Christine's garden Gardening

Weekend project and redoing the lawn

I have a huge large area in my back garden that is made up of two sections. One was destroyed by recent plumbing works and the other was previously reserved for my dog to play in and mess up to his hearts content. He has grown up and is a lot less boisterous and better behaved (well, a BIT better behaved), so its time to change what was called “Dexter’s garden” from a dumping ground to a pretty garden. We’ve also cut the trees back drastically to allow more light into this area so things might actually grow here now.

This area is the lower corner of the L-shape that makes up my back garden (sort of out of sight unless you actually walk around there). I thought I’d share some “before” photos. As you can see it really is very unattractive and quite a mess. To add to the messy look of it all, the existing lawn was destroyed by the plumbing guys (unintentionally, but unavoidable with all the rubble that was removed). The ground is now completely compacted and I am preparing it properly before I plant up new grass.

This weekend I’ll be removing a lot of debris, adding compost, moving some of the plants I want to keep (the Clivias and Nandinas) and then I will be adding the same plants to the two curves at the front of this border which I already have at the other end. Once I’ve done all that I’ll have a clearer picture of how much space I still have to fill and will work out how many plants I need to buy to fill the area. It will take a while to get the area planted up as the plants I’m wanting to have in this area are not all available right now. I’m tired of planting things just to “not have bare patches”. This time it’s all about being patient and waiting for the right plants to be available.

Before Photographs

[one_half]BEFORE the plumbing (it wasn’t perfect)Before[/one_half]

[one_half_last]AFTER – the area ruined by plumbingthe Corner[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The lower “L” – This was “Dexter’s garden”Dexters garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another “after the plumbing pic”After[/one_half_last]

Close ups of the compacted soil

On to the lawn … the lawn is a touchy subject with me right now because this will be the THIRD time it gets replanted. I will save the entire “lawn saga” for another post – but this time I am going to redo it by myself seeing as the previous attempts which were left to so called professionals have been unsuccessful. It seems that if you want something done properly, you need to do it yourself OR stand over the people who are supposed to do it and watch that they actually do it properly! (In that case, I might as well just do it myself!). The entire area is small. 15 m x 1.5 at the small curve and 2m at the wide curves (so +/- 30m²). “Dexters lawn area” is 2 x 4 m.

[one_half]Close up of compacted areaCompacted earth[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another close upCompacted earth[/one_half_last]

Digging, composting, revitalising

And now here we are revitalising the soil. Digging to a depth of 30cm (as the books tell me to), adding and mixing it with lots of fresh compost, turning the soil etc. Here are some progress pics.

[one_third]Starting to dig & compostStarted revitalising[/one_third]

[one_third]Half way doneHalf way there[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Contrast between Old & NewOld and new[/one_third_last]

So that’s my weekend gardening plan. Once I’ve completed the prep work I’ll document what I did. I’m working from a book and doing exactly what they say …

What are you doing this weekend in your garden? Anything exciting?

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

11 replies on “Weekend project and redoing the lawn”

Gee, Chris! You have been busy. I can see the big difference it makes to condition the soil. I must say, the compost we got is really great. Let’s see how it feeds the plants. I have Ben really busy designing and laying my patchwork patio. It’s looking great so will do a post on it. Just need to rest xxxx

Same goes here regarding the availbiliy of certain choiced plants. Most of the time, I’ve to make do with what they have or else wait for my favourites which may take years. I wonder why our local nurseries here keep on propagating the boring common faves.

The nurseries do that here too Autumn Belle! the same ol same ol all the time and we all end up with the same stuff in our gardens. I’m going to go look at some specialist nurseries again soon, they are a fair drive away but worth it to get choice plants!

hi Diana, i’m growing some from seed if I can’t get. I really would love an Acer Palmatum, I want a whole little “field” of Anemone X hybrid ‘honorine joubert’ – I have 1 and it loves being in my garden, and I love it and want more!!! I’ve only ever seen them at the plant fair where I got mine.
Then these are all on my ‘list’
Sambucus nigra Eva
Miscanthus sinesis
Nasella tenuossima (I have some seeds)
Stachys Byzantine
Heuchera (maybe)

I have other things on my list I am not so sure of too.
Flowers – I want to try delphiniums and digitalis, I want some creepers to cover those ghastly vibracrete walls at the back and I think I’m going with your indigeeous jasminum suggestion for that. (angulare or multipartum).

You make me tired! So ambitious – but it will be well worth it when you are through. And working the soil, too! You will have some very happy plants!

Funny you should ask. I too am doing some redesign in my yard. I changed the grass shape and made less of it. Perennials that were in the front yard ‘holding bed’ got transplanted out back. The front planting is new only last year, but all the plants were placed there temporarily until the concolor tree is removed, then the front will change too. Is the book you are following one from your class? Your conditioned soil looks wonderful.

hi Donna – I actually really enjoy thes “projects”. I’m learning so much about design and putting into practise and now can see how my previous attempts were so “off”. Amazing.
No the lawn was not covered in my course. I’m using a book by a South African gardening guru, Keith Kirsten and combined with info I found online, and then my own added ideas. (we’ve dug down 300mm as opposed to 20, just to be sure we really aerate and condition the soil well. I will do a post soon about it all.

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