Japanese Inspired Garden

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I have posted previously about the hedge at the front of my house, and I thought it was time to share a little about the garden itself.

When I moved in it looked like this.

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A fairly typical front garden with two bits of lawn, and rose bush in the middle of one patch of lawn (on the right). There is a wall with some mature evergreen shrubs in front in the left, and a raggle taggle mess of a hedge on the right.

It’s ok, but I wanted something more eye catching as the entrance to my house. I have a gorgeous Acer tree, love japanese gardens, and was given some books at Christmas that inspired me.

The first task was to remove the world’s scruffiest hedge, behind which I found the world’s scruffiest fence, which I gleefully kicked down (most satisfying!). I also started to remove the turf

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The turf was relatively easy. I used a half moon lawn edger to cut spade sized squares, and then dug out each square with a sharp edged spade, trying to take as little earth as possible. This was in March, so the ground was quite soft, which made it quite easy.

The hedge was a nightmare. There were multiple different plants, and as I wanted to plant a new hedge, I needed to get all the roots out. It involved lots of digging, and my trusty branch loppers (is that the right term) for cutting through the roots. I gave up with two particularly difficult plants and paid someone to remove them. For £40 it was money very well spent. I also made numerous trips to the tip. I don’t know if its just me, but I find taking things to be recycled at the tip really satisfying. Great to have an estate car to carry it all in.

I then planted my new box hedge, which is the subject of a previous post. I plan to cloud prune it, and recently bought Jake Hobson’s book to inspire me.

Once the hedge was in I levelled the ground as much as I could, weeded it and got laid some weed suppressant material, the thickest I could find. I pegged it down with some cheap plastic pegs from Wilkos. When calculating how much you need, don’t forget the need to overlap each strip by about 5cm.

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I got my blue slate chippings and Scottish cobbles online from Decorative Aggregates. They were the cheapest I could find. With free delivery. Though they did stuff up the delivery (twice!).

My gate was too narrow to fit the bulk bag through, so it sat on the pavement outside my house. Thank god for tolerant neighbours.

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Then came the hard work. At first I was able to split the bag and push the slate into my wheelbarrow. But once the slate level got lower than the wheelbarrow it was good old fashioned spade fulls into the wheelbarrow. Not too onerous though. All in all it took about 2.5 hours to do this side br />
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I still have the other side to do, and a bit of planting to soften the look, but this is what it looked like immediately afterwards. Note the slate is covered in dust from the quarry, so it looks very light.

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And after some rain.

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I love the acer and I am adding more black bamboo to create a screen outside my window so people walking past can’t see in.

Weather permitting I will be doing the other side of the garden tomorrow, and will post an update with the finished article.

And yes, apart from some help removing some of the turf, and paying someone to get rid of the stubborn hedge plants, I did this all by myself. I think of it as my outdoor gym.

And here is an update for the other side.

From this

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To this

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I even found a nice sheltered home for Buddha.

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And the whole garden looks like this.

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I love it, and have had loads of compliments from the neighbours already 😃

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