makes sense to do this work sooner than later to get the property properly secured all around.
We also got a tree specialist in to take a look as the back of the garden is like a wilderness so needed some taming. There were fallen trees and broken branches covering the whole rear section of the garden. Whilst we wanted to get it tidied up, the fabulous and mature garden is one of the (many) reasons we fell in love with the property, so we were also keen to keep what we could and take some advice.
However, unfortunately much of the trees, bushes and shrubbery down the back was dead or rotten. The other issue identified from the 3 large black poplar trees at the rear of the garden is that their branches are very weak, thin, and constantly break off. One was also rotten. Much of the branch debris in our garden was from these 3 trees, loosing their branches over the years. However, this wasn’t restricted to our garden either. The neighbours on either side have had branches from the poplars breaking off over the years and dropping down in to their gardens. Apparently, one huge falling branch (almost a tree in itself!) narrowly missed the neighbour’s glass greenhouse when it came down.
So it was with a rather heavy heart that we decided it best to take all the dead or rotten trees out, which included completely removing one of the poplars, as well as significantly topping the other two to avoid any accidents with falling branches in the future.
We’ve been gutted by how much greenery has had to come out of the garden, but for safety and future proofing in one go, it seems the right thing to do now.
Of course, the weather wouldn’t quite hold for us to finish the job, so it was a muddy pit by the end at the front and back, so looks like we’ll be redoing half the garden by the end of this now!
On the flip side of having to significantly cut the trees back, there’s now much more sunlight coming in to the gardens, so this should pave the way for more things to grow in the years ahead that need sunlight to flourish.
It’s likely over time that we will put more trees and the likes back in. I think once we’re in and settled, and we can see how the garden develops over the first year, we’ll then take that call on what is needed. I’ve purchased mature trees in the past from Majestic Trees so that’s always an option again. There’s also a beautiful olive tree that will need to be moved when we start the extension, so it’s possible some of the shrubbery plants like this at the front of the back garden can be transferred further back when we begin building works.
However, with the whole back of the garden now cleared, it made us rethink the landscaping. Originally we were keeping the overgrowth at the back, and putting in a summerhouse halfway up the garden sideways on. We’re now going to put the summerhouse right down the back with a fitness area in front. The base has now been created for this out of 8″ x 2″ timber frame, filled with 4 inches of type one compacted, with membrane and mesh overlaid ready for concreting.
There’s a gentle incline in the second half of the garden too, so with the digger on site Mac came up with the idea of putting in a recessed seating area with fire pit, flattening out the incline, so we’ve got that prepped too.
As boards were laid in the garden for the digger to maneouvre up and down, we’ve also decided that now makes for the perfect pathway up the length of the garden, so that’s now had type one compacted in place of the boards.
So whilst we’ve had to clear more than we had anticipated, I have peace of mind now that we’ve future proofed the garden for safety. The fences are up round the back, securing us in. And we also now have enough logs to last us a lifetime once the log burner is installed!
Once the fence is installed down the right-hand side of the garden this week, that’s pretty much us done in the garden for the time being, until we’re settled in and I can see what I may like to replant.