Our Lockdown 2020 Garden makeover

As lockdown was announced in the UK we thought we would make a start on our front garden to stop us from being bored.

As we bought a new build, our front garden plot was a square of grass with a border in front of a fence. We had put some heathers in and some white stones two years ago, but we hadn’t prepped the soil properly so they were trying to grow in clay! Obviously they didn’t grow much.

I looked on Pinterest and searches for slate garden ideas. After a bit of research I knew I wanted a contemporary feel but with an almost Japanese twist. I thought I’d write this blog as I couldn’t find much on the internet for what I had in my head.

The beginning

First thing we did was shape the grass. I wanted a curve rather than straight lines, so we used a roll of cable we had lying around to try it out so we could get more of a visual idea. A simple ball of string would do the same job.

The black line is a rough idea of the shape.

I knew that I wanted quite a big border so I could plant some really lovely plants that would add character to the property. I also knew I wanted something pretty straightforward to look after so I did my research and wrote a list of possible plants.

The next job was killing off the grass in the border. We put weed killer on this area, and left it for around a week. We planned to dig it over but if we’d have known how hard it would be, we would have hired or bought a rotavator! We ended up buying one later on as the soil was just clay and bricks from the builders. It would have saved us a week and been much easier on our backs! You can pick up a rotavator for around £50 from screwfix.

Grass turning yellow after a week.

While we were doing this, we ordered a huge dumpy bag of top soil for our lawn. The lawn was really low in places and believe it or not it took the whole bag to level the lawn! We threw on some seed and watered it every day.

My husband levelling the lawn.
The grass looking much better.

Next job we rotavated the border and added in around 20 bags of compost. We removed any large bricks/stones and raked it ready for the plants.

Box ready for the water feature.

We decided as we were going for ferns, we would like a water feature. Luckily my husband is an electrician so we saved a lot of money on this. All the cables were added for the lights, some sockets and sprinklers.

One working water feature.

Time to plant. We decided to go for a variety of plants, that would mean there was a bit of colour all year round.

In the front section I added 3 camellias in between 4 West Country Lupins. Around the water feature I added ferns and grasses for a Japanese style feel. I also added some gerberas, purple leafed geraniums, dahlias and lilys. I put some lavenders around the edge of the curve to define it. I wanted mostly perennials (they will come back next year) but added some annuals for colour. We put down a thick weed sheet we ordered from amazon. Something like this https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0845ZM8Z4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_f.W8Eb8XEKMBF

Most things planted with weed sheet underneath to stop the weeds growing.
We chose charcoal slate https://www.stonewarehouse.co.uk/gravel-chippings/slate/charcoal-slate-chippings-40mm
A whole dumpy bag went onto the border.
A night view

I left a bit of a gap around the base of the plant just to give them some room to grow and for water.

Before
After

It took a lot of hard work but we love it and we have some many lovely compliments from people walking past. Most of the plants I won’t need to touch. The lupins, I need to deadhead them every week at the moment but that’s the only pruning. I did this all with no knowledge of plants or how to garden but I have learnt as I have done it. Now it is my pride and joy!

Most plants I bought from either Morrisons Garden Centre and I ordered click and collect at Cowell’s https://www.cowellsgc.co.uk. I also bought some really unique little plants from Northern Ark Nursery http://www.northernarknursery.co.uk/Plants.htm

OHIN

Steph X