Autumn Planting

Having lived with our garden for 6 years we decided to make it a bit more interesting. A bit less lawn, a few more borders, a wildlife cottage garden with circular lawns on different levels.

Before we started the garden looked like this

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Nice enough but could be so much more fun! We wanted more flowers for the bees and plenty of colour for us to enjoy. The first step if to mark out the areas. We did much of this in the summer so we know where the lightest areas of the garden are. Autumn is then the perfect time for planting because the roots get a real headstart – they will grow all winter (even though there is die back above ground) and they don’t need watering as there is plenty of rainfall. So in the Spring each plant has a well established root system which will mean a better display above ground (and little or no watering if followed by a dry spring)!

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Then, let battle commence! Because of poor access, a skip wasn’t an option so I have opted to recycle the turf into topsoil. And to make it more difficult, we have dogs so cannot really live without a lawn, so the borders were removed first and by hand (well, a spade actually)

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After approval from the dogs, time to dig it all over, remove all weeds and roots. Again, by hand. Rotovators can break up tap roots and increase the number of weeds, so I opted for the fork

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Then add a soil improver – dug in this helps with water retention and adds nutrients. Here it is before its been dug in. Looks delicious

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Then lay out the plants. I have gone for a good mix of hardy perennials and bulbs to give year round interest

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Assisted by one of my four legged friends! Then plant them up – they don’t look much now but come spring the borders will be full of colour. I used a fish and bonemeal fertilizer for the plants (good organic stuff)

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Then time to remove the remaining lawn (more spadework)

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Our garden is on a slope, so we wanted to create steps between each lawn. More digging to remove the weeds before raking to create the height difference. More soil improver and organic fertilizer. Like decorating and many jobs, a good result is down to thorough preparation. It’s very important get the base firm and level once it has been dug over and the weeds removed – it takes a lot of raking and a lot of treading. A final rake scratches the surface and gives the turf grass roots something to bind to.

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Now to get the lawn down – in this case it was immediately followed by plenty of rain. Excellent timing

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And now for the steps. I used reclaimed bricks using a good bed of compacted sub base and mortar. A bit of porous sheet to separate the base from the dirt

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And with the bricks laid

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So although I have a bit more to do with the hard landscaping at the top of the garden, I am really looking forward to our transformed garden in the spring summer and Autumn next year!

 

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Phil George
December 2016