Mark Stradling, owner of Mark's Garden Services and member of thebestof Bishop's Stortford, takes us through his small garden makeover.
My small garden in Bishop’s Stortford is approximately 60m2 in size and has seen a lot of use and abuse with adults, children and pets going about their daily playful activities.
I wanted a simple and practical garden but also a garden that everyone can enjoy, including me. In order to achieve this I had to strip out the complete garden and start from scratch giving my garden a complete garden makeover and being a gardener myself I knew exactly where to start.
The garden shed was old and had to go but of course there had to be some clearing away of items so anything that was kept in the garden shed went somewhere else or was disposed of. Then the bottom garden fence, this was also old and needed to be dealt with by installing a new locally sourced garden fence. I chose a type of garden fence called Close Board with wooden slotted posts and concrete gravel boards. Due to the garden being on a slight slope I felt I had to level it and the concrete gravel boards gave me the extra height required in order to add soil giving me a level and flat garden. The Close Board garden fence is particularly pleasant to look at and is very strong and the wooden slotted posts are a personal preference, again giving a pleasing look. The garden fence was then finished with post caps and a coat of medium oak preservative paint.
Next came the garden area itself. The ground was bumpy, the grass was patchy and the soil was very compacted. In order to rectify this I rotavated the complete garden to a depth of six inches clearing all of the unwanted vegetation just leaving pure soil. The levels then had to be addressed by adding four ton of good quality locally sourced top soil and finally levelled out. Every garden needs a surface and mine is the new lawn garden turf. The new lawn garden turf again is locally sourced and comes in 1m2 sections and was laid on top of the finely prepared top soil, watered in generously and left to grow. Newly installed garden lawn turf will, in the correct conditions, start to grow within a week and by the end of the third week will have established itself. To check whether the lawn turf has become established try to lift a corner of the turf, if it stays down then it is established and you can then cut it.
Even though this garden had to be practical I still wanted a border where I could add some colour but I did not want a “fussy” border just one that would fit in with what I accept as a garden that needs to be used, footballs, BBQ’s, paddling pools etc.
There are some very well established shrubs already in the border which I have kept tidy and that hide next doors fence so I kept them in. My main aim for the border is to have colour coupled with useable plants. Cut flowers are so expensive these days so I have decided to grow them myself. Herbaceous perennials are great for this and will give a great show all year round enabling me to have cut flowers for my home whenever I want to. These types of plants are inexpensive and will give me a good show of colour for many years to come without too much maintenance. Seasonal bulbs will give me spring and summer colour and I have planted Iris, Anemones and Lilies.
This type of garden project, albeit small, takes time to carry out and gardens are best not hurried. Each section of the garden, when completed, has given me food for thought and I have changed my mind several times as time went by, mainly because I wanted to make sure that at each stage, when the garden was finished, I could practically use it to its full capacity.
Below are a selection of images of the project, from initial clearing through to newly established borders.
Member since: 28th May 2012
Mark Stradling the local owner of Mark's Garden Services in Bishop's Stortford. I love to blog and give advice whilst creating Affordable Gardens - Luxury Spaces. As seen on Channel 4 Phil Spencer: Secret...