When we bought our house ten years ago we had a list of “must haves”. Five bedrooms. A kitchen big enough to put a table in so we could eat in there. A separate living room / play room for the kids. A garden big enough for a hot tub. The list wasn’t endless but it was quite extensive and it took us a while to find “the one”.
Then we realised that the problem with the last one was that whilst our garden has the ideal spot of a hot tub (tucked away behind the garage on a large patio area) it meant that the garden itself was also a decent size.
Perfect we thought. Ideal for three children.
Not so ideal for two adults who are not born gardeners.
Which is a bit of a shame because the more time we have lived in the house the more we have grown to love our garden and to spending time in it during the summer. What we don’t love however is the annual chucking money at somebody to come and tidy our flower bed, remove about a ton of bind weed, dig over the soil and leave us with a blank canvas on which to plan what to plant.
For ten years.
So when Mumsnet asked me if I wanted to work with Wickes on creating and maintaining borders, well I could have reached into my computer and shouted “yes, yes please!!”. It would be the ideal opportunity to finally, once and for all get the border sorted.
You see Wickes believe that garden improvements can make meaningful, and life changing differences to our families, and so do I. They also think that the garden is one of the most important areas of a home and now that I work from home and spend everyday at home, I couldn’t agree more. If I look out of the kitchen window waiting for the kettle boil I get really frustrated if the garden is ankle high, over growing the path and once again the flower bed is so full of weeds it just looks like a green extension from the lawn.
On the hottest weekend of the year so far we set about tackling the border for the final time. Heading off to Wickes with a shopping list of items we needed and then once back sitting down over a cup of tea to read their handy “how to create and maintain a border“ guide. As with all things, it is all about the preparation so we spent a good few hours digging up all the weeds, spraying weedkiller and then digging in topsoil and compost around the existing plants, before then laying weed membrane.
it is easy to think “surely we can just use cheap plastic sheeting” but that is really not going to do your soil any good at all. The woven membrane is designed to allow rain water to drain and let the soil continue to breathe. You stick plastic on it and, well, even I know that is not going to be good for the soil or anything else you put in there
Having laid the membrane we were then ready to lay our covering. We could have gone for bark chips but we have cats and I have a feeling they might quite like those so we went for slate chippings instead. For a couple of reasons, they look great as a contrasting colour and also as a nod to the Welsh slate industry near where Mr B spent many family holidays growing up.
By late afternoon our garden had gone from this:
For the cost of materials that we would normally spend on getting somebody to come out and spend a day weeding, we have actually sorted it once and for all. Obviously weeds will still poke their way up through the ground where the plants are growing but it will be nothing like it was before.
I had also picked up a lawn edging tool when I was in Wickes so I could also finally sort the bit out that I stare at whilst making the tea
It now gives us a proper blank canvas we can work on. Adding a proper edge with edging rolls and adding some more flowers and plants. We can finally see what we have and most importantly we have prepared the ground. We realised after being six inches away from the ground for a day that the soil is really poor, full of bits of rubble and stones and generally in a bad way. Having dumped twelve sacks of top soil and four bags of compost on it before we laid the membrane we have done our best to enrich it.
And truly made the garden a place we want to spend time in this summer.
I have to be honest and say I would have never considered going to Wickes, I thought they were more of a builder’s merchant, but I was really surprised by the range of products they stock for the garden. I shall definitely be back in the next month or two to get more bits to add to what we have now started
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