Both the front and back gardens were so neglected that we didn’t even know how much land we had, in fact we didn’t realise at all that we had a ‘3rd’ garden to the side of the house.
Obviously our first task was to clear away a lot of the overgrown shrubs and bushes so we could see what we had to work with! With the help of lots of friends and family over several weekends, days off and bank holidays, we set about the dense overgrowth where we revealed 5 apple trees, 3 flowering and 1 fruiting cherry trees and a mirabelle tree all which we pruned back but kept in the garden, as well as a giant blackcurrant bush which unfortunately had to go as it was blocking the light to house windows.
During this process we were very conscious of the fact that we were stripping away at ‘nature’ and whilst we preserved as much as we could, a lot of it just had to be removed, it was too old, too overgrown and in the case of most of the plants, choked in ivy.
However, we always tried to make best use of whatever we took out. Every plant and tree that was removed was shredded or chipped and a couple of trees that had to be removed were chopped up for future use for the wood burning stove that we were fitting in the living room.
We sacrificed a section of the back garden behind the garage to become a driveway as the property had no parking at all, and for the hardcore base of the drive, we reused bricks and rubble that had been removed during the house renovations.
The earth that was dug out for the base of the driveway was put into another gigantic pile and was later used to fill the raised beds we created!
The huge piles of chippings that we generated from the overgrowth have since been used all around the garden.
Nearly 2 years later and we’ve still got a huge wood pile of fuel to burn!
After several weeks of non-stop clearing, we were finally left with a blank canvas on which to build our new gardens, at the front, back and side of the house!