Saturday, 27 September 2008

Behind The Scenes - Long Narrow Garden

About 10 years ago, there was nothing but grass and weeds around this old church building. We used to mow mainly weeds every couple of weeks in order to keep the place tidy, but it never did ever really look tidy.
The church was growing, and so were their needs. This meant that they needed some places to flow out into: for kids to have Sunday school and play, as well as a place to have tea and chat after the service. The existing paving was inadequate, and boring.

Initially we talked about extending the paved areas around the back of the building, but to do this as cost effectively as possible we needed to re-use the existing brick pavers. We bought some basic concrete flagstones, and used the brick pavers to add some detail. The large squares created, helped to reduce the scale and minimise the feeling of narrowness of the area down the side.

The next area that we tackled, was the weedy area on the other side of the building. The plan was to convert it into a low maintenance garden. The church building created a little bit of a problem, as it sheltered the area from the prevailing winds and therefore the rain. To solve this, we sloped waterproof sheeting into the areas that tended to remain dry. This would in effect, cause rainwater to run into the areas that would not get much natural rain.



We cut holes in the sheeting, and planted up the area with succulents, and other low maintenance indigenous plants. To hide the sheeting we spread decomposed granite over the top, and in between the plants.



The last requirement was an area for the children to play in. We considered planting grass, but this would have required weekly cutting, and in such a small area, the likelihood is that the grass would never have looked very good. Eventually a fine gravel was spread over the relatively small area. This was not the ideal solution either, as the children took great delight in using the small stones to block up the drains, and spread them around. It was also not the softest landing for children if they fell, but in lieu of anything better this was the option we stuck with.



This last week we returned to the garden to do a bit of a spruce-up, and to replace the gravel with artificial grass. It looks amazingly real, needs no water or maintenance, and can be played on without dying off in patches. This seems to be the ideal solution for this area.
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