Story – A new build garden we designed and built in 2017 seemed to offer few initial unknowns and seemed to present a start from scratch. There was a hidden unforeseen that was to have as much impact as the many mature garden projects we have previously undertaken.

The initial plan was to use the existing turf upside down in the raised beds to quickly become good topsoil and reduce the need for skips and excessive extra soil and compost etc. However it soon became apparent that either the new soil ( as rubbish as it was) or turf( equally bad) had couch grass infested throughout it. We now have three options, pretend it is not there ( a preferred option of some) remove all soil and turf and replace (easily many thousands of pounds more..) or hand weed the whole garden space and integrate soil improver as we go ( then check at key points in seasons for areas missed…). We went for the last option and half way through wished we had gone for the second but it proved to be £1800 more as opposed £6000 more in costs if we had transplanted all topsoil/turf.

These soil works were undertaken at stages, as the different garden features were brought together at their various stages. First the network of raised beds constructed using block and lime render facing kitchen extension and natural stone when viewed from sunken seating area. The sunken seat was then built along with the main large patio and network of paved paths all built using Tuscan limestone paving.

On the far side a modern styled pergola was bespoke made to create an area to view the garden and relax, beside this a modern pent shed with large windows was constructed dividing the back garden from the utility side garden which was paved and screened off with trellis. Here was space for wheelie bins and full motorbike mechanics ( if ever required). A large practical space either way.

The initial planting has largely comprised of the key trees and shrubs that will grow to become the structure of the garden, this was designed around the gardens aspect and the woodland that runs along the length of the back garden. Trees with various tolerances of shade were chosen, along with their ultimate size and benefits ( colourful bark, leaf and flower…scent etc) The overall style was to both modern and fresh with a good mix of evergreen and deciduous. The woodland is almost entirely deciduous and so evergreen is an important aspect for year round interest.

Again and in keeping with the last 9 years, no skips were required for this project with only the old turf and several ton bags of couch grass root etc going to be recycled appropriately. so far the garden has matured well and proved suitably dog friendly and tough….so far.