So, the garden has been an ongoing project since Day 1. A project that we have still not entirely finished…so for now, I’ll show/tell you how it started!
As with most houses in Blighty which share boundaries with neighbours, it seems to be that the left hand side of the garden fence is your responsibility. That way every one in the street has equal share of responsibility I guess.
The previous owner/ their tenants had obviously not been keeping their neighbourly promise when we moved in and the garden looked like this;
A tad open plan to the left hand side neighbour. Luckily, he’s a nice guy, but still, we saw it as an opportunity to make a good first impression (especially considering the noise and mess the builders would be making on our property for the next few weeks) and restore everyone’s privacy with the erection of a nice new fence.
Calling Father for assistance was the first job. Ordering the panels and posts from our local B&Q was the next – cue a 7am delivery courtesy of a massive lorry reversing down our (dead end) street on a Saturday morning and we were off to a good start of being everyone’s favourite new neighbours!
A very neat job, and yes, that is a bona-fide hanky tied into a hat on Father’s head! It was a very nice sunny day in May 2015 (and if you have read my post on our Master Bedroom you will know what fun I was having indoors)!
The rest of the garden was a bit more of a longhaul job. You can see in one of the first pictures, the back fence was a bit makeshift. In actual fact it was two fence panels with a big gap between, propped up against a whole other dimension of brambles. We thought it was a bit weird because both of our neighbours’ gardens seemed much longer than ours and the pole holding the far end of our washing line up was actually behind said fence panels, so Husband went on an exploratory mission. About 10 feet further back, in line with our neighbours’ rear fences, he found another set of rotted old fence panels and posts, so clearly that was actually the end of our garden. “Hooray” we thought! A bigger garden! Given that it is East facing, the bottom of the garden is where we get most sun, so we thought this was a huge bonus…
…Until we set about trying to clear the space and level it off! It seemed to have been used as a dumping ground for just about everyone. In amongst the bramble forest, we also found;
- 3 TV sets
- 1 single mattress
- 2 bikes
- 1 large rug
- 26 large concrete paving slabs
- 50 small quarry tiles
- Multiple bags of general houshold rubbish
- 2 chimney pot caps
- 2 animal skeletons
- And a mountain of soil, we think dumped there by right hand side neighbour when doing up their garden a few years previously.
Luckily, we had a massive skip out the front of the house for all the building rubbish, so we managed to get rid of the ridiculous stuff relatively easily. But at one point, our garden looked like this;
It was so bad it was funny for a while.
We invested in an incinorator bin to burn the stuff we could, which in fairness was most of it, so for a few months we mostly smelt like bonfire, and while this in itself started out quite fun, it soon became a bit of a burden. I remember one day off Husband had that Summer; I came home from work and he had been burning things for 7 hours, he looked like a chimney sweep from all the smoke and soot, and I couldn’t really tell the difference. I was not in his good books for that comment.
But after a few months of serious hard graft, all the rubbish was gone and we’d shifted – we reckon – about 3 tonnes of soil. The tiles and chimney pots we managed to sell on Gumtree, and the paving slabs ended up being pretty handy – a few we kept back for a base for the future shed, a few worked as a retaining wall behind the back fence, where a lot of the pile of soil from next door still stood, and some made a pretty shoddy temporary patio, which is where we left things for that year, along with some tomato plants, catching some rays in the corner of our field of mud!
I promise it looks better now!…