Adam & Sophie’s Amazing Garden Renovation

Adam & Sophie’s Amazing Garden Renovation

This amazing garden renovation was undertaken by our customer s Adam and Sophie. As total novice gardeners they have completely transformed their space. They have shown what can be achieved with a lot of hard work and research. The result is a garden that they can not only enjoy but are extremely proud of creating.

Written in their own words, read all about their experience below.

The background

We moved into the property just under a year ago and being a new building plot, the garden was just soil and rubble. We had no idea what to do in the first instance and just needed somewhere for our puppy to go out.

To start we just laid some slabs and turf to tide us over for the first year. However we knew in the long run we wanted some planted areas and sitting space but had no real plan. Then came the winter and with it the rain. The garden had no drainage at all and the first real rainfall flooded the bottom half of the garden and started to slowly kill the grass. At this point we knew landscaping the garden was going to be a big job.

Pond surrounded by grey boulders and plant pots with Cotswold gravel at the forefront.
Pond where garden flooded.

Everybody said the water wouldn’t be an issue and would drain away. Unfortunately this did not happen and 6 months later with having no rain for months the garden was still a bog. At that point we decided to take landscaping the garden into our own hands.

The land drain

Initially we planned to sort the drainage out by digging a land drain into the bottom of the garden to help with the excess water. In theory this would enable us to have raised borders with dry turf.

We began work and managed to dig a trench around 2 foot deep and around 6 foot long, each day we would take a little more out and each day it would just fill with water. It started to become apparent that we weren’t going to simply solve the drainage issue.

The gravel garden

After trawling the Internet for what felt like weeks we finally found an idea for the garden. The plan was to create a waving raised border using railway sleepers cut to different heights on the right side with a smaller sweeping border opposite using lawn edging.

Wooden sleepers creatinga waved pattern around the flower beds.
Wooden Sleepers

The hole dug for drainage would become a koi pond. Then in the middle we would use some beautiful Cotswold stones to match the front garden. We had already used Stone Warehouse for our Cotswold Chippings for the drive so knew they would be the perfect fit, we now just needed to choose items to complement them.

The raised border

The most challenging part of the garden was going to be the raised border made with railway sleepers. Although this was our first ever landscaping project we didn’t opt for the easiest option. Instead we used around 45 cut sleepers all at different heights to create waves which appear when looked at from different perspectives. We dug a small trench the length of the garden in which the sleepers would be placed and concreted in.

Wooden sleepers creting a waved pattern around the garden filled with pink and green planting.The main issue we had was each time we dug the trench it would fill with water along with the hole at the bottom. From this we knew we would have to complete it in a single weekend. One weekend we rented a water pump and drained the trench. We then laid a bed of gravel in the trench and started cutting and placing the sleepers in place.

It took us just under 2 days to cut and secure the sleepers and luckily as we had already dug a hole we had the border half filled. The outcome looked better than we had ever anticipated from such novice landscapers.

The pond

Once we had decided on the pond there was no going back. We amended the shape of the drainage hole so it was more aesthetically pleasing and added a few shelves for plants.  It was then lined and secured with odd rocks and off cuts of wood.

Pond surrounded by Cotswold gravel with a seating area next to it. Terracotta pots decorate the corner.
Pond with seating area

We chose Weardale grey riven sandstone which we sourced locally, to outline the pond.  This is because the grey rustic colour tones contrast beautifully with the golden cotswold gravel and match the grey theme running throughout the garden.

We had 35 of the rocks delivered in various sizes and placing the rocks took another day. We were constantly swapping changing and seeing what fits best. Luckily we had around 5 spare which would be used to create the waterfall.

Once happy with the design we spent another 2 hours researching waterfall features and then we began to fill the pond.

Finally the gravel

After what felt like forever we finally got to the stage where we would add the gravel. We lined the turfed area, which was now basically mud, with a breathable liner and had two bulk bags of Cotswold Gravel delivered.

We had enough decorative aggregate to cover the area in the middle of the garden and to create edging round the original slabs to tie it all together. The Cotswold Chippings where the perfect colour against the wooden sleepers and the grey fence. The gravel merged effortlessly with the Weardale Grey riven rocks.

Costwold gravel interspersed with grey paving slabs.
Cotswold Gravel

The whole garden has been brought together by the use of the Cotswold gravel. We even managed to add a few left over slabs into the gravel to create a stepping stone feature down to the pond.

Finishing touches

All that is now needed to finish the garden is to start planting. We are going for an alpine rockery theme in the smaller lower border. This will finish with a flowering cherry tree hanging over a bench and the pond.

For the larger raised border we have chosen a cottage garden theme, with plants such as roses, lupins and delphiniums. Around the pond we are opting for small flowering plants and grasses in little terracotta pots.

Garden pond with terracotta pots decorating around the pond. Grey fencing panels surround.
Terracotta Pots

The slabbed patio area will consist of small pocket collections of pots with such things as jasmines, acers, hydrangeas and climbing roses. We already have a small bistro set but will be looking to add a larger rattan outdoor dining set to enjoy summer bbqs.

The plants that were delivered from local nurseries along with the borders are starting to fill up nicely.

We are really looking forward to seeing the full effect of our amazing garden renovation over the summer when all the planting comes to life.

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