Operation Garden Renovation #7 The Landscaping is finished!

Yep this is it, big reveal time! Although the garden is far from finished and we still have a lot of work to do, the landscaping work has now been done.

First of all a reminder at what the garden looked like before. Huge ugly conifers, shed and arbour off to one side and a dodgy uneven patio.

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Now though, we have opened it all up! We have a lovely wavy patio out the back doors and round behind the conservatory.


With a tree in the corner this is the only area of the garden that ever gets any shade, which is why we thought we would use it for the patio. We will (eventually) buy a nice new patio table and chairs out there as ours is a hand me down hubby got from a friend before we even met! It’ll do for now though!


The best thing about our lovely new garden is our new huge bit of lawn. We knew that the layout of the old garden made it feel smaller than it is, but in truth we had no idea quite how big the garden would look with everything gone. It’s huge! Yay!



Its still very new so we can’t walk on the turf at the moment, but when we can I know Monkey is going to love playing out there! We’ve deliberately not put any beds on that side of the garden so that he can have a big expanse to play on. I think the garage wall could do with a nice colourful mural at some point too! We will see what we can come up with!

So there we have it, the big work has been done, and thank goodness, Monkey and I have already been out there with his sand table and bubbles, we are going to have so much fun out there this summer, and I am dead excited about it!!

The landscapers have been great and done an amazing job, but there is still a lot more that we want to do to make it ours, Operation Garden Renovation is far from over!

The fences need painting, we have tons of plants to buy, soil to dig over and then the actual planting all of the plants. We want to buy some planters and some outdoor play toys for Monkey. But, well, we can’t afford to everything all in one go, getting the landscaping done has been expensive enough! So the rest of it will be done in bits and bobs, probably over the next few years, though we hope to get some more done this year.

So what do you think?

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Word of the Week – Gardens

This week in our house it has all been about



In truth it has been all about gardens for longer than a week as we started Operation Garden Renovation a few weeks ago now, but this week I am really feeling that it is overwhelming our life!

My last post about it was all about the bonfire, but in fact I am a week behind on the progress posts and the hubby and my brothers have since filled a huge skip with rubble from the 4 bits of patio that used to be in the garden. More on that to come soon!

We have been thinking a lot about the design of the garden, whether to go for patio or deck and what else we want to achieve with the garden. We have also realised that the garden actually slopes gradually towards the house and we may need some sort of step up if we want the lawn area to be level, and a better solution for drainage to avoid getting damp problems.

Because we think now that we would like a patio we have realised this is all getting beyond our skill level and have contacted loads of landscape gardeners to see how much it costs, timeframes etc. Of all of those we contacted, only one has come back to us! I don’t understand? Do people not want the work? Seems crazy to me! The one that has comes to us seems very good but it is looking likely to be more expensive than we had hoped and that it won’t be done as quickly as we had hoped. The deadline of a birthday bbq at the end of April is looking extremely unlikely.

On the recommendation of my friend’s fiancee (who is a carpenter himself) we have contacted another guy who is coming at the weekend and I really hope he can give us some good news!

We have more work planned for this weekend – another huge skip is coming tomorrow along with some heavy duty equipment. We are hiring a stump grinder  to hopefully make light(er) work of the 20ish conifer tree stumps in the garden, and cultivator coming to try and dig up as many of the roots of Ivy and other bushes so that it doesn’t all just come back again immediately through whatever we decide or manage to get down.

Hopefully by the end of this weekend the majority of the work we can do will have been done, and we will have a better of idea of who will be doing the rest, and when that will be! Then my life (and blog) can get a bit back to normal and less garden focussed! It’s exciting but draining as we want to be happy with it. We hope to live here for many years and don’t want to regret the choices we make in the garden and have to go through this all again at some point!

What is your word of the week?

The Reading Residence

Design Ideas for Operation Garden Renovation – Our Spring Project

You may have read that we have started Operation Garden Renovation this Spring. We had it in mind that we would get going with this project this year and with the sunny weather arriving, we have made the most of it and got out there nice and early.

At the moment it is all about clearance and creating a blank canvas we can work with. It was so higgledy piggeldy before and felt a lot smaller than it is. We had an idea in our head of how we wanted it to end up looking, but honestly, as the clearance has progressed we have changed our minds and are now uncertain of how we would like it to look.


Love cottage gardens

We have to think about how we are going to use the garden. While I would love a cottage style garden or an abundance of wildflowers, that look doesn’t really fit with the space we have, or what we want to use it for. We have a child and hope to have another. We need space for them to run and play and explore as they grow. We want them to learn to ride trikes and bikes in the garden. We’d love them to play football, or have a swingball in the garden. I love the idea of waterfights in the summer.

We need open spaces. A mix of deck/patio and lawn. With some beds of trees and bushes and flowers too.

We originally thought that we would like a large decked area, pretty much where the existing patio was but going off diagonally rather than squared. However we realised that that area is hugely sunny, and actually it may be better to have the seating area in the one slightly shady bit of the garden, which is under the tree, behind the conservatory.

We’re also wondering whether decking is the way to go, or to go for a patio. Not like the rubbish patio that was there before, but perhaps a curved path starting from the garage door, curving round past the conservatory doors, and opening out onto a large curved patio area. There are so many different designs of patios, with a variety of colours and shapes and sizes of stones.

Hubby really likes this circular design, and I do like it, but I’ not sure how you then lead that into a path around the house…


This is quite nice too:


 (Both the above Patio images come from Rose Landscapes in Peterborough)

We want most of the area to be lawned and then will have a few beds, and we would love to plant a few young trees, sort of spread around the edges of the garden, for a bit of privacy as they grow over the years. (Plus I have a hammock and I would love to be able to have a couple of trees to attach it to again! :))

We’d like some trees to give us some lovely colour and texture throughout the year. I’d love some beautiful blossom in spring, and some gorgeous russet or golden leaves in the autumn.

Perhaps a Japanese Dogwood for some nice blossom?

and a Chinese Tupelo, or Oriental Sweet Gum for autumn colours?


These are obviously rather large specimens and we will be starting off with much smaller versions of these!

Then we will think about bushes (love a nice hebe), get some spring bulbs in for next year and plan some summer flowers too.

LOTS to think about with this garden renovation. We are doing well on the clearance front (more to come on that on Wednesday) but I think we will need to get an expert in to help us decide on patio/deck and the designs etc. as we hope this renovation will be the only renovation on the garden and last for many many years to come. We don’t want to make a hasty decision and then regret it within a few years (or months!).

It is good fun though, we have got a real project to sink our teeth into, and a blank canvas so we can make our garden exactly how we want it to be… if we can figure out what that is!!

I am linking this post up with Iona and Jocelyn for The Theme Game, as this week’s theme is Gardens.

The Reading Residence

I am also linking up to the lovely Sara for The Prompt, which this week is all about Spring Projects, and this is very much our Spring Project!

All of the above images (bar one) were obtained from a Google Image search, I do not have copyright for any of these images and are merely using them for illustration purposes