JCB Shape Shifting

JCB Shape Shifting

From 1991 to 2001, work on the garden was limited to planting trees on the field and otherwise undertaking landscaping around the house.

There were considerable problems with the house that needed our attention, so little work could be undertaken in the garden.  However, because of the needs of the house, we were able to construct the patio and decking on the inner side of the house as well as lay our landscaping railway sleepers around the front.  This was a time when railway sleepers were available at a very low cost if you we not too choosy over the quality of these second-hand timbers.

We were fortunate to have the Barrett Timber Merchants just up the road in Conwyl Elfed who had large numbers of different quality second hand sleepers.  We were able to purchase the lowest quality at £1 per sleeper.  As we were using these for landscaping, most surfaces were hidden so by careful choosing, we we able to construct a substantial wall all round the front of the property, which has been standing now for nearly 20 years. While some deterioration is apparent, we anticipate that there will be little need to consider any replacements for some further considerable time.

The Octagonal Conifer Bed at the top of the drive – circa 2004

 

 

 

However, most of the years 1991 to 1999 were spent working on the house:

 

 

 

 

  • Central heating
  • Re-roofing
  • Installing window cills
  • Re-rendering
  • Building the extension

Marking out the Four Square Garden - 2001

 

 

Replacing topsoil in the four sections

The Four Square Beds defined by topsoil prior to wall building

We had laid the basic architectural shape to the gardens with the planting on 1,000 ash, a further 600 trees of various sorts and were keeping the structu in place with the regular grass cutting.

 

 

 

 

It was however all that grass which began to drive the design processes to try and reduce the grass and create gardens. I began to revisit my original thoughts over where everything might be placed. The concept of different “rooms” was something regularly being talked about on all the gardening programmes. Evenings spent propped up in bed with sketch pad and pens led to the basic shape and positions of the first half of the garden down as far as what is now the conifer tunnel, the grand-children’s “secret passage”.

 

JCB skill set at work cutting the clematis walk

The Four Square Garden with a central feature was to form the centre piece of the garden. I had in mind the classic French formal garden. However, I also had a sloping field. I needed help and in the summer of 2001, employed the services of a JCB and driver to remove the top soil from the central part of the field, level the centre and then replace the top soils in the four squares that would make up the 4 planting sections.

 

 

The JCB was also used to dig out the bottom pond, which was allay a natural feature but which we needed enhancing. The JCB also created the paths that run around the lower parts of the gardens.

 

 

 

 

Once the JCB had completed it’s work, the serious business of wall building could begin.

 


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