To Grass Or Not To Grass, That Is The Tarmac.
So I thought I’d just give you a quick update on where we are up to with the mid century inspired garden. It’s been a long couple of months trying to get the tectonic plates into place that will allow us to get to the final stages but over the course of the next 72 hours we will finally have our pergola installed and a lawn. The latter of these two has probably caused us the greatest consternation as my partner was fully subscribed to the concept of astro turf whereas I mostly wasn’t.
The background to this is that the plot was originally a carpark (if you haven’t been following the blog you can see all the original images of the space in earlier entries). The main question was how do you lift and dispose of asphalt and what do you then do with what this exposes? The simplest solution was to buy fake grass and almost treat it like a big rug that we lay over the problem. For me however I’d know that it was still there underneath it all and that would jar with me.
So off I merrily went to get quotes to remove the asphalt and have it disposed of, assuming that this would involve several men, digger machines and skips. Little did I know that actually the entire process could in theory be done with just a pickaxe and crowbar. This realisation dawned on me when the first gentleman that came to quote gently tapped on the asphalt to test it and a clump just popped up and clean off. One quote for £460.00 later, a quick trip to the local DIY store and £20.00 lighter I was merrily hacking away at my driveway like a demented lunatic.
I’d say in total it took me about 8 hours to lift and remove 25 square metres of the stuff. Add to this the cost of the sandy loam, which is a preparatory soil mix that you lay before turf, and the turf itself, the total cost of the lawn will come in at £181.60. Of course there will then be upkeep to consider, which you don’t have with fake grass but then I feel there is a deep value in using authentic materials and honest design resolution which I don’t feel I would have achieved using the other route. At any rate, we're already quids in as the fake stuff was likely to cost in the region of £700.00 before fitting. We may treat ourselves to an automatic grass cutter with the savings!
My last blog focused on sourcing appropriate, well priced containers and some of the pieces I pointed towards are on there way to me as I type. One thing did occur to me however when revisiting the garden design and that was that I didn’t want to end up with a container heavy area, but do need space for the gunnera, banana trees and other giant species to spread their roots. For this reason I decided to be resourceful which is code for make things for free.
One of the benefits of having a mid sized van is that you can stop off whenever you see some good wood in a skip and recently I lucked out with a collection of roof joists. Creating raised beds out of them along the perimeters of the plot will allow me to train some of that fabulous evergreen Clematis over the fencing and hopefully soften the blow of our boundaries, but will also give me that much needed planting space for some of the larger specimens whilst keeping the over all design relatively clean. These beds are yet to be stained to tie in with those of the kitchen terrace.
I have moved the poly tunnel also as it was literally in darkness for most of the day as well as being constantly hit by wind coming down the side of the house. In it’s new position I rarely even hear the rustle of plastic, and It gets the benefit of early morning sunlight right through to about 3pm. Ultimately my aim is to replace this structure with an Eco Dome - ideally one that I build myself, however that’s a WHOLE other set of blogs! At £55.00 delivered, this 4 metre by 2 metre giant will do just fine in the meantime!
So what do you think? Can you see Improvements? It’s so difficult when you’re working on it day by day to stand back and notice change! All your advice so far has been invaluable and has and will continue to influence the outcomes of the area so please do comment and get involved.