The positioning of our house is rather silly. I’m sure when the planners were coming up with the plans it looked very pretty on paper, but having staggered sets of semi-detached properties has its disadvantages. We are at the head of the stagger and as such, at the back, there are houses either side of us and our adjoining semi, all be it with a little gap. This means our back garden gets very little sunlight, and as a consequence of this, can be rather damp.
For years we have tried various ideas to try to utilise the space.
We have had a go at growing veg. There is something rather satisfying about eating something you have grown yourself, and having grown up spending hours on end on the allotment with my Dad, thought it something the boys would enjoy being involved in. We had limited success because of the lack of light. We tried expanding this idea, by getting raised beds, working on the theory that the damp conditions might mean poor soil quality. This also had limited success, so we decided that we had given it our best go and our garden just wasn’t going to keep up in carrots and cabbages for the year!
The boys then got a trampoline, which took up a large part of the area. This was brilliant, until on very bad stormy night when it went walkabout into our next door neighbours garden – they were lovely about it, giving us a hand to return it to our side of the wall! We then re-sited it in an area that was less likely to be affected by a sudden gust of wind – touch wood it has survived since then!
The space though was largely unused, and un-loved.
Hubby and I made the decision we needed to do something with it, as it was just becoming overgrown – yes, weeds seemed to thrive in the conditions.
Now, our front garden is much bigger than the back, but is directly on a junction in the road. We have planted hedging along the border to try to give us more privacy – although a few years back, I had planted conifers thinking they would make a nice barrier when they matured, and when we were on holiday, some scumbag and decided they would prefer them in their garden, I was really annoyed by this, they weren’t expensive so it was more the time spent doing it. We are therefore now waiting for the replacements to start to bush out.
Last year I managed to buy some second-hand decking . Hubby wasn’t so sure about the idea of putting it together – he isn’t much of a handyman, but once he got started, he got into it, and it looks amazing. It sits at the front of the house, and is a lovely area to relax when we get some sunshine – I know in the north-east of Scotland that’s not often so we make the most of it when we can! The garden however looked a mess, with chairs, and bean bags, and the boys various footballs and games laying about – I admit to not being the tidiest person in the world, but when our garden is so exposed and every person who goes past sees it, I would prefer it to be a little less cluttered. We decided we needed a shed, just to put things away, to protect them from the elements.
This is when Operation Back Garden started to gain momentum.
Hubby has really worked hard to get things done. He has dismantled the small shed in the back and reassembled it in a corner of the front garden. I now have somewhere to put away the chairs – they might not rust over winter now! He did find a pile of junk in the shed, and a skip run will be needed to clear it out – it is amazing the things you keep just in case they might one day be useful, I think I inherited my Dads squirrel mentality of never throwing anything away!
The trampoline it then being moved – where it is positioned just now, it kind of blocks the back gate, but as its only the boys and their mates that come in that way, they don’t mind crawling under it!!
We have the bought a small greenhouse which Hubby put together, and has claimed it as his conservatory, moving a folding chair and little table in there. I actually think he dozed off in there yesterday with his book!!!!! We have positioned this in the one area of the garden that does get the sun for a couple of hours a day. I am thinking we might grow some tomatoes next year and if they don’t ripen, I can make loads of green tomato chutney – yum yum!!
We have also got a new shed – yet to be built, which can be an indoor/outdoor space for the boys. It will take a bit more preparation before this can be built to level the ground, so will have to wait until next weekend and hope the weather is dry. I just hope it goes together as easily as the greenhouse seemed to!
Once the main structures are in place, then we will decide what to do with any other bits. As most of the area will have been covered in weed control, I am thinking to just top it with either chipped bark, or chuckies – I think a decision will be made on that once everything else is done, possibly not until the spring!
It’s great to see the area finally becoming one that can be used for more than a dumping ground. Hubby has done most of the work, but the boys have helped, and I have been the best supervisor he could have asked for, supplying coffee and snacks with having to be asked!! I just hope we can get the main body of the work finished before the really bad weather is here.