It was a lovely weekend, which made a great change after the cold wet week. I would have liked to spend the entire time outside, but the weather and the builders being gone meant lots of people wanted to come over to see the house. So instead it was a case of fitting work in between visitors.
One of the jobs for the weekend was staining the fence. Stain doesn't go very far and it ran out half way through Saturday, so it was time to see exactly what the builders had left under the top bit of soil. I didn't want to start digging up the main garden area, and thought a good place to start was along the fence towards the house. The plan is still to make this a little enclosed shade garden, so it needs to be dug over, levelled and then paved (or something).
The first bit was fine, the ground was compact but nothing too bad. With people turning up for the evening it was time to call it a night. Sunday started with finishing staining the fence and then back to the digging. Sadly the bit by the house proved more typical of builders as we came across a brick, in fact quite a few bricks.
It turns out that instead of digging up the brick patio (which we think had a coal bunker on at some point), they just shovelled soil over it. To be fair it may have been buried before they started, but with diggers on site it to turn the soil over before they left, I'm not sure how you miss a brick patio!
On the bright side those bricks will come in very handy and it wasn't too much work to dig them out. Then they also protected the soil below, so there is no concrete mixed in. One aim for today was to set a final level for that part to the garden (the top of the manhole cover). The idea was to dig and level a strip along the fence to see how much it slopes from the house into the garden and how much soil needed removing.
I hoped that I wouldn't have to shift too much soil around, or dig through too much concrete. Thankfully it looks like it wont be too bad. There will be some shifting required, from house to garden end, but it will be manageable. Once it's all dug, simply raking should grade it nicely without needing more strenuous work. Not that my body feels like the last two days were easy going. It is going to take a few days to get back into the physical sides of gardening again.
The fun part is going to be avoiding the drainage pipes that run through that bit of the garden. The bricks will come in handy to mark out the pipes so I don't accidentally dig them up. Then we can get onto the real fun of working out how to plant it all up!