Making a go of the garden

After years of having a smallish patch of grass in my smallish urban garden, I’ve made a start of adding some colour, height and texture. My garden is north-facing and a lot of it is in shade for most of the morning, so finding shrubs that might survive was tricky.

The large Dobbies garden centre nearby had a decent range overall but was disorganised and had few plants that suited the garden. It was also expensive. I trundled off to B&Q instead and, while having a much smaller range, found a few small shrubs there for about £15.

Knowing my limitations, I bought some ground cover fabric and pegs and some bark mulch too. This means less weeding in future, or that’s the plan anyway.

The area I’ve started with is between the path and fence – about 1m wide. My garden fork has a severely bent prong which made digging over the poor grass rather tricky and I swapped to a spade instead. The mower’s grass collection bin made a useful receptacle for grass and roots that were removed.

After a couple of hours’ hard digging and some raking, I had a vaguely level strip of ground to lay the fabric on. With a bit of cutting to size for the narrow strip to overlap under the main roll, I managed a decent coverage and pinned it down.

The shrubs were dug in as best I could, in a logical but not-entirely-planned-fashion. A cross cut in the fabric allowed them into the ground. I gave them a good dousing of water too. Two of them might be a little too close to each other if they survive!

I decided not to use the bark and will get some blue slate chips to cover the ground instead. The amount required though probably needs a bulk bag which I’ll have to order online.

My next plan is to plant some more shrubs at the end of the garden where there is some sun and which can give a bit of height and privacy, as the layout of the houses around me is such that there’s a fair bit of traffic past the waist height fence and gate. It will also make mowing the lawn easier.

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