Monday, 28 April 2014

Starting to plan

Assuming I don't jinx it, we are very close to getting the builders out of the garden. This will mean that there is the whole summer to get cracking on the design and getting the basics in.  It is scary and a bit hard to think about at the moment as the garden currently looks like this:

View current garage door (pretty much face west).
As you can see it is not just all the builders materials, but the lack of fences plus the whole area around the patio basically being concrete (the joy of builders thinking that simply burying their waste is acceptable). The front garden is not much better and has a skip and another lot of concrete and broken tiles form the roof.  The next stage (fingers and everything else crossed)  is that the builders will remove all their materials and then bring in a mini digger to remove the top layer of soil leaving me with a flat, none concrete base to start from.

View from corner of patio (pretty much due east)
The whole garden project is a two stage process, we have lost a lot of garden in the build and the garage is now taking up valuable garden area.  Not only is it 4m deep, but there is a further 4m behind it that we can not really use.  So stage two is to knock down the old garage and build a smaller wokshop / shed (with a green roof) in the bottom of the garden freeing up a further 4m of space for planting.  So any plans at this stage will have to be done with that in mind.

So in stage one of garden design, there are two main areas I am interested in.  Firstly the little section down the side, which is 3m wide and 7m deep, so big enough to use.

This part of the garden gets the morning sun and depending on the planting along the fence, it will get sun until about 1pm.  We currently have two main ideas for the area; a Mediterranean style courtyard with fruit trees trained along the walls. This would make the most of the fact that one of the walls is south facing and it really holds the heat well. The problem would be that it means we have to use low planting along the fence line, so it may feel quite exposed. The other idea is to make it a more secluded shade garden.  Planting taller screening plants along the fence and then ferns and under-planting in the rest of the area,  creating a more lush place to sit.  This will give us more privacy, but will obscure more light from the rooms.

The second area that will be worked on straight away is the succulent bank I am planning for along the front of the patio and then going down the south facing fence. To give an idea of the size, the patio is 6.5m wide (5.5m available for planting) and it is 7.5m to the garage.

My thoughts here are to build an L shape bank along the wall and fence.  This would start quite sparsely planted by the patio steps, and would end more lushly planted by the current garage door.  If I have enough material I would like to build the bank to the height of the top of the patio wall. I have no doubt that all the agaves, yuccas and cycads will be very happy there.

The next few weeks will be spent doing some sketches and surfing for inspiration.  By which time the garden should be ready for me to start work.  No doubt I'll keep you all updated as my thoughts come together. Until then, keep your fingers crossed, that the builders do actually finally move out!

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