Choosing your gardener/landscaper/own personal artist

Today is the day for the planting! I had some wonderful people come round and visit my garden to quote on the planting. All were very enthusiastic about the direction it was going in.  After quotes and ideas were tendered I took some time to consider a) whether I really wanted to spend money getting a contactor to do the job (doubt is forever present!) and b) who to go with.

I had an expensive quote, a reasonable quote,  a quote that never arrived as the contractor had such a lot on and also a contractor that politely declined the job as they felt it was a bit beyond their knowledge level, given that I had quite a defined list of ‘wants’/vision for the garden.

I have to admit that I also did take some time post quotes also to really consider whether this was a job that I could not manage myself. I did a lot of gardening book work and reading to see if I could suss it out … but every time I went to take myself to the nursery to order plants, I found I just had more questions than I did before.

So I went with the contracting. I am so pleased I did! I found that my new and improved plant knowledge meant that I could much more meaningfully engage with my plantsman when agreeing the planting list – which was a wonderful,  enjoyable process. We discussed ideas for plants and he made lots of great suggestions before submitting planting lists for me to check through and agree.

It was time spent just going through colours, shapes and textures of plants. A process being coordinated *just for me*. Much as with RTL (the landscaper), this process of bringing in expertise has been a creative one – much like commissioning artists – you want to employ someone you can work with on a practical level (including the ability to have a constructive disagreement), someone you can afford/who is prepared to work to your budget,  and also someone who ‘gets you’. Someone who is prepared to work to your style, provide insight and expertly shape your plans along the way.

‘Carpet’ down, nearly there!

Looking marvellous 🙂
Just a few bits to go now: archway to attach to pergola posts, a bit more gravel around the cabin, some decorative stone in the smaller circle, cabin guttering, lights… and then with that other thing – PLANTING – we are good to go!

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Hey, it’s ya birthday!

… I’m gonna party like its your birthday…

Just been doing that dance briefly in the cabin! Then just stopped to put my feet up and write this quickly before dashing off to rehearse for SuBo.

The day hasn’t been without drama: the cabin arrived earlier than expected which got me outta bed and next up we realise that they had sent  single glazing instead of double glazing and a few of the beams of wood were twisted. I soon gave up any hope of working from home whilst just observing and booked annual leave. Since then i have been in my scruffs, alternately lifting and shifting to help RTL, and ringing the cabin company to complain!  It worked though and although at one stage it looked as though we would not get the cabin done we have succeeded in getting the walls and the main roof frame up. I am hoping it doesn’t chuck with rain tonight wish us luck!

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It’s getting there! Sorry about rags in last pic, didn’t get a chance to take photo before we started having to cover the wood up from spitting rain.

In other news: the table and chairs have arrived. Delivery guy was great and will dig out his details to share and recommend to everyone. Also, we built the bike shed (while calming down from first telephone call with cabin company – where they refused to discuss before I wrote down what I was saying in an email!!)

Art Attack!

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No doubt I will eventually put up a photo of RTL (Roy The Landscaper) doing his thang.

Today however I want you to imagine him looking like this pic here of Neil Buccanen, whilst wreaking Art Attack on my garden.

Except for where Neil has a giant crayon, RTL had a can of blue spray paint.

And where Neil has a fresh faced, neat and tidy children’s TV presenter look… RTL was covered in mud and somehow managing to wear his beanie hat smurf-style, slid right back up and half falling off his head.

…And a final differentiating factor between the two men I suppose (you know, if you pushed me to say so)… would be that where Neil Buccanen was likely to have completed his Art Attack on a clean white studio room floor; RTL was working with a canvas of dirt.

Expect you want to know where this leading now, right?

Well this afternoon I came home early enough to catch an hour of daylight and tramped around a real *live* sketch of the garden plan. No more drawings on paper for me.  We sprayed blue paint lines on the earth to show where the boundaries of each element of the garden will go. This process is called ‘pegging out’ I think.

It was fun and creative!  We planned out the garden path for example, physically walking where it would go and imagining the how the boundaries around it would feel (such as the raised bed on one side and the patio on the other). If we didn’t like the feel of something, then we raked over the mud where the spray was to erase the existing line – and then sprayed out a new one.

Changes we made included making the raised bed more shallow in its depth, so that you could reach the back of it without straining in future when you come to tend to the plants there. Also a shallower bed meant that there was room enough across my narrow garden to put a path inbetween the raised bed and the patio (because when you want to get to the cabin you don’t want to be tripping over or creeping round furniture parked on the patio on the way to it, because there is no differentiated path through the space).

We also began to look at the conundrum of addressing the foot height difference in the ground level between the house and the cabin. I want to make a feature of the difference in gradient by having the lawn appear ‘sunken’ on a different level to the patio. This will look fab with the spot lights in the raised wall later. But if the lawn is a foot lower than the path that curves around it, then that presents a trip hazard. So you’ve either got to put up a low wall or rail… or put in couple of steps. Which is the option I’m going for. 

Finally, we also developed the path to be more organic and free form in its shape – I.e. of varying widths throughout its length. I think this will give a really nice, meandering feel to the path as it tapers into the garden and stretches round the lawn… before petering out into the gravel setting infront of the cabin.