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B&Q Unloved Gardens feedback thread. Non-testers: add your unloved garden comments - £150 voucher to be won NOW CLOSED

(587 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Jul-13 12:20:13

This thread is for the 20 Mumsnetters who have been chosen by B&Q to revamp their unloved garden.

Those selected have been sent a B&Q giftcard to buy the things they need to give their unloved garden a makeover. They're working to complete the makeover by the 28th, and will be keeping us up-to-date on how their revamps are going on this thread as well as posting photos.

Please do follow their stories and add your own comments if you want to show some support!

Below are the questions we'd like testers to answer but please feel free to add your own comments too. Please give us a bit of info about the garden you're revamping and what you plan to do with it in your response.

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?
- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?
- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?
- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?
- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?
- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?
- Have you had any feedback on what you've done with the garden from family/friends? Has the transformation had a big impact on you and/or your family?

If you're not an official tester but would like to be in with a chance of winning a £150 B&Q giftcard, please post on this thread to tell us about your own garden revamp successes (or failures!) - we'd love to hear from all MNers who have a garden makeover story to share!

Thanks very much
MNHQ

lissieloo Wed 10-Jul-13 13:30:50

We have just been and spent our giftcard, it came to £301.50 and is being delivered on monday. I can't wait to get started. Will do a more indepth post when I get home.

Roma2013 Wed 10-Jul-13 13:51:40

Roma checking in...

1. Why unloved (garden, not me) and what's stopped us renovating do far?

It's an ugly concrete jungle. Used to function as a car port for previous owners and has a hardcore base and an old garage door. We did hire a Kanga drill once to try and make a dent in it (fantasies of lush lawn). Looking back, I can now see the funny side... Suffice to say, 10 years later...it's still there.. The other legacy was the garage door which we tried to disguise, along with the breeze blocks, by painting them white. They're now peeling (have stomached this for the past couple of years by relabelling them 'distressed). Money's been the main inhibitor to date.

2. Inspiration?
Homes and Gardens Magazines and a whole load of books collected along the way which fuelled my fantasy of a verdant English courtyard. Friends have offered advice too.

3. So far, I've researched B&Q online and chosen three types of pavers I'd like. Can't do anything until Monday when I shall go and view them at our local store. Bit concerned that the colour online may be different in RL, so I'd like to check this. Next week, aim to paint back gate too.

How do I upload a pic? (am using an iphone)

Cremolafoam Wed 10-Jul-13 14:20:28

Hi all marking my place. It is very hot today so mostly just looking at garden and planning. I am going out later with the first thing I have bought which is some resolva weed and grass killer. I am going for a scorched earth policy and killing everything in our small patch before starting !
I would mostly like to invest long term in plants so will be going for lots of hardy lavenders and hard herbs.
Will add some before pics later
Gift card just arrived this morning- thankyou!!

Marking my place so I can find thread later. Will come back and answer questions once the DC are in bed.

BeehavingBaby Wed 10-Jul-13 18:31:35

Hello. Not spent a penny yet! The actual make-over will probably happen 27/28th July (a bit last minute) as I will need my mum to help (I am useless at this sort of thing) so it will be hacking and crushing the jungle into submission initially. Plus splashing lots of chemicals about any time my (organic grocer) husband's back is turned blush.

What are the video-ers video-ing? I did totes adorbs intro videos of the girls all wrapped up in towels just after they got out of the paddling pool, discussing their hopes and dreams for bluebells to grow under the hedge (more specific than I expected) but when I played them back they were wriggling so much they kept flashing so back to square one with that.

I think you can only post one pic at once so I will quickly do the next few posts as 'before' pics. They were taken on the last dull day to add a extra sheen of depression and neglect grin

BeehavingBaby Wed 10-Jul-13 18:32:30

Front square - just tidy?

BeehavingBaby Wed 10-Jul-13 18:33:59

Side of house - bike track at the moment. Major weed, and some big plants down the side? Girls resistant to buddleia destruction, apparently it is the fairy house hmm

BeehavingBaby Wed 10-Jul-13 18:37:26

Also need to replace most of the panels, that is one of only 2 nice new orange-y ones, from B and Q naturally smile. The other 7 are falling off, and yes that is a propped up double mattress in the distance, tres shameless.

Main bit I would love to be more loved:

BeehavingBaby Wed 10-Jul-13 18:39:34

I thought the writing went above the picture, the colon doesn't make sense there, never mind.

Would also like to do climbers down the side of the garage too, on wire rather than trellis to save money? It is a west facing wall, don't know if anyone knows what to put there?

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

We moved in over a year ago and thought we'd get the inside of the house done before touching the back garden.
Well the inside still isn't finished, but something needs to be done about the dumping ground/jungle so that we have somewhere to sit and enjoy watching the children play
To be honest lack of funds has prevented us from doing something sooner.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

My favourite book as a child was 'The secret garden', I've just finished reading it to DD and we love the idea of creating our own mini version.

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?

No, we'll be doing this ourselves, me and DH.

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

I did my shopping online and planned to reserve and collect, called B&Q and asked I they could keep my order until the gift card arrived.
The man on the phone was very helpful and said they could keep it until the weekend for me.
A further phonecall to find out about delivery was very positive, chap said simply come in and pay with your gift card and we'll have it delivered for you ASAP. I'm very impressed with the customer service so far smile

- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?

Yes, have been watching the YouTube tutorials.
Very useful and informative. Easy to follow for novices like me.

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?
Not sure really, so far have been very helpful.

- Have you had any feedback on what you've done with the garden from family/friends? Has the transformation had a big impact on you and/or your family?

Just getting started, so will answer this later.

I've attached a 'before' photo.

BeehavingBaby Wed 10-Jul-13 18:43:27

Last post - had a slight set back today when I sliced through the hedge trimmer cable half way through the hedges. I (along with all females to whom I am related) seem to do this more than 50% of the times we trim the hedge, whereas DH never does it. Never been electrocuted but hoping my dad will be able to fix it at the weekend sad.

Hmm, my garden is upside down. hmm

hackneyzoo Wed 10-Jul-13 21:01:00

Just got the vouchers today and we made a start at clearing the area over the weekend. I've got all my dates mixed up and we are off on holiday a week on friday, I'm working during the day and over the weekend, so this is quite a bug family effort to get it done on time.
So far so good though. Am completely shock at how easy it is to spend £320!

Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

We live in a terrace with a back yard and small front garden, we moved in two years ago and just haven't had the time or money to do anything with the space.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

Since we haven't had the funds to do it , I have been looking at our neighbours' gardens and gardens int he surrounding areas. I like the idea of attracting bees and other insects and I like a slightly
wild and unkempt look (as thisis how it will end up looking anyway!)

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?
A friend who is a zooloigist has taken an interest and suggested plants and design and that sort of thing. A bloke from B and Q heled answer our questiosn about building a raised bed.

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?
The staff were helpful, the B and Q was enormous. We thought it would be difficult to spend the money... it wasn't!

- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?
A member of thier staff gave us some advice and will have a further look at thier website.

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?
It took a while to be served, but it was a busy store.

OpheliaBumps Wed 10-Jul-13 21:28:09

Just got my gift card, and have started buying some of the stuff I need. So far I've got stuff to de-algae the fence, fence paint, lawn treatment and a rather gorgeous oleander (it was the last one in B&Q & I didn't want to miss a bargain plant purchase, will buy the rest of my plants nearer to the end date).

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?
We moved in to our new build when I was heavily pregnant with twins, and there was never time for the garden, it always got pushed to the bottom of the list. We managed to put in a few plants, but haven't maintained them very well, and we've added a lot of outdoor toys for the twins. I want to turn it from a play area for the kids to a space the whole family can use - some plants to appreciate, somewhere to sit, and a split between the play and family areas.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?
Inspiration comes from previous gardens I've created, I want to add in some of my favourite plants, so there is something to attract me to spend time outside.

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?
It will be DH & me doing the revamp, with a little help from the kids grin. DH is on a stag do this weekend so I'll be doing a big chunk of the work on my own then.

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?
So far they've been lovely, really helpful. DH really really wanted an oleander, they're his favourite plant, and I said B&Q wouldn't have anything as unusual as that, I was expecting the plant selection to be more mainstream. I had to eat my words when we found one solitary oleander in stock today, a lovely example which is about to flower (desperately hoping it holds off till I'm ready for taking photos).

- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?
Not yet, as my plans don't really need any skills I don't already have.

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?
When I go to choose the plants, it would be good to have some advice on what I'm choosing, simply to save me reading every plant care label to work out what is suitable for me & what isn't.

OpheliaBumps Wed 10-Jul-13 21:36:22

The playground!

OpheliaBumps Wed 10-Jul-13 21:40:29

The boring, algae coated fence & lack of plants

OpheliaBumps Wed 10-Jul-13 21:43:56

and more of the same, unloved fence & non-existent plants

OpheliaBumps Wed 10-Jul-13 21:48:18

and finally, another shot showing some of the outdoor toys, to show how little space there is for us to use as a family

Not a tester but having a bit of a garden fail....

Invested in new planters to brighten up our spartan garden. Lovely.

Planted plants in said planters. Lovely.

Bizarre overly hot weather happens while we are on holiday and plants get scorched and die. Boo.

There's a lot of dead, blackened mint plants staring in my window at the moment..... wine

OpheliaBumps Wed 10-Jul-13 22:16:38

Oh no mrscumberbatch, poor you! I'm not planting anything just yet, it's far too hot to risk it at the moment.

I hope you didn't spend too much on your plants?

We spent about £60 Ophelia which isn't too bad- could have been a lot worse!

We'd spent a day at DP's GP's who'd given us some lovely cuttings from their garden as well..... (saved us a fortune but feel so guilty about it knowing that it's all gone to waste.)

Luckily we are better parents than we are gardeners so all is not lost wink

Openyourheart Wed 10-Jul-13 22:31:34

Hello!
Gift card arrived today and so far I have bought an incinerator to burn a whole pile of garden waste. I also hired a skip for all the stuff that you can't burn (skip not from B&Q). The skip is now full and I had a fire going all day. All the rubbish is now gone.

I think I'll try to answer one question each time I post so here goes.

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

I have a big garden and this bit is a part that I used to keep chickens on. I had a large walk in run and the weeds grew up behind it. The chickens are no longer with us so it is time to do something else with the space. The photo is after I sold the chicken run on ebay.

Openyourheart Wed 10-Jul-13 22:35:05

This is what it looks like today. Note the B&Q incinerator that I have used for the smaller bits of wood.

Now I'll answer another question.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

Mainly from watching Gardener's World and Beechgrove Garden.

Openyourheart Wed 10-Jul-13 22:59:19

Oh, second part of question.

The style I'm going for is a vegetable plot. Not sure how it will look until I have done some more ground work.

Cremolafoam Wed 10-Jul-13 23:05:18

Evening all. Just had a 'planning meeting' with dh and also made a bit of a shopping list. here is a couple of photos of our patch. Grim isnt it?blush
Ophelia yours looks like an After Picture already.

Cremolafoam Wed 10-Jul-13 23:06:55

with cat. who is obviously raging as I am going to be taking away her personal bathroom. angry

Cremolafoam Wed 10-Jul-13 23:14:42

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

we simply have not had time. Dh has been unwell and dd has been doing exams . I have only managed to look after the back garden which is where we sit. Also we had major snow this year and then flodding so lost a lot of plants in the front garden.
- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

As its a cottage bungalow, I like the idea of cottage plants. Lots of lavender and natives if possible. We need a bit of kerb appeal!. At the moment it looks as if no-one lives here. I like a mix of blousy flowers mixed in with herbs and even veg.

and- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?

Will be relying on DH to hep with much of the manual labour. I have also roped dd into painting( for cash mind) Dm ttok one look and thinks we are mad, but brought me a Geoff Hamilton book for inspiration

I will save the last three questions for later on.Heres a picture of the kind of thing Im looking at for inspiration. Off to B&Q on Friday!

Babieseverywhere Wed 10-Jul-13 23:44:38

Do B&Q's shut for lunch ? I have been trying for three days to reserve a certain playhouse at the St Helens branch of B&Q...as it is out of stock in nearer locations.

I did manage to get the phone picked up and was transferred to 'gardens department' several times but no one picked up, then my line was dropped. Sometimes when I called, I couldn't get anyone to pick up the main line at all. Lunch time is my phone around time (as my toddler and baby are busy eating and can't join in the conversation), I wonder if there is less staff on at that time ?

Will try again tomorrow...

babies maybe worthwhile phoning head office and explaining the deadline situation, perhaps they would be able to get one delivered?

I'm going to have very little left to spend on plants.

Any suggestions as to which ones will make the most impact and make what little I have go as far as possible?

I'm begging cuttings from everyone I know smile

Roma2013 Thu 11-Jul-13 07:11:52

Trying to upload my 'before' pic of concrete base floor, breeze block walls and garage door (hope it works)... See post above for impossible fantasy hopes and dreams of a lush courtyard garden.

Roma2013 Thu 11-Jul-13 07:14:35

oops..please turn head on one side to 'right' photo. It was uploaded the correct way up so mo idea why it did that*

Roma2013 Thu 11-Jul-13 09:16:42

Babies.. There s a branch in Prescot isn t there? Have you tried this?

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 10:32:46

hello garden makerovereers. i've ditched the kids, the sun is shing, time to get started!

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

we moved in two years ago, i was heavily pregnant and we had a toddler and no money. we've actually done quite a lot, taking out LOADS of weeds and planting a continuation of the beech hedge that goes along the front, taking it up the side, where there is a rickety old fence. but now i'm back at work, and studying and there is still no money and even less time.

at the moment there is no path to our main entrace, just stepping stones across the sparse, weedy lawn. an ugly, concrete weedy drive area and a no mans land at the side of the house.

we want a proper path and some nice edging to the side of the drive, continued up the side of the house to seperate the path, from the weedy, rubbly bit and to make this small area a pretty rockery type bit, which i tried to do but failed.

essentially we need to out in a bot of structure and definition, and i think the rest should follow (i hope)

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

i read gadening books and watch Monty Don and dream, but my reality is so far removed from where they're at i get daunted and nothing gets done. i am also a ointerest addict and my garden board has over 100 photos of manicured, designed beautiful spaces, without a weed in sight

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?

i'm roping in a friend to do the paving, we (DP & I) will do all the preparation and digging out but i think we need someone who knows waht they're doing to do the finishing touches, or it risks looking, much as it does now, as a valiant attenpot that has sadly failed

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

haven't been to a shop yet, but i've been perusing the website. i could spend teh £300 twenty times over (as i'm sure we all could) but am concentrating on teh biog, expensive purchases that we need so badly but would never otherwise have afforded

- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?

i've got a 'how to do paving' leaflet that i picked up ages ago. reading thsi i'm confident we can do the ground work, just so long as ther isn;t bedrock under the grass!

Cremolafoam Thu 11-Jul-13 10:33:13

I think when the switchboard put you through to gardens it just rings out until someone in that dept answers. If its busy and the assistants are all with customers then it'll not be answered. I've heard the phone ringing endlessly when I've been wandering in the garden dept before . Often there is only one guy out there.
Bit crap really.
Maybe try just after lunch rush at 2.30?

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 10:45:59

the 'rockery'
this area is at the side of the house. it was just a pile of stones and weeds.

i recyled some wood as edging, but it's rotting and falling apart and the stones fall all over the path

there are some nice plants in here, a rhododendron, an acer, some bay trees, a fern thing and i've bunged some pots of geraniums around to try and brighten it up, it's a dark and shady area

we want to put proper edging along here

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 10:47:12

the 'flower bed'

again there are some nice things, peonies, lavender (somewhere underneath) but the bindweed and couch grass think they've won this particular battle

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 10:49:07

our horrid drive

i think once it has some nice edging under the conifers, to stop the soil and debris spilling onto the concrete, and it has been weeded it'll look 1000 times better. eventually we will gravel it when funds allow

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 10:50:20

the drive! the bins! the weeds! the abandoned toys!

we need help

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 10:54:42

this will be our main project

we need a proper path, so visitors know where to come (every other house on the street has their entrace at the side) and so we don't have pools of mud trapsed into the house, and just so it looks better

this has been a huge bugbear for me since we moved in, and is something i've been desperate to do, but funds haven't allowed

this is why i am so THRILLED to have been chosen. it sounds a bit silly and melodramatic but this will make a real difference for us and the house will look so much better and not a bit odd and botched, like it does at present

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 10:56:26

lordy, i've just watched my first video back, i sound like i'm doing a comedy voice. it is my actual voice, just ridiculous blush

i'm not looking forward to subsequent ones where you can actually see me shock

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 11:01:03

and at the risk of hogging the thread, i'd love some advice if i could have some?

the paving....

i had visions of pretty cobbles with cottagy plants spliing over, but the reality is our house is an ugly, concrete semi, and the budget, although generous and lovely and fab to have been given, i do want to strtech it as far as possible.

the porch area has fake stone pavers, head says match with these, budget agrees, heart says something more exotic....and pretty

so now i'm thinking fake stone pavers, edged with box which will evantually make a little hedge each side, less effort than a flower bed, fewer plants needed, easier to maintain right?? and perhpas a bit 'structural' and 'designery'? but not ott for my ugly house?

Openyourheart Thu 11-Jul-13 12:03:16

Smells Go for the fake ones. Keep to the budget and I'm sure that the hedge either side will make it look fab. It is hard, but I'm trying to be strict with the budge too.

I want to make some raised planters but the sleepers from B&Q are not exactly cheap. I wish they did some of the slot together planter kits like this
www.railwaysleeper.co.uk/index.php/softwood-slot-together-raised-bed-kits-c-95

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 12:13:10

Thanks open

Have you seem these:

cheaper ones

We'll probs use these, although they don't say how wide they are. It's annoying [whispers] our local sawmill does sleepers that are longer, deeper and not as expensive, but we don't have cash to buy them from there, whereas we do have this voucher

I'm going to see of I can see these rustic ones in real life tomorrow. I'll report back

I think I did see slot together kits on the b&q website but they were £££

Cremolafoam Thu 11-Jul-13 12:29:29

what about loose gravel? i think thats what im going for. A layer of weed suppressing fabric and some pale pebbels/gravel. def cheaper than pavers.

Openyourheart Thu 11-Jul-13 13:07:44

Thanks, I saw those, Smells and I will probably use them but if you are going to stack them up, like on the picture, it works out V £££

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 11-Jul-13 13:55:17

Gravel had been plan a before we were fortunate enough to get this voucher. Thing is the door opens into our dining room which has got a wooden floor and I think the stones will migrate in and scratch it. It does look nice though

Babieseverywhere Thu 11-Jul-13 16:23:20

Right, I spoke to two lovely ladies (Jackie and Hannah) at St Helens who were really helpful and I can go on the 22nd July and pick up my reserved playhouse with my DH. Brilliant just have to get the rest of the garden done by then.

We have taken before photos, spent days taking stuff to the local tip.

Yesterday we bought a pressure washer from B&Q and I have discovered the outside flags in the garden are creamy yellow not gray !

Looking much better already and I find myself spending more time in the garden now it is a bit clearer smile

Managed to get all the junk cleared from the shed and garden last night, was at it until 10pm.

Here is a better photo, ignore the pile of junk in the foreground, that will soon be going to the tip.

Putting the fence and gate up over the weekend and trying to dismantle the shed and move it over to the other side of the garden.

Anyone successfully moved a shed? We only have the two of us so would have to do it in sections.

Upside down again.
What Am I doing wrong here?

Openyourheart Thu 11-Jul-13 17:53:08

Job of the evening is cutting down a dead apple tree. I'm spending ages clearing stuff. I just want to get on with doing the nice creative bit!

Openyourheart Thu 11-Jul-13 17:54:28

Another question to answer:

Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?

No help, just me. I'm a single mum with 3 kids so no-one here to help but I don't mind because I like to do things my way, anyway.

Cremolafoam Thu 11-Jul-13 20:39:12

I'm wondering if b&q are reading this thread because I went for a recce today and pretty much every plant looked half dead/ thirsty/ wilted. Yes I know it's really hot at the moment but there was not one healthy looking specimen to be had at Holywood Exchange. I am a bit disappointed tbh. I'm going to phone after the bank holiday ( tomorrow and Monday here) to find out when they'll be getting some fresh stock. It would be a complete waste of cash ATM .sad
Have made a list of the hard landscaping things we need and most are in stock so that's positive at least.

Front garden dismantling/ bonfire scheduled for Saturday .grin

VirgoGrr Thu 11-Jul-13 20:47:16

Oh FGS! It was all going so well!
MNHQ!! DP has managed to lose his wallet today, with the B&Q card in it. Any chance that it can be replaced? I have the receipt from my first shopping trip with the card number on.

VirgoGrr Thu 11-Jul-13 21:00:50

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?
We just have too much land! I know that sounds like a stealth boast blush but its difficult when you don't have loads of time/money to spend on it. Any little effort doesn't make much of an impact.
I'm going to spend my free money on a yard next to our garage. I want to have a private space where I can put a new greenhouse, have a place to sit, somewhere dog free ;) and walls to hang things from. I think this amount of spend can actually have a bit of an impact on this space.
- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?
I'm thinking about a Mediterranean style, painted walls, nice lighting, terracotta pots. I think the weather is making me think about holidays and nice places to sit in the evening.
- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?
All my own work so far - DP is going to help with shifting rubbish and wiring up the lights for me though. (Resident labourer/electrician - handy) smile

VirgoGrr Thu 11-Jul-13 21:07:00

Another view

VirgoGrr Thu 11-Jul-13 21:08:16

Oh, yeah. There's a broken down car in it too. :/

OpheliaBumps Thu 11-Jul-13 22:35:24

Wow, I put some stuff on the fence last night to kill the algae, it's worked miracles in 24 hours (and only £7, a bargain). All of the algae has gone, just need to give it a quick scrub to remove the residue and the fence is ready for painting - that's my weekend sorted then.

Will post a photo tomorrow of the fence post treatment, I'm really impressed with how well this stuff has worked!

EeyoreIsh Thu 11-Jul-13 22:37:23

Eeyore checking in smile

I've got my vouchers, and I've spent today at Hampton Court flower show so I've got oodles of ideas grin grin

heading to b&q first thing Saturday morning, I cannot wait!

OpheliaBumps Thu 11-Jul-13 23:24:08

Ooh eeyore I'm really jealous, I haven't been to TAtton flower show for years, I used to love visting the big shows.

G'wan, tell us your ideas!

Aw virgo what a shame, I'm sure you'll be able to get it replaced.
Or you never know, someone might hand in the wallet.

DoingItOurSelves Fri 12-Jul-13 00:08:20

Signing in to say I’m in and flowers
I’ve name changed for this for a few reasons, (please don’t link me to my usual posting name even if it’s obvious) but the more positive one being; this project's going to be me and teen ds together, not this is ‘mum’s project and I get to eat out there afterwards’, “isn’t it ds?” (response: “hmm… fair enough, fair enough.” grin )

We’re going to take a leaf out of Openyourheart’s book, and start with a few of the questions for the first post. We’re hoping to have ‘before’ photo’s tomorrow, but I’m tempted to do a clear up first as it’s that bad, but as it is, will definitely prove it’s an unloved garden!. blush

Why is your unloved garden unloved?
Neighbourhood problems initially made it difficult to use, and then major disability hit to compound things, but we decided to reclaim it and started collecting useable things towards it, but then repeat drain flooding, causing a wall collapse, and a lot of personal difficulties including financial one’s set everything back, and tbh all of it put together left us really dispirited and overwhelmed, (small violins please) and we turned our backs on it. blush
The opportunity (and actually being one of the winners!) has really helped change that. flowers

What do you want to change about it?
Almost everything! It’s currently just a large collection of pots, wood, bricks rubble, sacks of earth, broken mini greenhouse, etc, and a really embarrassing dumping ground, with the remains of some potted things clinging on amidst the mess.
We’ll post more about what we hope to turn it into tomorrow after we’ve been to B+Q. (we may be some time… smile )

DoingItOurSelves Fri 12-Jul-13 00:13:46

Virgo sad if you haven't already, I'd call customer services first thing, and cancel the card, I'm sure they could transfer the unused portion onto another card.

Openyourheart Fri 12-Jul-13 03:37:10

Virgo I really hope you get the card sorted out because I am really looking forward to seeing your transformation.

lissieloo Fri 12-Jul-13 09:28:57

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

Our garden is tiny. When we moved in it was an overgrown dump, we cut it all back and layed turf. We had planned to build a small deck and turn one side into a veg patch, but haven't got round to it. Time's gone by and it's seemed harder and harder to do. The top end, by the gate and leading onto a field, is just barren. stomped down dirt and an old bench.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

We have a small house and would like to turn the garden into a usable "room". We have had a very clear idea of what we wanted to do. We want to make the most of living rurally and the lovely views with a place for us to sit while our ds plays on the lawn. We want to grow fruit and veg because I am a very keen cook, and I remember my grandads garden being full of lovely smells and colours. We want it to be pretty, and very countrified

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?

My BFF is a gardener, he advised me on what sort of decking to buy and how to measure it out.

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

The staff were extremely helpful, and there were plenty of them (which was good, I hate wandering round trying to get help) One gent in particular was brilliant, he showed me pics of his own decking and helped confirm the amount of joists and boards I would need. He also started off my list for delivery and advised on weed control roll. I can't praise him highly enough. The helpdesk could have been more helpful though. seemed more interested in chatting to each other, than me.

- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?

I watched "how to" youtube vids and an ideas one.

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?

A list of things you need in the relevant departments. So if I am decking, I could pick up a list telling me I need gravel, etc. Or maybe an app you can download that calculates how many boards/joists you need or how many rolls of paper.

- Have you had any feedback on what you've done with the garden from family/friends? Has the transformation had a big impact on you and/or your family?

We are awaiting delivery, so will answer this later. But ideas have been positively met, esp by our 8yo DS.

lissieloo Fri 12-Jul-13 09:30:52

This is where the decking will be.

lissieloo Fri 12-Jul-13 09:39:31

virgo, thats a shame sad have you called head office?

Geeklover Fri 12-Jul-13 10:09:23

Marking my place. I'll answer the questions when I get in the computer this evening.
I spent hours with a nice man called Peter in b&q Inverness the other day. I am fairly sure he was glad when I left but he and another guy Paul were amazing with their help and advice over 2 visits. And my stuff is being delivered on Wednesday. grin
Oooh and was so excited and surprised to get the voucher on Monday I nearly hugged the postie.

geeklover
We were in the Inverness branch as well smile
Well technically DH did the shopping, but said the staff were excellent.

Babieseverywhere Fri 12-Jul-13 12:45:17

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?
Our garden had two reasons for being unloved. One we moved here with a three month old baby and had three further children within the next six years...literally babies everywhere. So no time or energy to do the garden.

Second my DH use to make bio-diesel in the shed at the bottom of the garden (fully legal to make up to 2000 litres a year for personal use only). As this involved using dangerous chemicals, the shed and the bottom third of the garden was fenced off with a gate for safety reasons. Then because we didn't use that section of the garden it became a dumping ground for stuff that should of been tipped straight away.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?
I am aiming for weedfree, cleaned paving, painted fences,more practical space for the children using the whole garden and to try adding a few plants to see how we get along with them. Plus a 'new-to-me' water feature...I want to hear the sound of water in a garden.

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?
My friend is a trained interior designer and she is so brilliant with ideas and colours etc. I can't do everything we have planned for the garden for this makeover deadline. But I plan to use the B&Q unloved garden project as a springboard to upkeep and improve our very tatty and underused garden and file the more ambitious ideas for a later date.

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?
We didn't expect to find and to ultimately end up buying a big playhouse. We went looking for a swing but the children adored the Croft Playhouse and had to be bribed to get out of it ! We decided though the wanted a swing, that a playhouse would get far more use over the next few years and the local park has swings just 5 minute walk away.

Bolton B&Q was very helpful, especially telling us where we could find the Croft playhouse, as they had sold out (restock in 28 days) and gave us the details for St Helens branch, which we have reserved a playhouse at. Payment for playhouse is a third B&Q vouchers, a third grandparents donations for children's birthdays, a third donation from us for children's birthdays. Still a lot of money gulp. Lets hope they love it as much when it is up at home.

- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?
Not yet. But at the moment and for the next few days we are clearing and cleaning. But once we get to fence painting and plants...I'll be having a look.

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?
Not for visits, but regarding the phone lines. I have really struggled to get through to the St Helens branch with the phone going dead or too static or simply not being picked up. If there could be a message with where in the queue you are or something. Ensure music is played rather than static when you are on hold. Maybe have one staff member who just answers phone queries if possible. I should add that every staff I spoke to was very helpful and professional, it was just hard getting in contact with them !

- Have you had any feedback on what you've done with the garden from family/friends? Has the transformation had a big impact on you and/or your family?
My parents are wondering if the plants we will add, will survive. As very avid gardeners themselves, with a beautiful leafy garden, they don't understand our totally paved with no plants back yard (this is what it was like when we moved in)

It has already has a positive impact on us. I already sit out there for more meals and plan what I'll be doing to the garden. As it is clearer and cleaner it is more pleasant.

I can't wait until the 28th July as it will be done, though I am less looking forward to all the hard work. Will be chipping away as we can and doing couple of days at the weekends. Though we have to celebrate DH's 40th this weekend, so limited gardening this weekend. It will be done. smile

Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity smile

Geeklover Fri 12-Jul-13 12:48:17

Ooh they said somebody else had been in as well it was your dh grin
Most of the staff were fab. There was a leetle bit of an issue with not communicating properly about delivery by which point I'd been in there for 2 hours but it was fine.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 12-Jul-13 12:49:55

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

hmm i don’t want to be a grump but I’ve just had an entirely unfruitful and disappointing visit to b&q.

the sleepers I was interested in were marked as being £19.98, although on the website they were £14.98 - open the rustic ones are very rustic, all sizes and shapes, essentially tree trunks with two opposite sides shaved off . Anyway off I wandered to find someone to ask about the pricing. I walked and walked and not one orange clad soul did I find. I walked all the way down to the 'builders materials' end, and found the slabs I think i want, again no one to ask about ordering and delivery

I walked around and around, all the way back to the garden end, still no one. I hung around by the 'help point' someone eventually appeared from a side door, I collared her and said I wanted some info on delivery, she went off to find someone, who eventually turned up and told me he could help and had to “get back to timber” as he was the only person working who was trained.

There were seemingly two members of staff in a shop the size of a small town. In fairness I have always found them very helpful in the past, perhaps they’d been caught on the hop by the good weather and were far busier than anticipated. But I’ve not managed to buy anything other than a reduced parsley (50p) and a spade so far

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 12-Jul-13 12:51:06

wow what a veiw lissieloo

i LOVE your plans, i think you're going to make a wonderful space

Openyourheart Fri 12-Jul-13 14:03:04

I'm getting obsessed with this.

Just been to B&Q Stockport as it is massive.

I got a grass rake as the area is covered with twigs which I need to remove before I start digging; a draw hoe to smash those nasty weeds; a multi prong cultivator to break up the soil; and 10 raspberry canes.

I really need to sort out my laundry but I keep getting diverted to the garden.

TallulahTT Fri 12-Jul-13 14:55:22

I have made a start, I have bought 2 of these www.diy.com/nav/garden/fencing-paving-decking/fencing/trellis___screening/-specificproducttype-screening/Metal-Wave-Design-Reed-Screen-Panel-H-1-80m-x-W-0-90m-11987863?skuId=12498569 they fit really well to hide the back of a neighbours shed which has bugged me for years..

I had planted Clematis plants in previous years and they had all grown around a tall bush, I have trimmed the bush back and unthreaded the trails of clematis to thread around the metal frame. I spent ages on it last night and really enjoyed the time, I think it was the most relaxed I've been for months. Nice sense of accomplishment I have managed to secure the screens myself. If anyone had seen us trying to fit them in the car though - it reminded me of the Ikea thread where people sit in the cafe and watch people struggle.

Lack others a lack of funds has seriously impacted on what I've been able to do with the garden, when I went to B&Q I felt rather overwhelmed and very lukcy at how much I had to spend, all the times I have wandered round thinking what I'd like to buy. I am planning a return trip tomorrow to buy more plants and taking my daughter to help choose.

I'll hopefully be back to post photos later. It's great to see everyone's different ideas. Our garden needs a major tidy up, more planting and I'd like to be able to sit out there and think it looks good rather than a sense of dread over what I feel needs doing. My tiny start has made me ridiculously happy, thanks MN and B&Q

lissieloo Fri 12-Jul-13 15:55:48

Smells, thank you. I love our view, we moved from a large town and have been so happy since we came here. WRT B&Q staff, you must have been raging when you came out! I get really bolshy about things like that.

Tallulah, that sounds fab. I love clematis's and climbers in general.

Babies, enjoy your weekend!!

DH has painted the horrible bench in a lovely duck egg blue. It looks so pretty, I can't wait for the delivery now. I want to get started!!

My delivery arrived smile

The sandstone slabs look great, but the hanging baskets are gorgeous, so so pretty.

Couple of my planters were out of stock but I've been assured they'll be here before the deadline.

Going to have dinner now and get stuck in smile

lissieloo Fri 12-Jul-13 17:12:23

oh, they are pretty!

gazzalw Fri 12-Jul-13 17:36:07

Non-tester here....

Our garden has been a bit of a forgotten wilderness....when we moved in to our house we had so much to do on the inside (to make it habitable for a toddler), that the garden really got neglected, with the exception of filling in the three ponds (seriously!) in an 80 foot space and getting rid of the ugly gnomes and assorted other stone 'beasties'.

This year however DW has made a significant inroad just by dismantling the children's wooden playhouse and getting rid of the toddlers' luminous plastic climbing frame which is well beyond it's use-by date!!! She has also severely pruned the laurel hedge and done lots of weeding and already it looks a lot neater and more spacious.

We still have the bottom third to sort out though - where the two big ponds used to be. These are semi productive with potatoes grown year on year, but DW would like to convert them into pretty flower beds. The area around the shed needs to be properly decked and long flower pots put against the back fence to fill with climbing plants for screening purposes....

It should be very doable but we have the usual issue of transporting the stuff with no car and it's just finding a spare week or so to really make the difference.....

One day it will all come to a happy conclusion :-).

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 12-Jul-13 18:42:35

They do delivery gazza not plants but other stuff

But more on that later when I have refreshed myself after what is swiftly becoming known as the b&q delivery debacle

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 12-Jul-13 18:44:09

Whatcha doing with your sandstone slabs terra

[gets slab envy]
[becomes slab obsessed]

Ween a 10ft by 8ft patio and recycling some old fencing to create raised flower beds either side.

I am overly excited by all this, have got the gardening bug smile

VirgoGrr Fri 12-Jul-13 20:50:05

Hoorah! OtherHelen has sent me a msg, they are going to ask B&Q to replace our card. I had done some shopping already, so am fortifying myself with wine tonight + nice early night ready for shovelling tomorrow.
You lot up there that are decking and paving - how are you doing that on £300? envy Are you putting some budget toward this yourselves?

lissieloo Fri 12-Jul-13 21:15:00

No, I only went over by £1.50 though. I am doing a small square deck at pretty much ground level. The decking and joists came to just over £100. Then screws at a tenner, decking stain, woodpaint, bistro set, new gate... And a new drill. A cordless one. I shall call her Florence. With a new set of drill bits.

lissieloo Fri 12-Jul-13 21:20:27

Great news, btw! Bless otherhelen.

No, I've £11 left on my card smile bought slabs, sand mix etc, 2 trellis panels and 5 planters. Oh and compost...think. Might need more though.

Will need to to buy all my own plants though. Am begging cuttings/plant donations from everyone I know.

EeyoreIsh Fri 12-Jul-13 21:43:03

I've been to B&Q and splashed that cash! grin it was amazing to buy what I actually wanted as opposed to compromising, for example I bought four hostas to fill up my new planter rather than just the one.

so... We bought 49 deck tiles, but I have to say we were totally confused as to how to get them to sit flat. We couldn't work it out at all. so we asked a very helpful member of staff. sadly he didn't have a clue either, but he shared our pain! Apparently the 'decking chap' had left already. The staff member I spoke to on the phone was very helpful when I called up to reserve the tiles. Anyway, that came to £149.

We then chose a long planter, which was £40. I would have liked to have got three but there wasn't quite enough cash left on the card after the decking and some plants.

We had great fun trying to fit it all in the car, it was like a 3D jigsaw puzzle!

So tomorrow we're going to make a start (after I've done my before video!). I can't wait. It's such a treat.

EeyoreIsh Fri 12-Jul-13 21:44:45

I should have said I've got £47 left. Not sure what I'll spend it on just yet, I'm going to see how it looks after we've done everything. Maybe another huge planter and I'll dig into my pocket for the plants.

OpheliaBumps Fri 12-Jul-13 22:01:46

I've been shopping sgain, bought the bench, gravel to sit it on, and weed control fabric.

I painted a big section of fence tonight, over the weekend I plan to paint the rest, build the bench, choose where to put it, dig up the lawn and lay the fabric and gravel. On my own while DH goes on a stag do. While looking after preschooler twins. Hmm, I may have been too ambitious this weekend!

i'm impressed with how well the fence paint has gone though, I got loads done in a short space of time, and the fence looks so much better, it was really peeling and fading before.

The staff at B&Q were lovely again, really helpful and friendly, I couldn't fault them. I've noticed the card shows up as 'promotion' when they scan it, and whether this flags me up as a 'special customer' to the staff, but each time I've used it they've taken me carefully through how much I've got left on it, even circling the balance on my receipt etc.

Openyourheart Fri 12-Jul-13 22:46:51

I've dug out one of my (I don't know what you call them)patches in the vegetable garden and planted raspberry canes. My veg garden will not look pretty but it will look more functional and tidy than the overgrown mess that it was before.

Geeklover Fri 12-Jul-13 23:49:44

I'm doing an 8' by 8' platform of decking. I took my mum shopping with me and she has their pensioner discount card so got 10% off as well.
The decking and screws came to £149. Actually couldn't believe it was possible. There is loads more I'd love to do to the garden if budget allowed but hopefully this will spur me on.
I don't have any budget to add to this do have been trying to stretch it as far as possible.
I already have a few plants I bought need to go back for my hanging basket if I can get someone to put a bracket up for me.

Lucewheel Sat 13-Jul-13 10:27:11

I have picked up my giftcard (thank you MN and B&Q!) and can't wait to go shopping today. We are going to go to the Trafford Centre store so will report back later.
I have had a good look through the website and wonder if I will stick to the plan when I actually go shopping.

We have lived in this property for 4.5 years and have never touched the garden other than the seasonal tidy ups but this year we have thrown out the slide, trampoline etc so it is currently looking very unloved and in a sorry state, especially the shed with its own front door which looks awful.
Our aim is to turn the garden into a more usable space for both us and the children who are now older (aged 6,9,11 and 13) and I might finally have convinced DH to have a BBQ in the garden so am very excited.

Will post my before pictures and a shopping update later. I have really enjoyed seeing other posters pictures and updates.

Do we have to stick to the £300 budget or can we supplement it?

Cremolafoam Sat 13-Jul-13 10:34:26

Geek - lol I was thinking of bringing my FIL with me to get the 10% tooblush
Vair impressed you got your decking at that price.!!
Today is scorched earth day . Finally the temperature is below 20 degrees so we are all on the case. Dd in painting gear. Dh in bonfire mode. I'm directing with a cuppa.
Will post my little plan drawing later.
gringrin

EeyoreIsh Sat 13-Jul-13 11:14:49

DH and I got started early this morning. He's been building the patio, there has been the odd bit of muttering under his breath in frustration! It looks so much better already though.

I've been planting up my half empty flower bed, it looks great.

I'm just having a little sit down before starting the next job.

TallulahTT Sat 13-Jul-13 13:51:52

I have been to B&Q again today, a different store is time because I needed 1 more of the bamboo edging I got the other day. There weren't many plants BUT there was a demo for the Karcher window vac, not directly garden related but we have floor to ceiling windows facing the garden and when they look grubby outside looks even worse - does this justify the purchase? I was really impressed that I could try it before buying, they had a mirror and tile to try it on <easily sold>
I have bought more plants and weed control fabric, they didn't have the cobble stones I wanted so will have to check around on the website.

I am presuming we can add to the budget? I have bought trellis elsewhere this morning because B&Q don't have the one that matches everything else and I couldn't replace it all.

My daughter also convinced me to buy a raspberry plant so that is her job to plant that. Credit to people working in their gardens today, it's so hot. I am waiting for some shade then I'll venture out.

VirgoGrr Sat 13-Jul-13 14:01:45

I'm holding off until a bit later or I think I will die! It's 32 degrees in the shade here this afternoon!

OpheliaBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 18:57:14

Oh dear lord, it's hot! I managed to build the bench, and dig up the lawn where the bench will go. I still need to dig over the soil, lay the weed control fabric and put the gravel down but it's just too hot, I'm exhausted.

I think we're going to add to the budget, but maybe after the 28th, as I want to replace the kids' playhouse with a wooden one which is much more useful and will last till they're a bit older than the current one would.

It might mean I have to leave one area unplanted, which will look a bit odd, but I can't manage to buy, paint and build a new playhouse on top of everything else, all within the next 2 weeks.

EeyoreIsh Sat 13-Jul-13 19:30:02

Almost at the end of day one of the gardening. my wonderful DH has been out all day in the baking sun, and he's still out there trying to finish the decking. It looks fab.

We're just back from a second trip to b&q, to get some replacement drill bits, more flowers and more decking wood. We went £25 over budget, but I don't mind as we've achieved so much!

Cremolafoam Sat 13-Jul-13 19:30:33

You guys are getting the weather we had here last week!! This is why we've only started really today- temp in Ni finally dropped a bitgrin
Have cleared quite a bit of grass today and tidied up the drive.
Much clearer about what we can do now! Sorry you're all suffering from the heat guys. Well done for keeping going . 32 is just TOO HOT to dig in!

TallulahTT Sat 13-Jul-13 21:39:35

We have put in a few hours this afternoon, it was hot even in the shade, it's been great to spend some time with my teen without having to spend a fortune, I have cut a lot back, now I'm thinking maybe too much! It looks a bit bare. I have bought a few smaller bush type plants, I have found at the bottom of the garden there is lumps of concrete and bricks and impossible to dig down far so I have bought the smaller versions and I'm hoping they'll grow to the size I'd wanted to buy. I may need a year for my after picture after today's cutdown.

DoingItOurSelves Sat 13-Jul-13 23:01:01

Our unloved junkyard with plants garden looking embarrasing, hopefully soon to change.

DoingItOurSelves Sat 13-Jul-13 23:08:01

The new fence makes it not quite as unloved, but what you can't easily see is the last bit of the old one has been turned upside down, is missing a foot off the bottom, and has had bits nailed onto the top to try and create some privacy.

DoingItOurSelves Sat 13-Jul-13 23:17:03

here you can see our attempt at tree owning, the collapsing greenhouse, and what were the so called 'mezzanine' stairs, (one thing about being flooded we don't have a 'mezzanine' anymore, which as I couldn't access it I'm not sorry about!)

DoingItOurSelves Sat 13-Jul-13 23:29:31

This wall is actually part of the little bit off the yard which doesn't really count as part of what we're trying to do up, but I thought I'd include it because it shows some of the damage post flooding, (it's much worse further down and won't dry out, and the renders's down to brick in places at the bottom) and I'm going to ask the nice folks I've met (more about them later) at B+Q's advice.

Cremolafoam Sat 13-Jul-13 23:40:06

this is my plan

Cremolafoam Sat 13-Jul-13 23:41:00

this is what we cleared today

Very constructive day.
Fence built, trellis put up and some ground cleared.

Tomorrows plan: shed removed, ground turned over and borders for flower beds cemented in. Will also remove the old chicken wire fence.
Will maybe get my pretty planters hung up too. smile

That leaves just the planting to be done and the patio to lay, not a clue how to lay patio so will watch some YouTube tutorials.
Any patio advice greatly welcome.

Solo Sun 14-Jul-13 00:48:31

I'm not a tester, but would love to get my garden sorted.

The reason that I have a rubbish tip/jungle instead of a garden now is that the estate residents overlooking/bordering my garden used my garden as a dumping ground sad after about a year of me living here. It was a lovely garden before that, but after numerous broken and smashed TV's, microwaves, video recorders, tumble dryer doors hmm, vacuum cleaners, used condoms, urine filled bottles (I could go on) being thrown over and me paying out four times to have it cleared (approximately £1200), I gave up.
Now though, I get less thrown over and I'd love to see Dd playing out there. Ds at almost 15 has never played out there despite living here all his life sad
I dream of sitting out there with a glass of wine in the summer.

Lucewheel Sun 14-Jul-13 11:05:38

It sounds like we have all been busy in this heat in our gardens.

We made good progress yesterday. Visited B&Q and were in there for ages much to the DC's disgust. We did manage to stick to the plan for what we needed but it is very easy to get distracted with all of the options that are available. The staff were fantastic and at least 3 different ones helped us at different locations within the store. They were even phoning around other stores to find the item that we had seen online but was sold out in that store, really impressed.

We came home with cement and sand to redo the patio's, lawn patch repair kit for the areas that have been under slides and trampolines, some paint for the shed window and door, a BBQ grin and a larger outdoor table.

The afternoon was spent clearing out all of the junk out from the garden and pressure washing the patio's. I discovered that one is pink and one is white it is amazing how much dirt had accumulated on it and it stank when it was being pressure washed, yuck.

Today we are taking the junk to the tip and fixing the patio's. The DC's are having a great time helping out and the garden is starting to feel like our own.

We have been taking photos so will update with those later.

SaltySeaBird Sun 14-Jul-13 18:16:08

Not a tester but sharing our garden story.

It was a bit wild when we moved in and our gardening knowledge was zero (and to be honest is not much more than that now). There were paths and steps going no where and a split level patio. We've removed all the concrete and reused the patio stones to create one flat one. We've added a few shrubs but it still needs a lot of work to even compare to our neighbours lovely plots!

We'd like to do a small vegetable garden, put up a fence at the bottom and do something about the lumpy lawn that is so rutted you can't sit on it. It's only small but the costs are stopping us doing much this year but I would like to sort the lawn out over the autumn so my 11mo isn't in danger of tripping over the ruts!

Cremolafoam Sun 14-Jul-13 18:45:27

Day 2 in the big makeover house:

Front door repainted
2x Gates repainted
4 more square meters of rye grass removed( phew) 16 down 8 to go.
3 x tree stumps pulled out
2 xwillow trellis panels attached to porch.
=
2x knackered gardenersgrin

Big day today, shed was removed at lunchtime. smile
DH used spare fence boards to create a raised flower bed, it looks great. Well it well when I've put plants in it.

Removed the chicken wire fence as well.

Just finished and it's too dark to take any photos but will update tomorrow.

Tomorrows tasks are...fill new flower bed with soil and compost, plant up with what little plants I have at night.

Start turning over the earth and make it level.
Pay day on Tuesday so we'll head to b&q on Wednesday to get the fence paint, gravel, sand and cement. Then get on with painting the fence and laying the patio.
Only £11 left on the card so will have to add to it.

Roma2013 Mon 15-Jul-13 09:02:23

Hitting B&Q this morning to look at pavers, fencing, plants and whatever would make our yard lovely! I like wandering around B&Q. I'm not sure why. I like their policy of emplying older staff.

Bloomin' eck. I am sore this morning, digging, raking and lugging big rocks around is a bit of a workout.
Didnt feel it at the time but I'm certainly feeling it now.

DH at work all day so it's a bit more difficult to dig over the garden with a 2yo and 3yo running around my feet. Hoping they'll have a nap smile

EeyoreIsh Mon 15-Jul-13 09:39:11

Our garden is really taking shape now. We haven't managed to tackle the awful fence, but we've made such an impact on the rest of the garden, I'm really chuffed!

My DH is out again this morning finishing off the decking. He's clocked up about 15 hours so far, the star!

Has anyone else struggled to upload videos?

Mine fail quite a bit, have managed to add two after several attempts, still have another two to add.

gazzalw Mon 15-Jul-13 12:57:52

I'm most impressed at you having to do major garden work in this heat.....At least we were inside in the grotty wet weather for the Unloved Room challenge!

We were out in our garden yesterday and really the bottom third of ours needs a significant overhaul.....I think it's more than we can do on our own ;-(. DW says she's tempted to just erect some fencing and disown it....!

Good luck and make sure you're well hydrated and STL'd and take frequent breaks!

lissieloo Mon 15-Jul-13 14:34:02

Afternoon gardeners, will be doing a proper post tonight but just wanted to check in. Stuff was delivered this morning. Two lovely chaps, who offered yto take it to the back garden. We said no because Daft Dog was out there being demonic, so they put it on the front. I have built the frame for the decking (oh, how I love Florence The Drill) and have put down first board. Off to a meeting with ds's teacher in a min, time to freshen up and will throw my shorts and bikini top back on when I get home and Florence is recharged.

OpheliaBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 15:15:07

lissie I love that your drill has a name! How easy was it to put together a decking frame? We have decided to buy a new wooden playhouse (25% off at the moment) and are wondering about putting it onto decking rather than straight on the lawn. DH isn't the most gifted diyer, so these jobs usually fall to me.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Mon 15-Jul-13 15:43:06

Hello everyone - just checking in with a little update

so on the hottest day of the year (so far....) we lifted the old stepping stones and dug out the path - 8m long by 1 wide to a depth of 100mm. i have rehomed the turf we lifted down one side of the lawn, where the border had grown too wide, and some other pieces into the baldy patches in the back garden

we are broken

i have bought -
10 25kg bags of sand
5 25kg bags of cement
30 paving stones
a digging spade
dp's absolutly favorite thing - a squirty gun to go on the end of the hose - we can't believe we have lived our entire adult lives without one (stand by for the hosepipe ban...)
some string
and....three tonnes of gravel!

the gravel was an impulse buy

i don't want to bang on but i had A LOT of trouble sorting out the delivery. you can't order 'bulk delivery' stuff online. the first trip into the store yielded no one who could help. i went back to work and phoned through my order - 20 minutes on a 0845 number, i get to the payment bit and they don't have the facilties to take giftcard payments. nevermind he says, i'll create you an account, put this order on it, you just have to pop into store, give the account number, all your details are there and pay. well, no one in the store knew what i was on about about, they knew nothing about their 'bulk delivery' service depite me standing 10 feet away from a huge advertisment for such. to cut a long story short it was a huge, lengthy nightmare and had i been paying with my own money i would have walked away and gone elsewhere.

anyway rant over, the stuff is due to arrive tomorrow - i'm very excited to get phase ii underway

Hanging baskets in situ, not planted up yet.

Having a wee rest as have been at it since 9am.

lissieloo Mon 15-Jul-13 17:19:25

Terra, that looks lovely!

Ween, that's crap! At our store they booked it for us in minutes. Didn't have to open an account or anything. But it sounds like you've done some great work today, I'm impressed.

Ophelia, grin she's Florence The Machine. It's so much easier with her (my old drill is a bit iffy now, overworked, the poor love). The frame was surprisingly easy, the fiddly bit was cutting a joist to go in the centre. BUT we did 2400x2400 to make life easier. I just need to fit the last couple of boards, then we will slap on the stain to dry overnight.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Mon 15-Jul-13 17:25:31

Great to see everyone's progress

Yes it was rubbish but I'm willing to believe it was an anomaly, I've had good service there in the past. I think partly the problem is its SO HUGE and each person knows their own section. But obvs if you have to wander around to find someone as it's so big you inevitably stray into someone else's section where they don't know about what you're asking

Anyway, it's sorted now. Delivery booked for tomorrow and a few days hard work ahead of us smile

Roma2013 Mon 15-Jul-13 17:31:21

What a frustrating day at B&Q!! ... and I was SO looking forward to it��

Had a confusing episode with dh as we tried to work out how many metres square of pavers we'd need. Turns out that it was something like 27 but then we looked at the prices! A 10m sq kit would cost us around £370! and then we'd need about 3 of these so would have to put in about £600-700 of our own money! We're either calculating this all wrong or B&Q have expensive pavers...(may have to have a rethink tonight). Equally frustrating was that the real life colour of the pavers in store frequently bore little resemblance to
the online colour - or indeed of the illustrative picture next to it.

The next disaster was the fencing we'd envisaged we'd get. Nothing came near the height of our peeling painted 2.1 metre high walls! All the fencing panels stopped at 1.8metres. Radical rethink was in order. We couldn't walk away with nothing so we thought that, instead, we'd buy a light blue masonry paint to freshen things up. We asked for a tester pot but despite the Dulux Weathershield brochure saying specifically that tester pots of exterior paints were possible, B&Q in Newcastle refused to do us one. So we'll just have to take a chance on the colour... which isn't what we wanted to do really. Reached the till and the assistant said it was a 3 for 2 offer on tins of paint. Brilliant we thought! We'll get a third pot so back we went to the paint aisle, collected tin no.3, returned to till only to be told that this offer was only available to clubcard holders. However, a second assistant said that if we signed up there and then we would be eligible for the deal. This meant traipsing half way across the store for him to sign us up on the computer. Okay, we thought... 30 minutes to school pickup... if we did it quickly right then, we'd just make it back to school to collect dd2. And then - great... Computer Said 'No'. Well, in fact, it said nothing at all. Assistant moved us to another computer and again tried to access the registration website. Once again the system failed. Sod this I thought, and as he was still trying to boot up the page, I accessed the B&Q website on my iphone and completed the registration process to get a clubcard number. Went back to the till to claim the 3 for 2 offer on the paint only to be told this time that, actually, it didn't apply to masonry paint!! Thoroughly p****d off at the lackadaisical ignorance of staff re store promotions which had cost us 30 minutes of time and made us late to collect dd2. One piece of misinformation I could forgive but for two members of staff to have us running around the store needlessly trying to register for a clubcard wasn't an enjoyable experience. Oh well, I shall have another rethink tonight. I was tempted to buy a lovely large blue pot but the only one big enough for an impact plant was cracked and had a piece of it broken. Need to think about what to cover our ugly car port door with as well now...

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Mon 15-Jul-13 17:39:17

Gfeel your pain roma. It wasn't the enormous Swindon store was it?

Roma2013 Mon 15-Jul-13 18:13:18

No, Newcastle. Oh well, tomorrow's another day. And I'm having a G&T while looking at the B&Q website once more.

Cremolafoam Mon 15-Jul-13 18:21:22

Oh Roma how depressing. You poor thingshock

I still have the full money left as I still was unable to find any of the specific plants I wanted today. I was also told that the 10 bags of pebbles I want to buy was not enough for a bulk delivery. So well have to hoof them into the car a few at a time.
Really b and q could do better. !!!

Perhaps they should look at the grocery delivery model and copy that for smaller deliveries. I'd pay for that tbh. Especially if it meant getting plants and paint delivered too.smile
Pictures of today's work to follow .

lissieloo Mon 15-Jul-13 20:04:11

New gate

lissieloo Mon 15-Jul-13 20:05:22

No it isn't, bugger, I will have to wait til dh is off the laptop.

That's the outside frame.

lissieloo Mon 15-Jul-13 20:11:58

Cremola, how much did you spend? I was told that if you spend £100 they deliver for a charge. If you spend £250 its free delivery. We had allsorts on ours. Gate fittings, woodstain, screws...

OpheliaBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 20:59:54

This is the fence after the algae treatment, all of the green algae disappeared in 24 hours - amazing stuff!

OpheliaBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 21:05:15

And here it is after a coat of fence paint, looks so much better.

Cremolafoam Mon 15-Jul-13 21:06:36

"We regret that we are unable to deliver to Northern Ireland, Scottish Islands, Isle of Man, Isle of Scilly, Jersey, Guernsey and BFPO (British Forces Post Office) addresses."

I live in NI.confused
Pissed on from a great height as usual

What do you think of this?

Used the rocks we found when digging over the ground to make a wee wall around the flower bed.

Still got the longest bit to do tomorrow.

Moved the holly tree from a front garden, just hope it survives the move.

OpheliaBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 21:16:05

It's interesting how the service in B&Q varies, I hope they pick up some improvements from this exercise, and also recognise the staff in the good shops & reward their good service.

It's the little things, like 2 separate staff members asking if I needed a basket when I was struggling with fence paint & lawn treatment, or when I've taken the twins in (sprawled out on a flatbed trolley on top of the many bags of gravel) joking that there's no refund on those particular items, or asking which aisle I got them from as the lady serving quite fancied some for herself. They've all just made me feel really welcome, so even without the voucher they'd be my first choice for DIY stuff.

Today I've painted most of the fence, just a little bit left to do, so I'm already thinking about the next job. Next on the list for me is to find a trellis or two, and untangle the wisteria from the fence so I can train it along the trellis, as it's a bit of a tangled mess at the moment.

Once I've bought trellis(es), and 2 planters, I think I'm free to choose plants after that, the bit I'm really looking forward to grin

OpheliaBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 21:20:42

Creamola oh no, how frustrating! How about hiring a man with a van to fetch everything & deliver it for you? Might cost a bit but would save the suspension on your car, I always worry about putting gravel, play sand etc into the car as it's so heavy.

Terra I love those rocks to make a wall, you know rocks like that cost a fortune if you'd needed to buy them!

I didn't know that ophelia just hope I've got enough to do the longest part.

I can really see the garden taking shape now, didnt get any planting done other than the holly tree, so will do that tomorrow evening.

Will spend the day turning over the rest of the ground and levelling it, will take Wednesday off as quite honestly my house is a tip, spent so much time in the garden that the house has been abandoned.

lissieloo Mon 15-Jul-13 21:55:41

Terra, same here. It was dh's day off today and usually we do a proper clean up, but instead we've been outside and the house has slid. Still, the dust won't go anywhere. I love those rocks btw.

Ophelia, I hope so too. Ours (shrewsbury) was so good, I was really impressed. The materials were pricier than other places I've looked, but the staff were so helpful and knowledgable.

Dh has done the first coat of woodstain. Its very pale but looks nice. My joints are buggered now though and I have a splitting headache, so tomorrow I may have to take it easy.

ThatsSoVanquish Mon 15-Jul-13 22:41:11

So jealous! In this great weather I would love a little garden. We share one with 7 other flats. Sometime ago (I'm think about 30 years ago). It was paved and concreted over. Weeds have taken over. Hard to hang up laundry because insects crawl off the roge weeds. DP tries to fight them (the weeds) down but they are determined! Was just thinking today we need to try to get the neigburs to chip in to do something about it.

TallulahTT Mon 15-Jul-13 23:54:42

I am impressed by the algae remover, does it work on the concrete fence panels do you know? I haven't achieved much today, I started digging and came across an ants nest so have hopefully got rid of that I think I need to spend a few evenings out there and a final shopping trip on Thursday. I really like the Coburg table and chairs set, I am trying to justify it, I keep going and sitting on it whilst I am in B&Q, I'd need to put money to my balance though and other things keep cropping up, like having to buy food, petrol, the boring things.

I really like stone wall, we have found few pebbles whilst digging out the beds, I bought them years ago to stop the weeds growing, that really didn't work the pebbles were just lost. DD has lovingly washed and dried them and most of them look near new.

Terra, I got some Velcro garden tape to attach my climbing plants to the trellis, it seems to be working really well, fastens securely without damaging it and it's green so blends in well.

I keep going out with jugs of water for the new plants, I'd like them to settle in fast and grow! We also have got some weed and feed for the grass which it desperately needs but we are waiting until the end for that.

Velcro garden tape, will have a look for for that on Thursday, thanks.

Who knows their stuff regarding plants? Would you mind having a look at the previous pic of my new raised flower bed and telling me how to make it look fabulous smile

Openyourheart Tue 16-Jul-13 07:42:40

I've planted my all of my raspberry canes from B&Q now. I'm afraid B&Q might be very disappointed with my result as the area will look mo like an allotment rather than a garden. I didn't make any claims to make it look good though but I have created a good plot for growing stuff. Still some more planting and tidying to do though smile

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:21:54

Building the frame.

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:23:13

weed control fabric down

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:23:50

The finished frame

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:27:05

Almost done.

We put screws between the boards to allow for drainage.

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:30:55

DHs head was burning

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:31:35

final screws

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:33:57

and finished article. Need to put the 2nd coat on now.

Also need to make a decision about the other side. It's so small, but I really want to grow things.

Need to tidy up fence, fit gate and tidy the raspberry and blackberry bushes today.

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:35:09

And did you see Florence? DH said he half expected me to bring her to bed last night.

WOW lissieloo that looks great.well done to you, DH an of course Florence
smile

And not an blush

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 10:30:05

Signing in a bit late for this. I am a regular poster but have namechanged for this thread as I don't want to out my normal posting name.

So, the questions:

Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

DH and I moved into our house 3 years ago. I was studying for a year and then we spent a couple of years doing up the inside of the house. Apart from putting down a bit of a herb bed, the garden has been ignored completely. It isn't even somewhere that we really use for relaxing, as the lawn is full of holly leaves and it is just a very boring space.

Also, DH and I both work full time and we both do a lot of sport, so we have little time to tend the garden. It needs to be much more low maintenance.

Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

I love gardening, and this is the second garden design that I will be doing, as I revamped the garden at my old house. I have a number of books on garden design, and last weekend I went to the Hampton Court Flower Show and got some inspiration there. I also bought a ridiculous number of plants: I have been going to the show for the last 3 years and not buying anything, so I had three years of built up plant buying frustration to unleash!

I have a heavy London clay soil, which some things struggle to grow in. My plan is that all the plants in my garden will be either edible or medicinal, but many herb really don't like the clay soil. I have tried several times to grow herbs such as parsley and coriander, and they have completely failed. My plan therefore is to put most of the garden down to raised beds, to have just a small patch of lawn, and to put down weed suppressing matting and chippings on the paths.

Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?

The planning and plant selection is my domain. DH will provide heavy labour as directed.

How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

I haven't yet been to the store, but will be going in the next few days. I have calculated that I will need around 100 breeze blocks to do the raised beds that I am after, but I have no idea how much cement and mortar I will need to lay a trench foundation, to do the clockwork, and to render the outside. I am hoping that I will be able to get some advice on this in store.

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 10:34:28

Does anyone know if it is possible to download the pictures from the App so that I can post them on this thread?

I have dutifully been recording what I have been doing, but the pictures don't appear on my camera roll (on my iPhone 5), so I can't work out if it is possible to upload them onto this thread.

Also, how much video footage has everyone been recording? I did an intro, and a brief spiel about my garden, but have been mostly taking photos and adding captions. I found it really hard to talk to camera, even though I do a huge amount of public speaking for my job! It is one thing taking in a serious yet engaging tone about complex issues of law, and quite another to be all bright and bubbly about my garden project.

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 10:37:40

So far, we have cleared out a whole load of rubbish from the bottom of the garden, cut back the holly tree, and got rid of the old shed (I put that on freecycle at about 5pm last night, and by 9.30pm someone had come and taken it away!).

I am now waiting for some builders to come to take up the old garden path, to break up the concrete slab where the old shed was, and to lay a new base for a shed that we have ordered. The new shed won't actually be arriving until the 8th August (it is not coming from B&Q as we needed one with very specific dimensions), but once the old concrete has gone, I will be able to do my DIY bit.

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 10:42:14

One last post for the time being - I don't suppose that anyone in London or Surrey has any circle paving slabs that they want to get rid of?

These ones from B&Q are about right, but I don't really need a whole set, as I just want about half a circle to make some seating with.

I am definitely going to go over the £325 B&Q spend (and that's before I even start with the shed), so am trying to use reclaimed/secondhand stuff wherever I can.

Openyourheart Tue 16-Jul-13 11:23:45

Lissieloo NICE! smile

Roma2013 Tue 16-Jul-13 11:42:59

Has anyone, on further examination of what their stores offer, selected other products for their revamp rather than what they initially thought they'd get? Their fencing isn't high enough to cover our 2 metre walls so we need to think of other ways of revamping it?

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 12:15:46

Haughty, I'm no help, but I love your name grin

Roma, I did. I thought we would get decking tiles at first, but after talking to my BFF went for the boards. He said that the tiles aren't as long lasting over large areas.

Terra and Open, thank you. We have just got some fence paint and will be going out in a sec.

DoingItOurSelves Tue 16-Jul-13 12:30:04

We’re doing a few things back to front because of circumstances, (and answering the questions back to front too!) as we’ve had something unexpected happen to deal with between when we entered and getting selected, so a bit behind, (and ds is busy today and tomorrow, and another couple of days) but will hopefully be able to catch up soon.

Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from?
Mainly looking at other people’s gardens and wondering if we could make something of ours, and real concerns about how difficult birds found it last winter and how few bees and butterflies seem to be around this year. It’s inspired us to try and do the little bit we might be able to do to help. We’re also inspired by reducing, recycling, reusing, where practical.

What sort of style are you going for etc?
We want to make a wheelchair accessible gardening area, with a small eating and hopefully barbeque area that attracts birds and bees and butterflies.
It all has to be based around accessibility and budget, (one of the problems of disability is tbh it doubles or triples the budget for everything to make it accessible) so we’re going with practicality and accessibility, first and foremost, and the style is likely to be quite eclectic, as it’s going to have a mixture of reused materials given a new lease of life using B+Q materials, reduced items, and new materials from B+Q, then using creativity to tie it together and blend it all. (wish us luck! grin )

How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful?
Long answers here and we aren’t done yet, but here it is so far:

We dropped into our first B+Q (London) a few days back, and were unable to access 2/3rds of the garden centre in a wheelchair because of too much clutter in the aisles. Most plants and many things like decking and gravel were out of reach. Some of the clutter may have been dumped by customers, but a lot clearly wasn’t. Ds could get around but I couldn’t, even with help.sad The bit of the plants we could get near were looking very sorry for themselves, and lots of clearly dry as a bone, un-watered dying plants, many lying on their sides. sad

To be fair to the staff member I eventually collared (one saw me but out ran me!) they went to see if they could shift some of it before realising it was too big a task, then offered to go get me anything to look at, but I explained I didn’t really know what I wanted without seeing it. (though thanked them for good intentions.)
They suggested I should shop on line in future to avoid the problem and I gently said we shouldn’t really have to, and they left at that point, so did we.
I phoned the store to let them know, and was just told it would be passed on to the manager, but will wait to see if they’ve sorted this out before naming them.

Pretty disappointed tbh, but the next day we were headed past Watford (a journey we’re having to make a lot at the moment) so decided to drop into B+Q there, but just to browse.
What a difference! All staff were really helpful, and a clear, tidy, navigable store with no access problems for wheelchairs, and disabled bays close to the entrance, and self-service tills that a wheelchair user can reach and operate independently.

We’ve actually had and are still receiving, the most amazing service from everyone at this store, with several staff members going well beyond what could be expected and getting very behind the idea of us wanting to focus on reuse, recycle and reduce in our garden where possible, and keep an eye out on green footprints too.

I was very pleasantly surprised as I thought it might fly in the face of a large commercial organisation’s focus, but far from it.

So that’s where we’re doing most of our buying. I’m going to talk more about some of the individuals and service we’ve had as we go, because they really are an amazing bunch and deserve to be highlighted.

But for now, I’m just going to say Andy and Morag in particular are absolute stars, (going way beyond all expectations in helping us stretch that budget) and there’s a very good team there. smile

We weren’t intending to buy, just browse, but the reduced strawberry’s at 6 for £1, and the strawberry’s in hanging baskets at £2.50 were too good to miss, and Andy who was reducing them automatically picked out the best one’s of the top shelves (which I can’t see) instead of leaving me with the best of what I could see and reach, (what normally happens) and realising we hadn’t expected to be buying, went and got us a trolley despite ds’s legs being perfectly fine.

A quick browse and off to pay at self-service where we found Chelsea who was absolutely lovely and very helpful getting our non-barcoded reduced items through and showed me how to use the card (a new skill for me) with helpful patience, to the point I think she deserves the name-check.

Andy had also suggested we joined the B+Q club for news of extra deals available, so when we went over to their build (and trade point) building, we told the cashier we’d like to join and were taken to a computer by another staff member who signed us up and further explained the e-mail offers. He apologised for the length of time the computer took to manage the task.

DoingItOurSelves Tue 16-Jul-13 12:32:45

We then got the first B+Q club email and handily in it was ‘15% of decking!’ (this offer runs until Tomorrow)
We’d seen some decking reduced, (but didn’t have measurements on us) at the build warehouse but had forgotten how much, so called up, and got Shannon who went and checked it, had difficulties with the computer (not her fault) which meant we were on the phone for some time, (which I didn’t mind but others might) while she valiantly ran backwards and forwards sorting out everything the old fashioned way, grabbing us the amount we needed and reserving it for the day we would be passing again to pick it up.
Again really good service, but I get the feeling that great staff are making up for a not so great computer system?.

We’ve been really impressed by the staff at this store, every one of them I’ve met has not only done a good job but gone the extra mile for us. Our local store really could learn from them.

We picked up a render repair kit, some more reduced plants, and some reduced sharp sand, along with the decking and still have 2/3rds of the budget left.

Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?
Cold Lay Repair Macadam I didn’t know it existed. (I may have to attack our unloved road next!) Render repair kit.

In a minute I have to take some flowers to a hospice and am then going to spend the rest of the day in the garden.

DoingItOurSelves Tue 16-Jul-13 12:46:48

Haughty hello, I don't, but if I spot anything during our dark corner searches I'll let you know.

Roma It might not be your style, but, if you look at the 2nd fence panel in our second before picture, the bottom piece is a broken fence (brought very cheap) cut down with a hand saw, and a piece of timber nailed on top to make a riser, with an ordinary panel nailed on top of that for additional height.
It was just knocked together for practicality but it could easily be done with more finesse.

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 13:27:38

Roma - would it work to put a section of trellis on top of your fence? Were you planning to grow anything up the fence or to have it plain?

Geeklover Tue 16-Jul-13 14:00:37

- Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

Dc and me moved into this house nearly 4 months ago. The garden has never been up to much it is mostly slabbed with a small strip and corner of grass. There is a council issue (broken) whirly in the middle. I'd like to make it somewhere I can sit in the evening while the dc play in the new sand pit and paddling pool while I enjoy a glass of wine.. We haven't been in long and I just didn't have the money to do anything to it.
Id like to put decking from the back step to halfway down the slabs which run the length. with a nice table and parasol to sit under. Im not great with the garden so don't want a heap of plants.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?
I didn't really get the inspiration from anywhere I knew I fancied decking, in an ideal world I would have loved to lift the slabs and relay nicer ones where the decking runs out but just can't do it on this budget and time scale but after my time in B&Q I know the cost will probably be acheivable with a bit of saving and preperation for next summer.

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?
My delivery doesn't arrive until tomorrow so not sure what practical help I will get. Most will probably be myself but I'm sure I can rope in some help with the decking.
The guys Peter and Paul in B&Q Inverness were fab for ideas though and really did try their best to help me get what I want and stretch my budget as far as it would go.

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?
Shopping experience was a bit mixed if I'm honest. The 2 people I mentioned above really went out their way to help as much as they could and Peter spent a good hour and a half with me on my second visit after a quick visit the day I got my voucher to try and price up some ideas.
The down side was that I had to spend over a certain amount to get free delivery, not a problem as such because I was spending over that but there were some things I was able to and really could have done with taking away that day. The problem started when my mum had asked if I could use her diamond discount card along with this voucher which gave me 10% off. She spoke to several people and they all checked and that was fine could use it, when I went to customer service the problem was that they take off 10% then the card is handed over at the checkout to take off 10% again which seemed ludicrous. It was apparently to ensure that my delivery was always over £250 even with the discount applied. To do this I needed to agree to have some of the take home that day stuff delivered as well.
It would have made far more sense to have the 10% taken off the total at the end but maybe I'm missing something. So this meant that I was at customer servce for a silly amount of time while she put it all through, decided that it wouldn't work with the discount, then put it all through again this time charging me full price for something I'd taken off display as they had no others left.
Which was my next problem. I was looking at the catalougue they had given me the day before I had chosen a very cheap bistro table and chairs, and a couple of other patio things. They had none. Not just the cheapy bright coloured set that I wanted, they had next to none of anything. I did ask about ordering, fair enough they had been busy we wee going through a glorious spell of weather but was told they didn't reckon that I'd be able to get any of them before my deadline. It just seems silly that they suddenly start phasing out summer stuff right at the time everyone is starting to buyit. This is where Peter came into his own again and spent ages with me trying to work out the best way to do it and if there was any way we could mix and match to get something that wasn't going to blow my budget out the water.

- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?
Not yet, I will be looking at their tips and any videos on how to assemble my decking. I would also like to use the extra few bits of decking I ordered to make a trough/planeter down one possibly both of the outside edges of the decking.

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?
Tbh they really did a lot, the delivery/discount thing should have been made clearer. We had spoken to several people and they were aware of the delivery/take home situation. I could really have done with a few of the bits and pieces I had to leave behind that don't arrive until tomorrow to get a bit more groundwork done before the decking arrives.

- Have you had any feedback on what you've done with the garden from family/friends? Has the transformation had a big impact on you and/or your family?
I will answer this one when we are done. The children are very excited about having a nice (even) place to sit out and have dinner, which they have been asking to do since the good weather came.
I am looking forward to having somewhere nice to sit out and watch them play that is not the back doorstep.
I'll let you all know how it feels.

I've still got to upload some picks from my phone when I figure that out I'll put the beofre shots on and some of the dc weeding between the paving slabs ready for the decking.

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 17:00:26

I've spent all afternoon painting the fence and fitting the gate.

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 17:01:32

and here

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 17:02:33

view from the chairs/decking

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 17:03:50

We also painted our crappy old bench in "Harry's Deckchair" and it's given it a whole new lease of life!

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 17:04:22

Next is pebbling the other side.

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 17:42:25

This is my garden post clear out, post holly tree trim, and post removal of the shed. We are having builders round tomorrow to take up the concrete slab, path and to lay a new base for the new shed.

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 17:43:14

Garden looking towards the house. With one very crowded herb bed.

HaughtyCulturist Tue 16-Jul-13 17:45:09

lissieloo that is looking lovely! I like the soft blue colour on the bench.

BeehavingBaby Tue 16-Jul-13 18:31:01

Amazing, love the bright decking and the painted bench.

Slower going here, have put the weedkiller down and everything is now just as weedy but straw coloured - still have to pull it up it seems, I thought it might disintegrate!

My garden is a series of spaces so I am trying to pick one to concentrate on, like when they picked a room in the house in the last promotion. Rubbish removing negotiations with next door also not going great .

lissieloo Tue 16-Jul-13 20:28:32

Haughty, I would love a herb patch. I keep saying I will attach a window box to the kitchen Window.

And thank you both, I am so pleased with it. My shoulders are a bit burnt but it was worth it. Our neighbour's described it as "seaside-y" and they are right. I'm glad we plumped for the cream decking and fence paint, it looks really bright. Need to paint the other two fences now.

OpheliaBumps Tue 16-Jul-13 21:14:54

lissie that's gorgeous, am amazed at how much you've got done! It looks really lovely, so welcoming I bet you can't wait to get out there!

How hard was it to level the ground for the decking? Am still veering between gravel or decking to go under the new playhouse, gravel will be easier, but decking would look smarter.

haughty I love your herb bed, all we've got is two huge thyme plants, everything else has died, although I'll be restocking as part of the makeover, and relocating all herbs to the side of the house where they seem to thrive (the poor, sandy soil there seems to suit them well).

Openyourheart Tue 16-Jul-13 21:30:39

So please with what I found in B&Q today. I found raised bed kits which are about 2m x 1m in softwood for about £17. result!!

Openyourheart Tue 16-Jul-13 21:32:18

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

I've just picked up the stuff I wanted and taken it to the checkout. Yes, I have seen things that were not online.

Roma2013 Tue 16-Jul-13 22:12:30

Haughty - not sure if it d work. Have ditched the fence idea now and I couldn t find a B&Q video tutorial on rendering 2m high exterior walls. Not sure I d be that confident of getting the rendering to stick or of it being a smooth finish.

Have found some cheaper pavers, however (though not from B&Q who were relatively more expensive). I will order my sand and cement from there however. I also need to change the paint colour I bought. Do you think they d exchange it fr a different colour? It s pre mixed so nothing specially made.

Openyourheart Tue 16-Jul-13 22:20:46

It would be good if B&Q could come on and answer some of the questions!

Roma2013 Tue 16-Jul-13 22:28:16

Anyway, I m going back to B&Q on Thursday again. Hopefully, this visit will be less frustrating. Appalled at the wheelchair inaccessibility. Isn't that illegal these days??

Roma2013 Wed 17-Jul-13 07:52:08

Photo upload didn't work. Okay.. Will try again in next post.
DoingItOurselves - thanks for the suggestion. That may work but now after pavers and paint, rethinking how we should spend the money. I think I m going to look at sheds now instead. A shed would at least mask the ugly carport door (all quotes we ve had for its removal and bricking up have come on over a £1000! so that s out of ghe wuestion right now. we do need storage for the bikes which are covered with a tarpaulin atm. if these and kids' toys could be stored in a shed, the yatd might look less cluttered. The walls can be painted a different colour (hoping B & Q will exchange paint tomorrow). I'm not sure about trellising. I like the look of it but we had dome before and I wonder if the climbing plants made it too damp an environment and caused the paint to peel (it was exterior masonry paint though).

Am going to move the old climber today (it ll need a temporary home but I've no idea where. I shall remove the breeze blocks and climber soil so as to clear the yard for paving and repainting the walls. I would love to have them all rerendered but we just can't afford this.

lissieloo Wed 17-Jul-13 08:01:50

Ophelia, thank you. The paint dried beautifully and the crappy, decrepit fence looks almost new. I'm having a day off today though, helping in school library this afternoon and my mums coming over after school (if anyone can find something wrong, its her wink)

The levelling was fairly easy. Because of the frame it doesn't need to be perfect and you can always build up, that's what dh did, it was slightly wider than we expected so there was a quite sharp dip.

Open, I saw those raised beds, they look really good!

Roma, you could get a bike shed, they are cheaper than normal sheds iirc.

Roma2013 Wed 17-Jul-13 08:17:28

I ll look at those too lissie but I need to hide most of the ugly carport door so it may need to be higher than that

DoingItOurSelves Wed 17-Jul-13 09:16:51

Roma the law requires ‘reasonable adjustments’ to be made, and the staff member offering to get things for me comes under that, though in the case of a supposed to be an accessible store there’s a much more reasonable way of achieving it.
Currently anyone’s able to take a business to court if they are breaking the DDA and disabled people aren’t a homogenous group, but I’m in the camp of would like to see this country go down the ‘we do things out of common decency, common sense, and mutual goodwill route’ not ‘because we could get sued if we don’t’ route, and of course many improvements are often also of general benefit to all customers, whether or not they’re disabled.

B+Q’s actual policy is:

^Disability and B&Q
In 1998 B&Q started to learn about the needs of disabled people as customers, employees and the local community and understand the barriers to employment and shopping that people with disabilities can sometimes face as part of everyday life.
This led to B&Q launching a disability programme, which includes staff training, customer service, access to our stores and a review of our recruitment and employment policies and practices to ensure accessibility for all.
B&Q is committed to ensuring that our stores, goods and services are accessible for disabled people, and we want to ensure that B&Q is the company of first choice to respond to the spending power of disabled people and provide a welcoming environment that is easy to shop, and enables disabled and older people to find the inspiration and solutions to enjoy and participate in DIY and gardening.^

So hopefully when I visit that store in a few days, they will have remembered that and sorted out their problems and not be making them mine. smile

There shouldn’t be a problem exchanging the paint for a different colour if it’s unopened, they must be so used to that one. grin

Lissieloo another one saying that’s lovely. I did think that was going to be a seaside view until I saw the field!

TerraNotSoFirma that’s taking shape nicely. Because of the high level’s of direct sunshine at the moment, I’d be tempted to drape the bush with a piece of light cotton for a few days and feed it’s roots to be sure. I’m not a knowledgeable gardener at all but my small trees and bushes in pots, including variegated holly, suddenly got very scorched leaves and keeling over after I moved them out of their normal shade, and doing that has saved them.

We have so much to do, so I’d better get on with it!

lissieloo Wed 17-Jul-13 09:29:02

Doing, thank you. I'm with you on the common decency front. tbh, I can't believe the difference between the stores. Shrewsbury is a mini-warehouse, the garden section isn't huge but the builders is massive. But the service we received from the staff was excellent. They really knew their stuff.

Geeklover Wed 17-Jul-13 14:39:31

This is my before picture up the length of the garden It really is a mess.
Excuse the washing, we are currently potty training a very reluctant ds2 and I have a full load every day of his stuff.
I am still a little undecided if the decking is going to run from the back doorstep or from the edge of the slabs back. If the latter I am giong to build the gap up with breeze blocks and put chips on top.
I am going to see some advice and inspiration from a friend and go from there.

Geeklover Wed 17-Jul-13 14:47:56

This pick is ds1 and 2 with the decking that arrived this morning.
Just after this picture was taken I looked at them and realised I was one short.
I called the store and got a woman that I remember from customer service desk last week. She barely listened to me, was talking to another member of staff while I was talking to her and was pretty uninterested. It was such a shame when everyone else had been lovely.
She said oh well the boys never said the had anything left on the lorry.
Then she disappeared and said I could get it next week the only deliver to me on a Wednesday.
I explained about the deadline etc. and she seemed incredulous that one deck board made a difference. I didn't get the chance to explain I ordered extra that would not be used for the decking floor but for a matching planter so actually I need all the time i've got in case I screw it up
So she said she'd ask someone else and call me back.
She called back with her bestest phone voice on and said someone would bring it this afternoon.

I'm not sure if she had been told to be nice as the people with these vouchers were rating service as well but she definitely was far nicer than I had seen her last week and our earlier conversation today.

As for the delivery I got a text message last night saying to expect my delivery between 9.30 and 12.30 today and it came just after 10 so very impressed and the guys delivering were great.
Moved their van round the back of my house where there is direct access to the garden and took it right in despite it being marked as to pavement delivery.

Roma2013 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:03:43

Lesson learned: it always takes SO much longer than you thought..
So today, I removed the breezeblock planter and transferred the 7 ft pyracantha into a temporary plastic bucket (had to cut alot if the roots off to do this so hope it survives). It took me forever and I had to manage to lift it up by myself into the bucket whilst keeping the trellis it was attached to upright (I d unscrewed this from the wall). I have many splinters, wrecked nails and pincushion arms from the thorns. Far too hot for this work. Am officially knackered.

Roma2013 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:12:54

Hope this is now the right way up

Roma2013 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:16:04

Here is the pyracantha in its temporary new home

HaughtyCulturist Wed 17-Jul-13 16:46:08

Decidedly unimpressed!

I went in to the store today to order the stuff that I need to make my raised beds. I spoke to a very helpful guy called Aaron, who gave me some genuinely useful advice. I even managed to find a cheaper way of doing some of my plans. So far so good.

He then told me that the store I went do don't do bulk deliveries of building materials, so I would have to go away and place a phone order. He filled out a form with all the codes that I needed. I checked with him that I could use the gift card over the phone, and after asking some of his colleagues he told me that I could.

I then went home and called up the bulk delivery number. I was on hold for ages, before speaking to someone who told me that he could not take my order, but he would take the details of what I wanted and someone would call me back. I explained that I was about to go out to work and that I would not be contactable for the next few hours. He confirmed that I needed to place the order today for a Saturday delivery (so that I can work on my garden this weekend.

I checked with him that I could use my giftcard, and he told me no. I needed to place the order in store! I am currently on hold to the store, but apparently the people that I need to talk to are not currently available.

So bloody frustrating! I have hired a cement mixer for this weekend, so if I can't place the order this evening I may well be out of pocket.

I am going to have to go back to the store to place the order, which means that I will be working until bloody midnight.

HaughtyCulturist Wed 17-Jul-13 17:19:21

Sorted! It was really easy to do once I was back in store and I can have the delivery by Friday. It just seems like a ridiculous system that they try to arrange that you can't place and pay for your order in store.

lissieloo Wed 17-Jul-13 18:12:27

Roma, what a beautiful plant!

Geeklover, glad you got it sorted, I wonder if they have been told to look for us..

Haughty, glad you got it sorted. It does seem unnecessarily long winded.

Well, my parents have been round. They don't like it. It's too bright. I was really upset but then thought feck 'em, it's not up to them. Tomorrow I am back out there, weeding the bed between the decking and the fence and painting the other fence.

Roma2013 Wed 17-Jul-13 18:54:02

Lissie, bright is good!! It's almost 7pm and I'm still at it. I have some men coming around to quote for some work and I look like a brickie. Have even got a bottle of beer in hand lol.

lissieloo Wed 17-Jul-13 19:16:05

Haha, its important to look the part! And thank you. They are just being spiteful because we did it ourselves without consulting them.

BeehavingBaby Wed 17-Jul-13 20:02:42

Does anyone haver a pinterest board for this? Here's mine.

Also found that on youtube you can watch all of Alan Titchmarsh's 'How to be a Gardener' series which has been really encouraging (if a bit large scale). Think it was suggested after one of the videos he did for B&Q.

love your pinterest board, just followed you (am DM)

Roma2013 Wed 17-Jul-13 22:42:57

I was quite impressed with B&Q this evening. I'd reserved online 3 tins of paint. They rang me up to say that they'd only had 2 in stock at the branch I was going to. I thought their system of cross-checking with online reserving and your preferred branch was good - and then to personally phone to let us know the situation was impressive customer service. I'll still collect the two they do have but it helped knowing and pre-empted any frustration.

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 10:08:38

Morning all. Apologies forst for lack of update pictures, but something is up with my email server.
Dh has been my hero this week and all the grass has been cleared. It is a complete miracle in this heat tbh. The ground is like concrete though. We are shifting the soil from out of the raised beds today and I have been given lots of manure from my friend down the road who keeps horses. We will be digging this through today. ( if we are able)Dh is going to get a couple of saws at B&Q today : this will finally enable us to remove lots of the overhanging tree growth.
keep on keeping on!
Pics soon, but honestly theres nowt but a load of mud to look at really.
We reckon that the prep for planting will take atleast 10 days. Hoping we will be able to do some sort of reveal on 27th. That is the plan

DoingItOurSelves Thu 18-Jul-13 10:11:08

Ds was off again yesterday so I was working alone, cleaning up the remains of old wall to paint with masonry paint (we plan to do the walls too) and re-use to build w/c accessible pot shelves/planters.

At the moment it's all doing the looking worse before it gets better trick.

Big shock to discover all the breeze block holes are full of house rubble that’s been cemented in, (some concreted) this is surely not normal practise?

Still lots to go and am going to have the most toned arm muscles imaginable by the end.

You can just see one of the B+Q decking tiles we're going for, in the right hand side of the pic. This one is piled with blocks and earth and is acting as a tester to make sure they will be fine with the amount of weight I want to pile on some of them as no one was quite sure what the weight tolerance would be, but thought they would be fine. So far it's seemed very robust and unbothered which is excellent.

I forgot I had eye protector and dust mask pulled up on the top of my head when I went out for milk! grin

DoingItOurSelves Thu 18-Jul-13 10:27:12

Wrong picture for decking tile, try again:

TallulahTT Thu 18-Jul-13 10:48:14

I went to B&Q for a few more plants this morning, I had planned on getting 2-3 evergreens to fill some gaps, I ended up with 13 large potted various items and 5 trays of bedding tray plants (some dead) but lots had been reduced to 20p/50p and £1 so it came to £21.05 (including 1 full price item - what i went for!) for them all. BUT there were only self serve checkouts open, I didn't know what to do with so many reduced items, the sales person was lovely, she went to get another trolley to put them in after they were scanned and helped me and told me not to worry when I dropped a plant, probably the only dry one and the soil went everywhere, she said I'd keep her busy! I was mortified but she was genuinely lovely and didn't know I was a gift card/promotion person as she was sweeping up at that point.

Now I just need to plant them all...

DoingItOurSelves Thu 18-Jul-13 10:49:07

Lissie bright is good, sorry parents comments upset you, but your garden’s for your tastes, not theirs, and as you can see we all love it too.

Beehaving I also love your board. I haven’t got anything like that all neatly arranged but this project has brought it home to me how ‘technologically behind’ I really am, so in the future I might!

We're just off to pick up some bricks and sand and then get on with more of it.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:07:24

Lissie i think your deck and fence look gorgeous.

I am hugely impressed at everyone's progress.

Haughty glad i'm not the only one, it's great you got it sorted in the end, but yes, i think b&q need to take note that their bulk delivery ordering service deson't always work well

what a wonderful haul Tallulah, you've inspired me to pop over to B&Q at lunchtime, fortunatly i work just around teh corner

we have been very busy, i'm going to try and put up a few pics

i'm sort of stuggling with the filming bit. i've done a couple but they're just a few seconds long, it seems hard to film a whole minute for some reason. and my family won't co operate sad

i hope a larger number of shorter films will be ok?

right i'm going to try and do some photos....

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:17:33

here's my pinterest

let it not be said i lack ambition!

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 11:18:00

nice cleaned up driveway

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 11:20:12

nearly all cleared ( by hand)

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 11:20:59

smart front door ( at Last)

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 11:21:54

whoo hoo trellis all ready fro a wisteria

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:39:50

weedy boarder, i've strung string a ling it in a straight line and once it's been dug over i'm going to trasplant the turn we lift from the lawn to reduce the depth and (hopefully) have a neater edge rather than lawn blending in

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:41:49

we lifted the strepping stones and tried marking out the curve with flour, which teh dog licked up so in teh end we did it by eye

here is the first piece of turf being lifted!

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:42:38

DP & DS hard at work in the blazing sun

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:45:02

Done!

we cut it out to a depth of more or less 10mm. the dragons teeth are because the line of the old stepping stones deviated from where the new path is going.

i do intend cutting a bed down each side of the path but this is going to have to be done at a later date i think

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:46:22

the next job is to clear a strip under these horrid conifers and put the railway sleepers along heer to make a nice neat edge

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:47:24

imagine my excitement when buried under the turn i discoverd a nice brick edge!!

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:48:07

whoops - here

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:48:47

i'm thrilled with my edge - cleaned off

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:49:51

my haul

although i have to fess up, i got the sleepers locally. they were bigger, better and cheaper than b&q's

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:51:46

lovely colour cremola isn't it amazing what a difference splashing a bit of paint around makes?

Roma2013 Thu 18-Jul-13 12:04:50

Back to B&Q to exchange paint for walls - no problem. There was a very helpful chap this time called Mark on the paint section (Scotswood Rd branch). He went out of his way to help.

Last night I did some Internet searching to find out the amounts of sand/cement we would need to lay/fix patio.
It was all Greek to me so I thought we'll just ask I store for some help. Hah.

Woman at customer services desk was fine, checked on two planters we'd ordered, out of stock til' 22nd.fine.
She gave DH the serial number of the slabs from previous order so that he could go and get some extra.

He told her he needed some help with how much sand/cement ect he needed for laying the patio and was told that someone in that section would be able to advise him on the amounts he needed. Great.

Two members of staff were asked, no one could help with amounts of sand/cement needed. No effort, just a shrug of the shoulders and "sorry, I dunno"

So he ended up just wandering around aimlessly, found some sand and something called pave fix, hopefully it will be the right stuff and enough of it.

He did feel that they were possibly a bit understaffed, but this is a retail outlet not just a trade store, people buying from here are novices and need some help. Not all that impressed today.

HaughtyCulturist Thu 18-Jul-13 17:21:41

I have booked the day off work tomorrow, and will be going first thing to the hire shop to pick up a Rotorvator to break up the ground, followed shortly by my B&Q delivery! Exciting day!

I probably won't be able to bend my back by the evening, but it will be good to make some real progress.

I haven't yet finished with my delivery saga. I was planning on ordering everything in one go so that I didn't have to pay a delivery charge, but with this stupid system for ordering stuff from the builders yard over the phone, I could not make my order for slate chippings at the same time, as they have to come from the garden department. This means that I will probably have to pay a delivery charge for the chippings, even though I was ready to order them on the same day.

The only reason that I didn't place the order yesterday was that I had spent so much time being messed around that I ran out of time. I might try and argue it out with them when I do go back to make my order.

lissieloo Thu 18-Jul-13 20:21:22

Ween, that's awesome, it makes such a difference doesn't it? I've bought a few things from Home Bargains and Poundland too.

Creamola, that looks brill, what a lovely colour!

I am absolutely shagged. I've been digging the "flower beds" up today, I found an ants nest in the root of my xmas tree and the previous tenants obviously had nice stones, which are all covered my mud.

My shoulders and back are killing and my hips are so sore.

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 21:53:53

Why thanks everyone . grinI am v please with colour: it is Fern weathercoat by--home base -- sorry b&q but it was the exact shade I wanted and I just saw it and bought it! Lol
Dh has surpassed himself today by stripping the trees we plan to remove while I was at work!
It's made a vast difference to the space - now looks HUGE! ( just the trunk stumps to be dug out now )
I can now start to visualise the finished garden and am excitedgrin

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 21:56:05

Ps lissyloo I am aching from bending and digging. Stuff the gym. Gardening is the new Zumba!grin

DoingItOurSelves Thu 18-Jul-13 22:06:11

Big downer here. It turns out that spending lots of time consulting and listening to B+Q staff, then shopping, then loading, then going over to their build department and spending ages signing up for B +Q club wasn't so smart after all. sad

Watford B+Q carpark has a two hour time limit to do everything in, including for disabled drivers, and I was so busy finding the entrance (a hard right off a one way system) I didn't spot the notice.

I've received a parking charge from Parking Eye for £100!

Cremolafoam Thu 18-Jul-13 22:21:38

Oh DIOS that is horrendous . I'm very sorry indeed to hear that. shock
Surely there must be recourse with the parking company. ? I do hope so

sharond101 Thu 18-Jul-13 22:37:25

We moved into a new property in December and spent the first six months with the back blinds down because the much heap was too unbearable. Now though it's a beautiful piece of work with patio, lawn and flowers. I even bought DH a bird table for his birthday.

OpheliaBumps Thu 18-Jul-13 22:38:28

doing google parking eye fines, I'm sure if you ignore it nothing will happen, you might get a threatening letter but they won't take you to court. Have a search on here, and Money Saving Expert, for advice, but don't pay it!

DoingItOurSelves Thu 18-Jul-13 22:48:20

Cremola it shows a photo of me with my badge displayed, and says I can use their appeal and complaints procedure which sounds perfectly reasonable, but the owner of the vehicle (who kindly lent it to me) says if I do I'm acknowledging a debt to them, and they then will be able to enforce it against him as the registered keeper.
Ophelia I will, thanks.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Thu 18-Jul-13 22:55:57

Nooooo Doing that's a bloody outrage. Do not pay it. But even the hassle of fighting - you just don't bloody need it. What a massive pain on the arse

I've just seen my appalling typos. Sorry I'm so incomprehensible. I've not really got a defence other than my fat fingers and aching shoulders. If I've still got bingo wings at the end of this ill have to accept they're terminal

DoingItOurSelves Thu 18-Jul-13 23:31:58

WeenSpirits it certainly wiped the grin of my face.

Wonders idly if B+Q would like me as a legitimate customer with a legitimate reason to take longer to manage to shop in two separate stores (a stroll across a car park for many but a major use of arm power for me) to road test their car park enforcers appeals service?
For the cost of the fine if we lose, I’m all theirs.

Roma2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 07:49:19

To summarise, B&Q, if you're monitoring this thread, some conclusions to date are:

1. Your instore/online ordering system needs an overhaul. There are inconsistencies and customers can get rather frustrated being told one thing then another, of being sent 'around the houses' by different staff. This relates to 2.

2. Staff have huge variations in knowledge. I don't think it's their fault. One staff member explained this to me as being because there are so many different promotions. The tills don't often register the promotion at the checkout. even if you rely on part-time, casual labour you need a better system of ensuring staff can access quickly and readily information.

3. Your online reserving system is clunky. It allowed me to reserve 3 tins of paint when there was only two in store to collect. Now, someone DID. phone me up and let me know that the third wasn't available so checks are being made. However, in this technological age we live in, your systems should be able to check stock instantly and transmit that information to the reserving customer at point of online Reserve. Everything gets scanned through the tills I presume so it would be possible. Out of interest, I looked again two days later at the paint stock reservation online. It was still showing 'available'. Now it might be the case that you've had more stock in but I don't think I d chance driving a full hour's round trip in case it was just that your system's takes forever to update.

4. It appears that good customer service at B&Q is hugely variable. Some of us have been lucky enough to meet with very pleasant, helpful individual staff. Others haven't. This mediates your PR. You need to sort it. Similarly, whether or not a customer can find someone to help is also pot-luck. The stores are so big that you can wander around for a long time searching for someone in an orange uniform. Staff on the ground also get frustrated at sometimes not to be able to contact a manager. One assistant I dealt with rang for 20 mins to authorise my price reduction. He couldn't get hold of a single manager. Very poor. Very frustrating for us both.

5. Please do not shelve absolute responsibility for parking to Parking Eye (where this applies). Whether you know this or not, customers just think 'B&Q' when they have parking restrictions/fines. This affects YOUR PR! Incidentally, until you get around to sorting this, a 'gesture of goodwill' might be in keeping for the poster below who fell foul of a somewhat ridiculous 2 hr parking limit. Given your lack of staff on the ground, their variable knowledges and the size of your stores, it is not unreasonable to spend more time than this (some stores have cafes serving lunch).

6. There are some things that I love about B&Q - your wide selection of house DIY products (though stock availability is variable). I have to say though (and it depends what this Gardens survey is for...) but at MY local stores, the Gardening section could be vastly improved. Plants need attending daily so they look in tiptop condition. They are often crowded together too much and randomly priced. If no price label is attached, and no staff around to ask, customers will just not buy it. This is especially the case with gardening products. People walk and browse in this dept because it is a nice thing to do (that's why Garden Centres and Parks exist). They often buy on the spur of the moment. Impulse purchase. They won't if they gave to disentangle a thirsty looking unpriced plant from its neighbours. Also check the condition of your pots. Many are chipped or broken at the base. Not a good impression as customers may attribute this to not being weather proof.

I am sure others will come along with more ideas. You could be 'brilliant' you know...

Geeklover Fri 19-Jul-13 10:44:00

I've got some more pics to upload later when I'm on my computer.
I've totally changed my mind about where I'm putting the decking.
Exdh has been helping this morning and pulled out a massive bush of weeds that appeared from nowhere and now it's cleared I measure the space it sits between my house and the neighbours outbuilding thing and my decking will be a nice fit.
The way I get the sun means that it'll be just as nice a spot as the original plan and will actually make more sense because of the nice fit.
So exh had been despatch ex to buy some tools to get that but dug up and evened off.
Wish me luck grin it's me that's doing it.

DoingItOurSelves Fri 19-Jul-13 11:23:29

Good luck Geeklover!
Roma, tbh it isn't just restrictions/fines, the car park appears to be entirely B+Q's property, (apart from a food van) it wasn't visibly a private operation at all. Even with hindsight it still looks very much like it’s all down to B+Q and belongs to them.
You enter down an unlikely small road off a major route, having managed not to get rear ended braking for it, (the sign is at the beginning apparently) and go down it thinking it must be wrong, before it opens out and you’re hit by Orange signage everywhere with two very large B+Q buildings with large external displays, and parking and trolleys, in the centre between the two stores. One is on the left and one on the right, visually joined up by a pedestrian corridor of B+Q products. There’s no visible other businesses there.

It seems I am road testing the system for them anyway, so:

It appears from the letter there is a sign (as you turn off the one way system) and they say there is signage throughout the car park.

I called the store to ask if this sign we missed said anything about concessions for disabled drivers, and they said the only sign they knew about was when you enter but they couldn't go and look because it's out near the entrance, off the road, not in the car park, and they don't know where any in the car park or near the buildings are, and are short staffed today.

I tried calling Parking eye to see if they knew what their sign said, but the phone number is automated messages only.

So I phoned B+Q customer services who said it is their landlords who have this arrangement with Parking Eye, not them, but if i could find the receipt I could go back to the store and they could request cancellation for me, and if I couldn't find the receipt then the store might be able to trace the purchases made that day by going through the computer system. (Would all this take less than two hours parked up, I wonder?)
She did however come up with another phone number for Parking Eye, so I phoned it.

I told them sorry I didn't wish to give the notice number or my details, just for them to please check if there was any concession for disabled drivers and loading time at this car park. They initially told me B+Q owned the site and it was up to them how long I got, they just enforced it for them, but when I said that wasn't correct, they said it was indeed an independent landlord and no there was no extra time for disabled drivers.
I said if I'd known that, I'd have done one store, chucked my chair in the van, and driven out and round the block, got the chair back out and done the other store.

Apparently you will also be fined £100 if you re-enter the car park within three hours so beware, if you've forgoton something, don't 'pop' back, without reading their the car park rules carefully.

At this point after asking an awful lot of questions politely, and asking if photo's of a lot of B+Q products would do in lieu of a receipt, if I couldn't find it, and mentioning that everyone in store would have been very aware of woman in wheelchair with large amounts of stuff, she said that actually the manager of the store (must be the manager, not a deputy) can just phone them and ask for it to be cancelled!
She did then offer if I gave details, to freeze action on the charge for ten days while I sorted it out, but I declined explaining I didn’t wish to do anything that implied I’d entered any contract with them.

So you know what I'm off to do next.... (instead of doing the work I need to be doing)

DoingItOurSelves Fri 19-Jul-13 11:56:47

I've called and had to explain why I need to contact him, and left my number, so hopefully it will all get resolved easily enough.
The staff member I spoke to knew about the time restriction as has to have a staff arrangement for their own car because of it, but wasn't aware of the return restrictions on customers, and thanked me for drawing it to their attention.
We've lost the morning so better crack on.

Cremolafoam Fri 19-Jul-13 12:56:36

Ween can I ask you how you marked out your path? I will being doing a similarly shaped one soon. ( without dino teeth grin)Did you do it freehand or mathematically with string and posts and braininess?
looks really good

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 19-Jul-13 13:35:35

Hi Cremola, we tried doing ot with a bit of string and one of us at one end so it was like a compass, but it didn't work

so in the end we did it by eye. we went a along with one of those crecent shaped cutting things for doing the edges of lawns and sliced a bit in shaving a bit here and there to make it right. then i got a stick and cut it to the width of the path and moved it a long marking every now and then to keep it even(ish)

hang on i'll find a photo of it now....

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 19-Jul-13 13:36:53

our lovely friend came and did teh paving for us yesterday, i am thrilled, he's done a great job and it makes such a difference

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 19-Jul-13 13:49:10

stay strong Doing grin

i spent my last £30 odd on plants yesterday, i bought a hydrangea, because it looked beautiful,(see Roma's point about impulse buys grin) i had planned to put it in the weed bed in front of the bay window, but i need to check how big it'll grow first.

i am a bit cross, i bought two trays of strawberry plants specifically because they were reduced, and i've just looked at the receipt and they've not reduced them at the till angry only a saving of £4.50 so not worth making the 40 mile round trip from home to compain, but i didn't really need them, we already have a few .

i have a bit of a dilemma. i had intended doing a bed up each side of the path, i wanted a little box hedge in it, but a) cutting a bed each side will reduce the size of the lawn left each side to postage stamp proportions. not sure this matters but i don't want a monumental PATH and nothing else. or do i? hmm

secondly i priced up box plants and i think it's going to cost £70 to do the lot which is too much.

i toyed with planting something else....but what? i don't do bedding plants, can't be arsed with replanting. i don't want to just create another space for weeds and that will need maintenance . that part is on hold for now.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 19-Jul-13 13:50:43

good luck Geeklover i've changed our plans a few times, it's not until you get stuck in that it starts fitting together (or not) i find

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 19-Jul-13 13:58:56

can i ask what you think of b&q products? i don't want to be negative when they've given me free stuff but overall i'm not hugely impressed with the quality or prices.

the gravel i ordered is meant to be 20mm. there must be about 4 pieces per tonne that are actually 20mm, the rest are teeny weeny, and it is filthy, i mean really really filthy. i had a friend over last night who works in the concrete industry and he was really interested in it, because it was so very dirty and of such odd composition. he actually took a sample and washed it and studied it and declared it very odd indeed. i'm sure it'll look fine when it's down and washed by the rain, but again in each tonne there must be a significant proportion that is just dust, and people (not me obvs) are paying for that dust.

i could have got a far superior product, for the same cost from a local supplier, and of course if you can do that you propbably will.

Roma2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 14:19:07

Yay! Today someone offered me a shed for £30 if I dismantle it myself so I will need to see if B&Q have a 'Can Do' videos to re-erect it again. I have been trying to take it this morning. I will buy some paint from B&Q to make it fit with our renovated yard though won't get around to painting it till after the deadline. Have taken the roof off so far... Not as hard as I thought...

lissieloo Fri 19-Jul-13 16:06:59

Doing, that's appalling! I second not paying. Isn't there a company that runs parking scams on shop carparks?

Ween, I've found it ok, tbh, but the bulk of mine went on wood and tools. I could have done it cheaper elsewhere though. That said, If my BFF hadn't told me about the longevity of the tiles, I would have bought them instead of boards. B&Q should state the cons of different options as well as the pros.
Could you plant greenery or bulbs (they come back each year and you can get loads from poundland) Love the path!

Roma, you jammy bugger! I'd love a shed.

Today has been less stressy, my joints are v sore after yesterdays digathon so I just painted the other fence and tried to sort out some family stuff. My neighbour is going to paint his fence the same colour. I've done our side of the joint fence, its a low fence so the kids play across it. I feel very proud.

Cremolafoam Fri 19-Jul-13 16:20:44

Roma that's brilliant about the shed! Bargain!
Ween thanks - thats good advice re path. I am doing lavender on either side of mine. maybe that would work for you.

lissieloo Fri 19-Jul-13 16:22:01

oooh, I love lavender

Roma2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 18:50:56

Now I have somewhere to put our bikes and tools so am v pleased about the shed. I am workong virtually every day on this project but it's taking SUCH a long time to come together. Am feeling I' m lagging behind the rest of you hugely!

TallulahTT Fri 19-Jul-13 19:54:01

Before my daughters hard work

TallulahTT Fri 19-Jul-13 19:55:23

And after

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 19-Jul-13 20:02:10

WOw Tallulah go your dd!

That's fantasic

Oh yes, lavender is beautiful and the bees like it

TallulahTT Fri 19-Jul-13 20:31:03

I'd really like a front path now, doesn't fit our front garden style at all but I like the idea. Who would have known we'd be working in such high temps when we signed up. I'm dreading a hosepipe ban, I've emptied the paddling pool onto the grass today and the water just soaked in, no squelching at all!
Thanks smells, she worked so hard last night whist I was working, it's the part I see from the kitchen window too. We still have lots of bargain plants to plant.

lissieloo Fri 19-Jul-13 21:06:39

Roma, don't say that! You are doing fantastically. Our project was actually really easy. I'm desperate for a shed now. Our lawnmower is currently under the stairs, along with Florence, my tool box, Mavis (my old drill) and the strimmer. As well as the hoover and a zillion shoes.

Tallulah, wow, I am very impressed, that looks ace. I'm getting ds to work over the hols, buying him a small gardening kit tomorrow. I'm really shocked at how warm its getting. I have a tan for the first time in years.

Ween, I use lavender in cooking quite a lot. Its so nice.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Fri 19-Jul-13 22:46:59

In cooking lissie? Where?

roma I'm a bit of a fraud and we've bought in help. The b&q £ has covered materials and given us a kick up the bum but we'd never have been able to do the paving without our lovely friend doing it for us, and we will be paying him separately for that

I'll be doing the prettifying, which is weeding and planting and tbh I've not really had the time to get stick into that yet. It's just toooo hot

Isn't it funny to think that when we applied for this we were worried it would rain solidly for a month?

Tomorrow I'm going to be transplanting more turf, weeding and a bit of planting. In between sweating and eating ice cream

How are the other film makers getting on? I've done lots of pics but am lacking a bit with the movies

Cremolafoam Fri 19-Jul-13 22:59:45

What's with the filming ladies. I am not aware if this partshock??

lissieloo Fri 19-Jul-13 23:04:49

In cakes and biscuits mainly (although its quite nice in Lamb Tagine) I make lavender and lemon cupcakes and lavender and honey biscuits.

Roma2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:14:25

Smells, I never got any app or info about video footage so am assuming they edited me out of that from the start. I'd taken footage on my iphone but then they never mentioned it again when issuing me with gift catd so assuming, having looked at my profile, they didn t want me. Have been taking photos tho

Roma2013 Sat 20-Jul-13 07:03:09

Smells, I got a Promotion ad via email yesterday about half price shrubs for TODAY only. Would your box hedges come under that. To be eligible you have to be registered as a clubcard member I think and it may only be selected shrubs

lissieloo Sat 20-Jul-13 12:16:53

Not everyone needs to film footage.

I'm in town, there is a crafty fair on in the square and I have just bought this birdfeeder for a fiver, I love it!

Roma2013 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:02:20

Bugger! Have smashed my finger lifting breeze blocks. .. having to go to A&E now...could do without this

lissieloo Sat 20-Jul-13 15:04:40

Oh no, Roma, how awful. Hope you haven't broken it.
thanks

Hope your finger isn't too bad Roma sad

Just in having a wee break out of this heat, must be over 30 today here in the highlands.

Finishing my stone wall today and getting the flower bed prepped for planting.
DH is digging, levelling and putting sand down where the patio is going.
Will put up a photo when we are done.

Hope everyone is having a nice day in the sun smile

Babieseverywhere Sat 20-Jul-13 15:39:28

Nice day, in this heat !

Just having a break whilst I put baby down for a nap and back to clearing and pressure washing stuff. Going to post proper update and photos tonight when we have finished for the day.

Garden is looking very different now but a long way to go until we have finished.

Well, it would be a nice day if we weren't working our asses off babies smile

lissieloo Sat 20-Jul-13 18:20:28

I have just sorted out the large flower bed, the previous tenants must have had those white stones in the back garden, but put them directly onto soil. I have pots full of stones.

Cremolafoam Sat 20-Jul-13 19:18:56

We are having a rest day. Down Tools!
Can't face pulling out another tree in the heat. My face looks likeangry
Lol

TallulahTT Sat 20-Jul-13 20:14:26

Roma, hope your finger is better soon.

We are doing what I hope are the final parts this week, the more fun prettier bits, I am so happy with the view from my kitchen window, I used to think every time I looked out I relly should do something with it, now it loves great I'm so pleased.

I worry it will sound ungrateful and I'm not! But I have been surprised how expensive things have been if I hadn't have got all the reduced plants on Thursday I think it would still be looking rather bare. One of the flower beds looks a bit,well, busy but I like having so much to look at and watching the bees, the bedding plants will fill the gaps until my shrub type things grow although one of them has new stems growing already, it just makes me so happy to see the progress.

Roma2013 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:42:52

Finger isn't broken but there was rather a deep gouge. Anyway, they patched me up with steristrips and a bandage and told me to keep it clean. Yeah, right. Not sure I can lift pavers as was going to lay them next week. Might have to get a friend in to help dh. On the plus side, the shed is completely dismantled and we shall re-erect it once all the paving and painting is done which I suspect will be post deadline now, given my finger.

majjsu Sat 20-Jul-13 22:20:21

Not a tester but oh dear the garden at the front looks like a jungle. Bushes were meant to grow in abundance, instead I have more weeds! A neighbour made a comment. I think I had been turning a blind eye.

Well, that's me just in.

Midge bites, sweating buckets, covered in mud and a tiny bit of sunburn where I obviously didn't reach with the factor 50, but it's really coming together.

The wall is nearly done, half the patio is laid (need b&q trip for more sand tomorrow, grr)
I've moved some of the plants from the front garden to the back and will hopefully get some more at b&q tomorrow.
I reckon by this time tomorrow night it should be all done bar a bit of tidying.

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 09:11:35

Today I am aiming to prepare our walls to be painted for Wednesday and clear the yard for paving. We have a small yard and a bloody big trampoline that we are too afraid to take down as it took forever to put up. It will have to be moved from side to side as and when we pave. There's a lovely big rambling rose bush (from next door) which I don t really want to hack back but need to in order to paint that side of the yard wall hmm

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:12:35

I am rather behind with my posting, so apologies for several days updates at once!

Friday was an utterly frustrating day for me. I had booked the day off and had hired a rotavator from HSS hire. I collected it early in the morning and got stuck in. It was really hard work but I was just beginning to make progress when my delivery of building materials from B&Q arrived. I went to supervise these being unloaded, and then returned to my rotavator. I noticed that the handle was at a funny angle, and realised that one side had sheared off! I decided that was no good and went to wheel it back to my car, only for the handle to come off completely.

Without the handle it was not possible for me to move it, so I called up the store and complained. They said that they would send out a delivery driver to collect it and to send me a new one at the same time.

Several hours later, the new one arrived. The driver seemed really reluctant to test it for me to make sure it was working, but he eventually agreed to do so. However, all he did was to fire it up. I went to start using it, and it didn't move at all. Another call back to the store, but by that time they did not have any machines to send out to me that day. They agreed to send a third machine the following morning.

When DH got home from work he had a look at it, and we eventually came to the conclusion that there was a clip or mounting that was supposed to hold the clutch cable in tension, but was missing.

I did manage to do a huge amount of hand digging on Friday - I dug all around the edge of the lawn where the rotavator won't get to, and went through the existing flower bed to remove the plants that I don't want to keep.

This was how the garden looked when I started the day:

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:12:56

I don't know my own strength!

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:13:22

I don't know my own strength!

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:17:31

Yesterday was a rather better day.

My very lovely nephew came to help us out, and between us we managed to get a huge amount done. My mum even came for an hour or so and did a bit of weeding (she is not very well, but was able to sit on a garden chair and pull up the grass growing up by the fence, which was really helpful).

We managed to get the garden fully rotavated, the raised beds planned out and marked up, the footings dug and then filled with concrete!

The three of us were absolutely knackered by the end of the day, and are all in quite a bit of pain with various aches today, but it was well worth it. DH and I are about to get stuck in with the blockwork today.

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:17:46

Post rotavating

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:18:06

Post rotavating

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:19:35

Digging the footings (lovely nephew).

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:20:08

No it's not! That is lovely DH! What is going on with the pictures!

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:20:53

This is lovely nephew!

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:21:24

And this is the footings laid.

HaughtyCulturist Sun 21-Jul-13 11:25:59

I have been looking at the next purchases I have to make. I need to buy weed resistant matting, slate chipping and masonry paint. I have spent nearly all my voucher at B&Q, so whatever else I get will be out of our own pockets. I have just done a brief comparison between B&Q and Wickes, and I have to say that on comparable products, (but with more quantity at Wickes) it is Wickes that comes out cheaper by £65! As much as I feel I should be loyal to B&Q for this project, that is a significant amount of money.

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 11:57:44

Bit taken aback. On having dismantled the shed and transported it to our yard, woman who initially had offered it for free and I'd thought I'd give her £30 as a thankyou, suddenly said (as she watched us lifting it off the van), that she wanted between £50-£100 for it!! I was like shock
All a bit awkward. I definitely didn't mishear her first time around. I'd asked her if she wanted something for it and she'd said no and she d got a 16 yr old lad who d finished his exams and could help transport it for us if we liked (I said I'd be happy to give him some money if we needed that) and thought I'd give her £30 with some produce from my allotment thrown in. Anyway, I ve given her £60 and told her that we really couldn't afford more than that and if she wanted more we'd have to transport it back.

DoingItOurSelves Sun 21-Jul-13 12:18:33

Roma that's rotten of her. I hate it when people offer something and then decide they want to make after all. Just say it up front and let the recipient decide. I hope your finger heals soon. (I suffer a lot of finger in wheel spoke incidents in supermarkets when people's trolleys knock my hands into them, and find granulated sugar into deep wounds for a few days followed by plastic skin, a swift recovery method)

We're having a few problems here, and at the moment it's a bit of a concrete, cement, sand, and breeze block rubble pile, but nearly past that point, but have had to stop feed hollow legs ds and hopefully will be able to get the camera card to work later. For some reason it's gone onto internal memory and the work shots are on the card, but we need to keep going so for now here's some of the wildlife that's been visiting to remind us why we're doing this smile :

DoingItOurSelves Sun 21-Jul-13 12:20:15

Must find out what this is, but very pretty and likes grey surfaces:

DoingItOurSelves Sun 21-Jul-13 12:22:32

Our bees are appreciating lupins:

Cremolafoam Sun 21-Jul-13 14:03:06

We have RAIN! Actual wet pouring rain after almost 4 weeks of drought.
Quite a noveltygrin

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 15:14:31

Can anyone help? Dh spent two hes trying to sand down the garage door so we could repaint it. He got nowhere really (see pic). Has anyone used a chemical paint stripper on metal? Which one? And how effdctive/how long did take?

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 15:15:06

hours

TallulahTT Sun 21-Jul-13 15:51:46

I have used a heat gun, it was very satisfying! I have googled to see if it's recommended, it is by some. Didn't take long just hired it for a day.

Disclaimer: I am definitely not an expert!

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 17:26:58

Thanks Tallulah... Might hv a word with B&Q people n see what they advise. Was it very fumey? I am knackered. Me and dd2 cut back the old rose and clematis about 2.5 feet. So many old dead branches in there plus a couple of bird nests much to dd's delight. It's made our yard much bigger

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 17:35:42

The rose and clematis now (still alot more to go)

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 17:52:07

DoingIt.. Did you find out what the moth/butterfly was? Such a stunning colour?

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 17:54:29

Who was it that talked about sugar in a wound? And how does it work?

TallulahTT Sun 21-Jul-13 18:09:02

Wow your rose and clematis are amazing. Are they secured onto the wall? I fear I cut too much back but the plants and small tree it was covering/choked has improved in colour with being able to see daylight, I think we may have saved it just in time.

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 18:31:08

The advantage of Clematis Montana Rubens is that you CAN cut it back quite severely and it responds well - but only if you cut it back around early June as it flowers next season on wood made this season. if you hack it back later, into fresh wood, you reduce the quantity of flowers. this is our problem and it's so intertwined with the rambling rose from next door that flowers now, it s hard to take shears to it in June without cutting the rose about to blossom. so, lol, yes, I ve hacked a fair bit back as rose is coming to flowering end but I've been careful to try and trace where the new Clematis growth is and not cut into that much.

Roma2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:02:24

Oh and they re not reLly secured very much. A little but the mortar between the old bricks is so old the nails won t secure. Mostly it entwines itself around next dr neighbour's rose which also spreads into our yard. I love that. Thd rose is a David Austin, spreads prolifically and I do nothing except cut it back.

Cremolafoam Sun 21-Jul-13 20:58:32

good evening all. Roma - would nitromors do any good do you think- for garage door. I have used it successfully on a metal door before now. also used a wire brush too.

today the trees are finally gone. 5 bastard castlewellan Golds which i have hated with a passion for 13 long years. Removed with the aid of dh's car ( now nicknamed The Elephant) as displayed in pictures,
I cannot completely describe the satisfaction.

Roma2013 Mon 22-Jul-13 03:40:26

Hi Cremo, Nitromors might work. Will check it out. Well done on the trees! A huge job!

DoingItOurSelves Mon 22-Jul-13 08:57:39

We had thunderstorms and rain at 6am but the sun's now out.
Ds off today and tomorrow, so just me doing all the jobs that can be done one handed.

Cremola can’t see any pictures, but well done on the trees, that sounds like a massive job!

Roma, no I haven’t found out what the moth is, but I haven’t had much time to look. grin

Nitromors used to be the go to paint stripper, and may well still do it if it’s a single paint layer, but it’s a different formula now as the EU’s banned the active chemical a few years ago (why it lost its Guild of Master Craftsmen logo)

If it’s lots of paint layers the new stuff generally just softens the lower layers unless you keep applying it, which does makes it easier to scrape off, but isn’t the lovely instant solution it used to be.

Look on eBay for Starchem paint stripper, still got the original chemicals and does all the jobs the old favourite used to. (Do read the H+S info on it, it’s pokey stuff)

It was me who said sugar. It’s an old tried and tested way of healing wounds and reducing infection, and stimulating missing flesh to replace itself, (a lot cheaper than silver powder which is another old method) and before antibiotics saved a lot of human limbs, and horses.

It works by drawing moisture out of the wound which reduces bacterial infection (that bit’s fact) and I suspect irritating the flesh into doing it’s job.
The trick’s to clean and repack when it turns to syrup. A freshly gouged finger shouldn’t ooze much, but burns, bed sores or previously untreated wounds can need a lot of treating, but it really does work.

(If you know who Django Rhinehardt was you’ll know about his hands, but his severely burned left leg was saved and ‘reshaped’ using mainly sugar.)
Before it existed, honey and gritty vegetable ghee was used, but granulated sugar works better, possibly because it’s bleached?

Cremolafoam Mon 22-Jul-13 10:04:12

Think it may be a Cinnabar Moth?

No pics - grr email refusing to function again. Will get them up as soon as my techy diffs are solved .

DoingItOurSelves Mon 22-Jul-13 10:16:16

Bingo! Well done Cremola and thank you. smile
As we're city based with no grazing animals, it can have potted ragwort here.

Roma2013 Mon 22-Jul-13 11:05:56

That's really interesting DoingIt! Great knowledge re sugar. Are you a complimentary therapist?

Starting patio

Nearly done. Ran out of sand, will get it finished tomorrow.

Flower bed is coming on.

Went to b&q yesterday to get more sand, a further 16 bags still wasn't enough.
Never mind, will get more locally tomorrow. (Wouldn't have these problems if had got some advice when we first went to b&q sad )

Had great service at b&q yesterday however, Abby on the desk and Lily at the till were stars.
Found a few things that weren't online, a decorative door knocker and set of garden keys, fits right in with my secret garden theme.

Patio finished

Rock wall finished smile

Cremolafoam Tue 23-Jul-13 20:07:53

Go Terra!
Looking great!

I have nearly finished painting the porch and dh has almost finished burning all the removed debris.( stayed on deck chair til 2am last night to make sure it was completely outgrin)
We FINALLY have ground zerogrin

Tomorrow off to The great DIY Emporium with £250 we have left to spend. We have already only bought 2 saws , 2 tins of paint , a saw sharpener and a tow ropesmile

Tomorrows list is this:
Lavender x 10
2x wisteria
2x John innes no 3 compost
1bag Course grit
Metal pins for weed fabric
Willow roll edging
Grass seed for shady areas
10 bags of pebbles
Manure/ soil improver

Have reserved to collect.
I live in hope b&q.

Apologies once more on the lack if pictures but I am having real difficulty with uploading. Dh trying to solve...

OpheliaBumps Tue 23-Jul-13 20:31:33

I've had a bit of a setback. We were busy all weekend with bbqs/parties, but I'd planned to get quite a bit done yesterday, as I don't work on Mondays.

I've come down with a bug and spent the last 2 days in bed sad I'm finally feeling human again now, but need to get cracking to get the rest of the fence done, plants bought etc etc

Cremolafoam Tue 23-Jul-13 20:53:44

pull!

Cremolafoam Tue 23-Jul-13 20:54:53

side view getting there!

Cremolafoam Tue 23-Jul-13 20:55:33

a visitor

Cremolafoam Tue 23-Jul-13 20:59:03

painted porch today.

Ophelia sorry your feeling poorly.
Hope you feel better soon flowers

Can't have a secret garden without the robin who showed the way. smile
He was more like a sparrow to begin with so I sponged his tummy with some of DD's red paint. smile

Roma2013 Tue 23-Jul-13 22:19:25

Had quite a frustrating day. Had bought chemical paint to strip garage door. It was horrible - dh kicked up a fuss painting it on as it was so fumey. I ended up scraping it off. It was very strong and am not sure it looked any better. Only did half the door and we wondered if we should go back to original idea of disguising it. Eventually, anyway, most of the shed will hide it. Went back to B&Q but got thwarted and spent rest of money buying a patio table and four chairs which can be delivered earliest on 31 July. Exchanged masonry paint for the third time (hope it suits this time). It's got to the stage where dh is saying 'as long as you're happy with it'. Orphelia, hope you recover soon!

Maggietess Tue 23-Jul-13 22:24:36

Bless my DH, he works so hard on making our completely impossible to tame and totally pointless to try grass look good every year! We're not lucky enough to be product testers but our garden failure improvement project involves him staring at the grass dry soil every year then buying bucket loads of grass seed. He diligently nurtures it over the next few months whilst it resolutely refuses to grow.
At the same time he formulates his theories as to why it doesn't work (too much rain, not enough water, shade from the trees, soil too shallow, birds eating the seed) and plans again for next year.
Bless his heart I smile and nod and we do the whole thing again....even though I'm fairly confident it's the kids slide and swing set that's killing it!!
It keeps him happy though, so it's well worth it grin

OpheliaBumps Tue 23-Jul-13 22:41:11

maggie we are going to replace our lawn with posh astroturf once we've saved up for it. We can get it fitted for £18 per square metre, which isn't much more expensive than lawn feed, weedkiller, new seed etc etc.

Wish we could get it done by the end of the makeover, but it'll have to wait a bit unfortunately.

Babieseverywhere Tue 23-Jul-13 22:50:18

Thought I had better post some photos, too busy gardening to post !

Garden Before Picture

Yes, that is an office chair bottom right, best toy in the garden !

Babieseverywhere Tue 23-Jul-13 22:53:06

Garden Before Picture

House end of garden. See mini greenhouse on top right...with dead plants. We are no gardeners...yet !

Babieseverywhere Tue 23-Jul-13 22:59:50

Garden Before Picture

This is the bottom of the garden. The shed use to house bio diesel stuff, all skipped except a work bench which will be my new potting bench and the shed will be a store for the big cars and other children toys. This was a dumping ground and so much stuff had to be cleared up.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Tue 23-Jul-13 23:08:14

Good work everyone. Hope the ill and injured are on the road to recovery

We've done most of the far work now, path laid, railway sleepers in, rockery re-rocked, turf cut, relocated, watered and watered again, three tonnes of gravel spread, weedy bed weeded and a few plants put in. We just have to weed the rest and tidy now. Phew.

Babieseverywhere Tue 23-Jul-13 23:15:31

During picture

Showing the pressure washer in action. To be honest I really argued against spending wasting a third of the voucher money on a pressure washer but my goodness it really brings out the bricks....turns out they are yellow not gray !

We also managed to win an auction for 100 rubber tiles suitable for outside playground, so we decided to repave the middle third of the garden with these soft tiles. It took me two days to pressure wash them back to their original black under all the mud (yuck) on the front garden. But at 30p per tile versus £9 a tile for brand new, I'll put up with the cleaning.

DoingItOurSelves Tue 23-Jul-13 23:17:15

Just got in through the door and have dinner in the oven, so short post, but had to tell everyone we hit Watford B+Q on the way back, partly to try and get sea green metalic paint (not stocked but we snapped up the very reduced lavender) and partly to have a look for these parking signs we'd missed.
In fairness it turns out there are lots of them but we'd simply not seen them. I guess we must have seen them out of the corner of the eye but not as being anything more than the normal 'not responsible for damage' 'park in bays' etc. But here's the interesting bit; they are all bearing little white patches and the time limit says 3 hours, not 2.
Well done B+Q I suspect!

Babieseverywhere Tue 23-Jul-13 23:24:48

So our plan is to :-

: Move shed sideways (Done)
: Move trampoline to bottom of garden (Done)
: Remove Fence from midway through garden (Done)
: Clear tons of rubbish from garden, biggest part of the job (90% done)
: Clean ALL the paving (Half way through)
: Repave middle garden using rubber tiles (Nearly Finished)
: Repaint fencing
: Add four shelf planter with pots and plants.
: Cement in water feature with water fountain.
: Build new playhouse (arriving Thursday)
: Enjoy new garden whilst nursing large glass of wine

Off shopping for plants and planters and garden lights tomorrow evening...children permitting. After a day of shifting 70 paving slabs to the front of the house, my shoulders hurt just thinking about it.

Babieseverywhere Tue 23-Jul-13 23:30:07

We hope to assign the children to play in the bottom two thirds of the garden and make the third nearest the house more for us adults with plants and no toys, well that is the plan !

JakeBullet Wed 24-Jul-13 11:04:22

I am SO impressed and envious .

Lovely to see what is being achieved. I am still doing my garden. ..without having been selected <gives MNHQ a stern look> and have turned a muddy and rubbish filled area of my back patio area into a nice place to look at.

It looks so much better with the Cotswold stone pebbles and the plants.

Maggietess Wed 24-Jul-13 11:42:08

Ophelia, great plan, I had suggested it but we're probably going to move in the next year or two so no point here now.

But I did have a friend who recently ironed her quagmire into a gorgeous artificial turf and it was totally fab results. I wasn't sure if it was real or not, even when I touched it. It was great! She said there's a 10 year warranty too but bear in mind you've to pay them an annual maintenance fee for this.

Good luck with yours!

Roma2013 Wed 24-Jul-13 13:25:20

Sand and cement for paving tomorrow

Roma2013 Wed 24-Jul-13 13:28:23

Pavers arrived too!

not a tester and not had a successful garden makeover.

my garden is huge compared to most and when i moved in was a total wreck. have managed to clear a lot and get the lawn in shape and plant a few bits and pieces to start building up privacy but it is so big and too much for me that it's a bit of a nightmare.

what i dream of is to be able to create a patio/decking area near to the house with paths from back door to it (rather than just mud all winter long to treck through) then a lawned area in the mid section with the bottom end where the big trees are still being the end for the trampoline and shady seating area but adding in a pond. i so want a pond. my garden is on a slope and in reality to achieve the above would cost an absolute fortune that i don't have.

but dreams are nice i guess.

Spirael Wed 24-Jul-13 14:34:02

Not a tester either, but very impressed at all the hard work going on by all the testers! Some lovely ideas being implemented.

We're doing a bit of work on our unloved newbuild wasteland, but all we've really managed is to scatter some grass seed and give the fences a lick of paint.

Still, painting the fences has made a difference, it's brightened everything up. smile Hopefully it'll be dry over the weekend so we can finish.

Cremolafoam Wed 24-Jul-13 14:35:42

Still awaiting my 'reserve and collect' phone call from b et q. Phoned and it took Tracy 17 minutes 49 seconds to consult supervisor and tell me it wasn't ready yet. sad
Finishing painting in the meantime.
Feeling stroppy tbh. Could've been down and shopped for it myself this morning.

Fraxinus Wed 24-Jul-13 16:51:51

Not a tester, and only have a yard. However, even a yard can be a nice place to hang out in the evenings. I have got 2 troughs which have languished rather. One is full of weeds; foxgloves, nettles, feverfew, hypericum, campion, grass, and a few others I can't name. It looks great, and just sweeping the yard clean and having some weeds growing in the corner makes it a nice place to hang out. Even if you only have a tiny space and a tiny budget, it is possible to make a pleasant outdoor space.

Cremolafoam Wed 24-Jul-13 18:17:16

Frax there are some good weeds IMHO grin
Worth keeping the foxgloves and hypericum for sure. Not sure about the nettles unless you like nettle tea!

B and q where are you?!!!!
No phone call. Unable to get hold of anyone on the phone down at the store . Am a bitwink
What do I do now ? Will the hold my reserve and collect order or not?

Cremolafoam Wed 24-Jul-13 19:02:52

Lovely Matthew < b&q evening shift> has sorted me out for tomorrow apparently .
Not holding my breathconfused

ChocChaffinch Wed 24-Jul-13 20:13:03

we have so much to do!
inspired by these pics, well done gardeners!

we have a floody weedy area earmarked to be slabbed and walled around for patio; are stymied though as we need some major drainage putting in...
there is a garage linked shed that needs burning..
a smaller shed that also needs demolishing
an old greenhouse used for dumping stuff like the old bbq.. needs dismantling
and a row of v large evergreens to chop down.
Just don't know where to start!!

Cremolafoam Wed 24-Jul-13 20:26:50

Choc keep the faith !
Just start anywhere. Each job leads to another. You won't need to worry about what order you're doing things in until towards the end during reconstruction or planting.( best bit)grin
Good luck! Wellies on..

GetKnitted Wed 24-Jul-13 21:00:15

I'm a non-tester, our garden is full of incomplete garden projects, only thing we seem to be able to stick to is cutting the grass!!

UnlovedMyGarden Wed 24-Jul-13 21:29:00

Why is your unloved garden unloved? What do you want to change about it? What has stopped you until now?

We only have a small front garden of approx 5x1 metres and it was a state when we moved in 12 years ago. We did make an effort to sort it out around 8 years ago and it has been left to it's own devices ever since whilst we have been distracted having babies. Recently some workmen had to dig up the garden to re-lay some cables and disturbed the weed prevention membrane, this resulted in a massive surge in the growth of weeds, some of which were taller than me!
I started to feel embarrassed at the state of it when people called to the house and then Mumsnet and B&Q came along just in time. The only things stopping me before were time, money and motivation.

- Where did you get your inspiration for doing up the garden from? What sort of style are you going for etc?

My boys have recently taken part in the planting of a sensory garden at school which they really enjoyed. Each class took different plants such as fragrant plants, pretty plants etc. I quite like japanese style gardens using stones and pebbles. I think we'll probably use lots of lavender, thyme, sage, anything which smells nice and use white stones to surround them. I also plan to use some plum coloured shale in the remaining surrounding areas.

- Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?

I've enlisted the help of my DH because we are now on 7 hours of de-weeding and clearing despite it being a small garden. I'm planning to let the boys choose the plants and get them involved in the planting and finishing touches.

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

I went to my local B&Q and found all the staff to be very helpful, the cashier at the till was very nice and spoke to our very tired and fed up boys. I bought items such as hammerite for the metal gate, masonary paint to refresh the fence posts, fence stain, plants, flower pots etc and managed to find everything I needed.

I'll now attempt to post some photos and i'll answer the other questions as we get nearer to completion.

UnlovedMyGarden Wed 24-Jul-13 21:37:15

UnlovedMyGarden Wed 24-Jul-13 21:38:13

UnlovedMyGarden Wed 24-Jul-13 21:40:26

UnlovedMyGarden Wed 24-Jul-13 21:45:59

Previous photos are of the jungle.

Here is the progress we've made in terms of clearing the weeds to make way for the plants...

UnlovedMyGarden Wed 24-Jul-13 21:48:42

I have no idea why they are the wrong way round, please tilt your head for full effect grin

OpheliaBumps Wed 24-Jul-13 21:53:51

Hmm not had the best experience in the B& Q plant department. The herbs were all half dead, really poor selection as well, so I'll have to get them from somewhere else, as I plan to plant herbs along the path at the side of the house. The thyme and rocket which self seeded there are thriving, so it's clearly an ideal place for herbs!

I went to choose a clematis, but they have obviously been on the shelf for ages as they'd all grown into each other and I couldn't separate them. DH pervered and managed to separate one or two from the tangled mass, but they had so much dead material at the bottom I wasn't convinced they'd survive very long. It's such a shame, most plants were well kept, but they'd crammed so many clematis (clematises?) into a tiny space they just didn't stand a chance.

On the plus side I got some bargain box plants for my planters, and a lovely hydrangea, can't wait to get planting tomorrow.

I've also had the delivery date confirmed for the new playhouse grin, this is in addition to the vouchers, and won't arrive until 1st august, so I'll have a blank spot in my 'after' pictures, but I'll update with my final picutre once it's painted and built.

OpheliaBumps Wed 24-Jul-13 21:54:35

Wow unloved great progress, well done!

UnlovedMyGarden Wed 24-Jul-13 21:58:27

Thanks Ophelia, can't believe such a small space is taking so much effort <Lazy>

Roma2013 Wed 24-Jul-13 22:25:59

Can I just say, as well, how helpful Lisa (at the Byker store) was the other day. She went out of her way to help, even ringing around other local stores to see if they had what we were seeking. Excellent customer service by a personable, interested assistant. After a number of disappointing interactions at B&Q, she made me feel I'd go back. It makes such a difference, meeting with such helpful members of staff.

DoodleAlley Wed 24-Jul-13 22:53:39

We are just not natural gardeners. I swear we have spent more trying to grow vegetables than we spend buying t
Veg from the shops.

And we've killed off more plants than I care to remember.

I'm coming to the realisation that our garden gets fairly inclement weather but it's So hard to work out how to make it a success especially now money is too tight to waste on something that could be dead by spring.

DoingItOurSelves Wed 24-Jul-13 23:45:52

Roma, sorry I missed your question; no I’m not, just have a tendency to know odd things! Impressed by the pile of work waiting for you there.

Another late night here, quick piccie of ds up ladder armed with laser level and oil pastel (won't wash of if it rains) marking out how far we're painting to tomorrow. (Neighbours don't want their bit painted)

Investigated the telescopic painting brushes but none of them extend far enough to use from a wheel chair, so it will be a long pole, gaffa tape, and a standard roller tomorrow.

ILoveAFullFridge Thu 25-Jul-13 00:49:38

I keep trying to plant half-dead plants. I know how to choose a healthy plant, they were beautiful when I bought them...but then spent the next month forgotten in their pot.

TBH it's amazing that anything survives its passage through my garden gate, let alone thrives in my garden!

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 07:52:00

Well, have woken up for Paving Day. It's chucking it down! Unless it stops very soon, pavers won't be laid today. Nor will walls be painted. And I bet the stabilising solution dh painted on the walls at 9pm last night has bloomin' washed off.

DoingIt - I was surprised at how much sand and cement was needed for such a small space. The yard isn't that big... Am wondering if we've got space for the chairs and table we bought tbh.

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 08:00:02

Doodle & Iloce, have you tried a pyracantha? Years ago I planted one that grew up a trellis. It was planted in a breezeblock planter we hastily constructed and filled with compost. It's reached 7ft, is evergreen and takes minimal effort. It has fab red berries in winter as well so attracts birds. I can count on the fingers of one hand how often I've watered it. And the planter was on concrete, so it's not as though the roots had anywhere to go. I chopped it back to look neater and be able to move with trellis so I could paint walls but it s in one of my pics below

DoodleAlley Thu 25-Jul-13 08:06:22

That sounds interesting thanks. We don't have the money this month but it's worth banking the suggestion in my brain thank you!

HaughtyCulturist Thu 25-Jul-13 09:10:37

I'm too busy landscaping to do much updating!

I work freelance, so apart from Tuesday this week when I had to work a full day, I have kept my diary fairly empty this week so I only have to do an hour or two of work in the morning, and then have been in the garden until about 8 at night. I am knackered, ache in many strange places, and my hands are soaking up handcream like a sponge.

HaughtyCulturist Thu 25-Jul-13 09:22:30

So this is Sunday. DH and I spent the whole day laying out and mortaring in the concrete blocks for the beds. I did get some good advice both from a builder and from the man I spoke to at B&Q to use concrete blocks rather than breeze blocks. The breeze blocks are only about 10p per block cheaper but they are about half the weight of the concrete ones. You can also cut breeze blocks to shape really easily with a saw. The only problem is that they will suck up moisture like a sponge if they come into contact with soil, and so are prone to cracking and splitting if there is a frost. Also, they are no good for rending and painting, as the water gets into the bricks and causes the render and paint to flake off.

HaughtyCulturist Thu 25-Jul-13 09:30:00

On Monday DH was back to work and I had lots of little errands to run, so didn't make much progress in the garden. I did get one of the beds rendered, and made the backs to the seats. These I have made out of breeze block as they will not be below soil level and I needed to be able to cut them.

I had a trip back to B&Q as I discovered that I had bought about 3 times as much concrete as I needed. I have got the quantities about spot on for the sharp sand and builders sand, but we had used only 5 of the 25 bags of cement for all of the footings and mortaring. As the bags were unopened and undamaged, B&Q had no problem with me taking them back for a refund. The car was just about ok with carrying 15 bags but was riding really low, so I was somewhat nervous going over the speed bumps outside our B&Q store!

I got a credit note of over £50, and then went back in store to pick up a few other things I needed, including a new plant pot for the Christmas tree I have in a pot, some grass seed, copper anti-slug/snail tape, weed-proof fabric, and some stuff for painting. Bizarrely, the total of the new stuff I bought came to within 9p of the refund I had just obtained!

HaughtyCulturist Thu 25-Jul-13 09:30:45

I made good progress yesterday and got all the rest of the rending done.

HaughtyCulturist Thu 25-Jul-13 09:35:52

The only thing that I am not happy with from yesterday's efforts is the backs to the seats I have made. I very carefully cut these rounded backs from the breeze blocks i have been using, but now think that they are too fussy, and that a straight line would give a cleaner, more modern look.

What do you think? It would be easy enough for me to saw the bumps off and re-render the backs, and unless the MN vote convinces me otherwise I will do this later today.

My main job for today is to make the smaller beds using some reclaimed materials. I have a metal fire surround that came out of our living room when I tiled around the fireplace instead, and a metal picture frame that was left in the old shed by the last owners of our house. I am using these and some old bricks that were in the garden, along with some glass bottles to make some small beds.

HaughtyCulturist Thu 25-Jul-13 13:18:56

OK, I'm currently getting some crappy customer service from Wickes, from whom I ordered the slate chipping. When I placed the order in the Kingston branch on Monday morning I was told that they would be able to deliver this Thursday or Friday, so I booked for Friday. I have just had a phone call to say that they need 7 days for delivery, so can't deliver before Monday, and in fact it will be Tuesday that the delivery will happen, as it is sent out from their Twickenham store, which doesn't get a delivery itself until Monday.

After escalating this to the managers of the two stores, I have established that their store in Hanwell, which is only 10 miles from my house, does in fact have 6 bags in stock. However, I am outside their normal delivery area, so they are being reluctant to arrange delivery from there.

I have said that it is not good enough that they cannot delivery on Friday, and that I expect them to arrange for this to happen, or I will find the cheapest option elsewhere who can do next day delivery and will charge them the difference.

Watch this space!

Cremolafoam Thu 25-Jul-13 14:20:02

the final burn yesterday

Cremolafoam Thu 25-Jul-13 14:22:51

Ground zero

Been at Band q this morning and we have spent the lot!
had excellent service in store. even Tracy redeemed herself by being patient and ringing up our 10 million items with patience and a smile.
Today i have to work, but tom,orrow is manure distribution day.And I have all my lavenders! 20 of em. Excited!!

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 17:23:16

Thankfully, thr rain stopped. Part paved...

Openyourheart Thu 25-Jul-13 20:06:56

There are some wonderful gardens on here. Mine has come to a bit of a halt this week as I've been feeling unwell. However, know have the ground mostly cleared, thanks to all the tools, incinerator and glycophosphate. I just need to do a bit more planting and buy some planters for the part that I can't dig on.

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:08:11

At B&Q. Again. Changing paint. Again. For the FOURTH time. Why does the colour never match what's illustrated on the tin. Or in the brochures. Or online...

Openyourheart Thu 25-Jul-13 20:09:40

Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice?

No but I used other gardening websites such as Gardner's World for information and ideas. Mine is really just a weed killing, rubbish removal, clearing and planting exercise.

Haughty Culturist- wow- that looks great so far. Agree about straight lines though- would be a lot more modern.

OpheliaBumps Thu 25-Jul-13 20:45:28

haughty I really like the curved seats (they put me in mind of Gaudi), I think it's just a personal thing though, so go with whatever you prefer, neither will look too fussy in my view.

roma lovely paving, goregous colours and I love the pattern!

open I hope you feel better soon, it's too hard to garden when you feel ill, especially in this heat.

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:47:50

Thanks Orphelia. I was a bit disappointed at how much red there was and I didn t realise how much variation, hence the four paint changes to get the walls to match. Finally decided now on a muted green to try and bring out the grey/green ones more. I suppose the red ones will match the red brick of the house and one of the walls

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:49:55

Haughty, the curved sides will look fine once green is tumbling over their edges

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:51:58

Open - hope you get better soon!

Roma2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:56:10

How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q?

Lady on paint desk was so very helpful this evening, opening lots of pots, testing them on paper and drying them iof so we could get a truer indication of the colour

Cremolafoam Thu 25-Jul-13 22:45:26

I have gone off-piste and ordered up 150 narcissus bulbs. I was just thinking a few daffs would be lovely next spring and as we now have pre- grass planting soil it would be good to get them in at the end August / sept .
Might get a load of bluebells too.
Our finale photo will seem a bit bare as we won't have any grass( can't plant until September ) but you will get the gist of the lavender path I hope.
Get well soon poorly gardeners thanks
Well done everyonesmile

Openyourheart Thu 25-Jul-13 23:30:24

Thank you for the well wishes. I managed to get out there this evening and I have prepared a bed for planting. I'm not sure what to plant though. I might do lettuce or broccoli.

I've put a growbag on top of a couple of tree stumps and I have a courgette plant coming out of it.

So, small improvements today smile

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?

A few more staff around the garden area would be good. Also, I found that it is sometimes difficult to see the price of things - the prices are not always clearly displayed in the garden area.

Too dark for photos by the time I got finished tonight.

So since the last photo, imagine this...

The whole patio is surrounded with a row of the same rocks that the wall is made from.
Have dug over the flower beds surrounding the patio, planted grasses against the right hand trellis.

Planted some gorgeous hostas in the raised bed, my lovely friends brought them to me as a gift, the darlings.

The heart planters hanging from the tree now have plants in them.

So still to do...

Put new handle on the garden door.
Paint it (if weather allows, been a bit wet)
Move some more plants from the front garden into the new flower beds.
Clean up the outdoor table and chairs.
A bit of tidying up....
And we're done smile

Is the deadline Saturday or Sunday?

Cremolafoam Fri 26-Jul-13 00:08:19

Hopes its Sunday confused

Hope so too, DD's 4th birthday on Saturday so I need to get it all finished tomorrow really.

DoingItOurSelves Fri 26-Jul-13 04:54:33

The deadline is Sunday thankfully, as we're nowhere near done.

Ds and I weren't feeling good on Wednesday but I thought it was the heat until we woke up to a deluge yesterday, to discover we'd got D+V which we've still got, which is why I'm posting this early, having just had to change ds’s bedding again. He doesn’t do unwell poor soul.

It’s not boding well for today, though at least things are drying easily in this weather.

Yesterday's list was supposed to be: finish painting the walls, breeze blocks and shelves, and cut and paint planter shelving and do lots of photo’s as well as sort out the camera and why it’s playing up and putting things into internal memory and letting us view but not retrieve them.

Looking in awe at some of what’s being achieved on here. (not sure our efforts are going to be quite as impressive.)

Roma2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:26:17

Sorry to hear you're unwell DoingIt. Sounds like you've caught a bad dose of something awful. I think we've all done brilliantly, given the heat, kids, school holidays, out of stock products, inefficient and, at times, confusing online ordering system...

My attitude to be B&Q has changed a bit. Some of their products are clearly rubbish. Others are good quality and competitively priced. There are way too few staff about to ask for advice and help in the store. What 'saves' them are those staff who are there go a long way to help. I've met a fair few now who've gone out of their way. I found myself liking them as people! They were chatty and understood my frustrations on the whole. I only wish they'd have a horticultural advisor advising them on plant and pot care (am very happy to do this myself - for a feewink).

Cremolafoam Fri 26-Jul-13 09:20:59

Lol Roma.
Yes someone who knows the difference between a fuchsia and a freesia would be helpfulgrin
My question about plants for shady areas with clay soul were met with a shrug. This is really where a good nursery or garden centre is a better bet for less experienced gardeners.

Sorry to hear you and DS are ill doing it.
Can you draught anyone in to help? Bribe them with promises of beer and BBQ when you're better.

HaughtyCulturist Fri 26-Jul-13 10:19:22

Wow Cremola - that looks dramatic!

Roma - hows the finger doing?

Doing - I hope you feel better soon.

I ended up finishing at gone 9pm last night so need to take some photos of yesterday's efforts. I am awaiting a delivery of topsoil and compost today. Sorry B&Q, but for a bulk order your prices for these are not competitive.

I am still awaiting confirmation of what is happening with my order of chipping from Wickes. The latest I was told was that they would "try" to get the chipping from the store in Hanwell either delivered straight to me today or tomorrow, or maybe it will go via their Twickenham store. I am still really disappointed with their customer service. I had to be really insistent with them to get them to try and sort out the problem, even though there is a relatively simple solution.

Today is quite exciting for me as once the soil and compost is delivered I can get on with the planting, which is the best bit of course.

Today's task list is to half fill the beds with the turf that came off the lawn when we rotavated, and with the soil from the footings. The new topsoil will go on top, and the grass from the turf will improve the soil from the garden (but will be buried deep enough that it will rot down rather than sprout).

When the topsoil and compost comes, I will finish filling the beds and will dig in the compost into the beds.

I can then dig up the herb garden from where it currently is and dig compost into the lawn area and level that. I have the weed proof matting to put down, but might wait until I know the chipping is coming before I lay that out.

I also have a bit extra over-stock to take back to B&Q - a few more bags of cement and about 15 concrete blocks. This should give me a bit more to spend in B&Q, so I will see what plants they can do that fit my criteria of being either edible or medicinal. There should be one or two that I can get - I'm thinking honeysuckle, pelargoniums (scented geraniums), maybe ajuga, and possibly a lungwort if I am lucky.

Oh, and I have an old garden table that is perfectly sound, but looking a little tatty. It has already been repainted once about 6 years ago, so I think it will do for another scrub down and coat of paint.

Roma2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 15:54:09

Haughty - thanks for asking. It's bandaged still and I shouldn't really use it though havw been. It still gets wet in terms of all the water I'm using so I have to rebandage at least 4 times a day. It IS healing though but looks angry and sore still. Guess I'l pulling the wound open a little with every lift of brick/paver. Steristrips came off by themselves ages ago and hvnt bothered returning to hospital to get them reapplied. You've done amazingly well -such alarge project!

MrsWeasley Fri 26-Jul-13 23:19:21

Well Ive finally been released from the triffid plants in my garden to update on this thread.
My poor garden has gone feral. We decided a few years ago to keep an area "wild" shock well little did I realize that this wild area would require more work than the rest of the garden. There was a little bit of bramble growing which I left because it would encourage caterpillars etc hell no it would take over the entire garden within a year, it has even gone across the grass which I am pleased to say, after many long days pruning and trimming, we can now call a lawn. The work continues and I will attempt again to post photos over the weekend. (I actually lost the camera in the bramble on two occasions. It resembled the hedge in Harry Potter that tries to 'absorb' Fleur, if only it was more like Devils snare and would shrink in the sun our job would be so much easier.)

Babieseverywhere Fri 26-Jul-13 23:37:46

End section of garden is finished. Just shed and trampoline here now, no rubbish.

Our middle section has been paved with safety rubber tiles and the B&Q playhouse nearly constructed..just plastic panes for the windows and the door to fix on. Slide and spinning toy in place.

Plants, lights for our section on the nearest to the house section have been arrange and water feature placed in correct spot but pump will be next months purchase.

Still need to pot loads of plants into their final homes. Finish playhouse. Put up three panels of trellis. Build and paint B&Q Cascade Plant Shelves.

If miracles happen and that lot is completed early enough, we'll do fence panels and posts but I suspect that will be after Sunday now.

Still our garden is starting to look quite good. I sat out there this evening in the dark planning what I am going to do first thing tomorrow (move sacks of sand and spare rubber tiles to behind shed...should just take an hour or so.)

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 08:17:09

Very quick post as we have a couple of hours before it promises to become serious, and apparently non stop, deluge. shock

Roma ouch! I hope it heals soon.

Terra, not really unfortunately.

Mrs Weasly grin

Not very well ds brushing down walls. (lots of bribery in play!)

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 08:19:44

Painting walls, note that sky which is now grey.

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 08:21:48

A suprised visitor discovering he can no longer blend into the background.

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 08:25:58

Another vistor, making no attempt to camouflage.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 08:42:35

Roma - have you tried hydrocolloid dressings? They work best for open wounds (I have one working its magic on the large piece of skin I am missing from my elbow from the last time I crashed my bike), but they do provide a complete seal over the wound and keep it moist whilst the skin grows back. They are water resistant too.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 08:49:04

Thursday's efforts was these two small beds/planters.

This one will be my strawberry bed. I made it from some bricks that were in the garden, some glass bottles (that contained fancy apple juice - I am not a complete achy!), and the old fire surround.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 08:49:56

That's not the strawberry bed! I don't know why I seem to be posting a different picture to the one I intended.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 08:50:51

That picture is the small planter. The frame is a picture frame.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 08:51:28

This one is the strawberry bed.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 08:54:15

Yesterday, I painted the insides of the beds. I wanted to have one more day for the render to dry, but needed to get the topsoil I had delivered into them, which would then make painting the inside difficult, so I decided to do that first.

As you can see, I did take the curved bits of the back of the seats, and am much happier with the result.

Roma2013 Sat 27-Jul-13 08:55:20

Haughty, no I haven't but sounds just what I need. Do I just buy them at Boots?

Here is paving done yesterday. Quite pleased with it and it looks so much better than that concrete base. I am leaving dh the walls to paint today and tomorrow whilst I take the kids out of the way (they can t yet jump on the trampoline as pavers still setting). Chairs were reduced at B&Q to £15 each. Two others and a matching table are coming on Tuesday (earliest they can deliver)

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 09:00:39

I also had a shopping trip to buy some planters. I wanted separate planters to grow mint, and other more invasive plants, so that they don't take up the whole beds. I also have some particularly special plants that I would like to show off - a Chilean fruit bush, a Caper bush, and a Tea Tree bush, so wanted something to put those in.

So, I took a trip to my local roofing reclamation yard and picked up these old chimney pots! Chimney pots are actually pretty expensive, but I asked them to give me their chipped and cracked ones, and got this lot for £80. I am a bit disappointed that they only had 5 tall ones to sell me (and wasn't really wanting to pay £35 for an undamaged one), but I can always change the short one if/when I come across a replacement.

I am planning to paint them the same colour as the beds.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 09:03:14

Roma - Boots do sell them but they are quite pricy. I am using the Duoderm Thin ones, which you can sometime find in an independent pharmacy. (Although the ones I am actually using at the moment I bought from Amazon in a bulk buy, as I seem to be getting through a lot this year).

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 09:10:03

Today, I hope, will be the final push.

DH will paint the outside of the beds and the chimney pots whilst I take the plants from the old herb bed and find them new homes in the raised beds. I/we will then level the rest of the plot. I need to dig some sand into the border where I will be planting my lavender bushes, as they will not like the heavy clay soil I have. I am then going to dig some compost into the area where the large border will be, and also into the lawn area. Grass does not generally need compost, but I am hoping that digging some in will improve the soil quality and stop it baking into a solid brick every summer.

So excited that this is nearly finished!

Also, and update on the slate from Wickes. I don't know if it was the tweet that DH sent, or whether it was my posts on here, but I got a call from Wickes' social media customer services department who appear to have had a word with the branches and turned a "Try" to get the slate out to a "It will happen"!

The man that I spoke to did say that the delivery managers are instructed to try branches in their local area if they are unable to fulfil a delivery themselves, which is really what should have happened early on in my case. He said that they would use this case as a training and development exercise, so hopefully there will be a general improvement to customer services in this respect.

Babieseverywhere Sat 27-Jul-13 09:36:01

HaughtyCulturist, Glad to hear they are sorting your delivery out.

Roma, Hope you heal quickly..sounds like a bad injury sad

DoingItOurSelves, How big is that spider. Afraid I would of handed over my house keys and just moved, if I found that in my garden.

I do think my cats (well the healthy three) like the new garden and one of them left me a dead bird right in the middle of a clean patch of paving...bless them.

I was so excited to wake up this morning and look outside and see plants and flowers in our garden ! OK, they still need canes and potting into the right containers but the end nearest the house is starting to look like a real garden. smile

Looking at Ronseal fence paint at B&Q website can't make my mind up between brown, red, reddy brown, dark brown. Husband refused requested I didn't paint the fences bright blue <sticks tongue out)

Right just off to my garden to move six sacks of sand and 20 spare rubber tiles which I am storing hiding behind shed for the lovely post makeover photos.

Then I am going to pressure wash remaining big pots and finish off the paving i.e. the right side of the garden.

Then off to a kids party and potting plants this evening.

MrsWeasley Sat 27-Jul-13 13:34:28

This is an education in its own right. Things I have learnt :
*I am no longer afraid of garden bugs.
*Gardening is a never ending job.
*Brambles hide a multitude of things, So far we have rediscovered/reclaimed 2 lovely wooden benches, a amazing number of balls and 3 garden chairs!
*The more I do the more needs doing.
Learning is good, right?

I just came in for water now I'm back to it.

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 15:25:12

Quick late lunch. Discovered the bottom of the wall

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 15:28:06

not quiet finished but on it's way:

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 15:29:54

We will get it done before it rains:

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 15:33:40

Painting should be fine but really worried about the uneven ground and sorting it out and decking it in time.

DoingItOurSelves Sat 27-Jul-13 15:39:12

Haughty that's looking amazing.

Sorry to be so brief but I need to get back out there.

al88 Sat 27-Jul-13 15:48:29

My garden is mid-revamp. We had an extension built last year so it was chaos last summer. We need to make a gravel path and flower bed. We also need to dig out an old raised bed. Its against a north facing large wall and nothing grows in it except weeds. We need to flatten it but its huge - about 2-3m deep and very long. I'd like to reduce it to about 0.5m deep and just have climbers that will grow up the wall. We'll extend the lawn over the old border.
I'd also like to put in more vegetable beds using railway sleepers, and also get a greenhouse.

GlobalWarning Sat 27-Jul-13 15:52:11

These all look great! We could use some help in ours. It is completely uninspired. And I would love to make a tranquil haven for myself the kids

Openyourheart Sat 27-Jul-13 15:55:09

Last minute panic now. Just bought an electric screwdriver to put my raised bed together.

lissieloo Sat 27-Jul-13 16:33:52

wow, I'm seriously impressed! Everyone has done so well.

I had a few days off. My joints were very sore and DS and I have had a busy week. But on Thurs I bought some plants from a local hospital-run nursery. Got a rose climber, a rose bush, a couple of lavenders and a large Dahlia, DH and I have planted them and laid the weed membrane and gravel, and finished painting the fence. All other plants have been put in too, honeysuckle and clematis with a willow trellis, etc.

lissieloo Sat 27-Jul-13 16:36:43

This is my little flower bed with my new rose.

lissieloo Sat 27-Jul-13 16:38:22

Please excuse the washing grin

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 19:21:36

So, I'm not going to be finished tomorrow - thanks to bloody Wickes.

After having kicked up a royal fuss about them saying they wouldn't deliver the slate chippings on Friday, they promised that they would do so today, sometime between 10am and 4pm.

DH were in all day and no-one came.

According to Wickes, when I called them up at 4.15pm, the driver had been but "he knocked but there was no-one at home" so he couldn't deliver.

OK, DH and I were out in the garden all day but our door knocker basically has the living room as a soundbox and we can clearly hear the door knocker even at the end of the garden. Neither of us heard anyone knocking.

I got a missed call on my phone (assuming this was the delivery driver - neither of us heard it ring) but there was no voicemail and when I called the number back about 20 mins later, it went straight to voicemail. At the time of the missed call DH was painting the raised beds, so was in clear sight of the road down our side passage. No-one walked the 20 yards down this passage to see if there was anyone in the garden.

We live on a one-way street, so the driver would have had to go up the road and turn round and come back again, or used our neighbour's drive to turn. As I was expecting the delivery, I took a look every time I heard a diesel engine. I saw nothing. There was definitely no sound of a lorry stopping outside or turning.

I do actually doubt whether anyone did try to make the delivery.

I have to say that the manager of the store from which the delivery was supposed to come today (not the horrible one at the store where I placed the order) was very apologetic and did try to get in contact with one of the drivers still on the road to see if he could do the delivery, but didn't manage to do so.

I am really gutted that I won't be finished tomorrow. sad

I am not going to put any pictures up of today's efforts as the garden is all but finished. Just a couple of planters and plants to go in place once the weed-proof membrane and slate is down.

Cremolafoam Sat 27-Jul-13 20:12:45

prepearing the soil and bed. Dh spent the day putting in the willow edging roll.

Done. smile

Cremolafoam Sat 27-Jul-13 20:13:44

an impression of how it will look. lavenders ready to go in( now done)

Cremolafoam Sat 27-Jul-13 20:15:48

just the pebbles to go down tomorrow over weed control fabric!
a little more painting!
and obviously the grass to be planted at a later date.
SO DMAN PLEASED I COULD BURST!

lissieloo Sat 27-Jul-13 20:16:55

Terra, wow! That looks utterly stunning.

Creamola, that looks awesome.

Cremolafoam Sat 27-Jul-13 20:17:36

sorry terra X post!

Everyones looks brilliant. you are all stars

lissieloo Sat 27-Jul-13 20:17:44

Seriously, you should be very proud of yourselves.

thanks guys, am just so chuffed with it. smile
When you think what it used to look like shock

Oops that one was DH and DS cleaning the patio....this should be the before shot.

lissieloo Sat 27-Jul-13 20:42:19

the difference is huge - well done!!

Creamola,that is going to be one delicious smelling pathway smileit's looking gorgeous.
I love lavender.

Thanks Lissie.
I love yours too, if I had that view I'd sit in the garden all day.

HaughtyCulturist Sat 27-Jul-13 20:48:35

DH and I have just worked out that he was in the house at the time of the missed call on my phone, and he didn't hear it ring. I was in sight of the road. There was no way that Wickes came at that time. If they came later and knocked they certainly did not call my phone. angry

I have been lied to by someone.

lissieloo Sat 27-Jul-13 20:53:47

thank you, that's v sweet.

Haughty, that's shite shock

Cremolafoam Sat 27-Jul-13 21:01:43

Ach haughty that's bollox. I'm really sorry you've had such a rough time of it. Appalling customer care ;really doesn't take much for someone to just take responsibility you'd think.

Thanks terra I am chuffed to bits.
Dh has been a Trojan. He has slaved over the really hard stuff like removing all the grass with a spade and shifting and digging out 16 trees.
Photos don't do it justice tbh as I only have the phone camera.

Lissie I can just imagine relaxing with a cup of tea in your garden. It is gorgeous.
I can't believe how much effort has been put in - paving concreting digging painting. Amazed!grin

UnlovedMyGarden Sat 27-Jul-13 21:25:04

I have been shopping today with my boys to choose some plants. DH is going to go back tomorrow to pick up the shale and stones to finish off...nothing like a last minute rush.

Everyone elses look amazing flowers

Openyourheart Sat 27-Jul-13 23:24:01

I put the raised bed together today. It was a bit of a disaster really as I was doing it on my own and I could have done with a hand holding the wood etc. it was the first time I'd done anything like it and my joinery skills are about zero. Anyway, it is done of a fashion and I'm trying to stake it into the ground which isn't easy as the stakes are so long. I'm not sure why they are so long.

I bought a hexagonal wooden planter which I think I will grow mint in as I love mint tea. I also bought a big pot and a plum tree but I'm not sure that the plum tree will survive as once I got it home I noticed that the roots were quite far out of the soil and they were dry. there are green leaves on it though so I just gave it loads of watering once I had transplanted it into the pot.

I'll keep going tomorrow and take some pictures.

- Have you had any feedback on what you've done with the garden from family/friends? Has the transformation had a big impact on you and/or your family?.

The only thing people have said is that the garden is massive and that they didn't realise that it is so big.The part that I'm doing is not that easy to see from the house so when people go around the corner they are surprised to see it. I like to think that it looks bigger because I have cleared so much rubbish and weeds away!!

sealight123 Sat 27-Jul-13 23:32:17

My garden is terribly terribly unloved and we are in the midst of planning our, very very budget stricken, revamp. When we first moved in it was tidy, not quite our style but tidy. With a 2 year old that loves to explore and dig herself into EVERYTHING!!! and a dog that loves to dig...especially the stone and pebble areas around the garden it now looks like a stoney wilderness. If money was no object we'd have decking around the garden with lanterns and a lovely table and chairs set at the bottom in our sun trap and a little swing set for Olivia, with lots of flowers, in undiggable plant pots, around the garden. It doesn't sound that flash, but it's child friendly, dog friendly and sometimes going back to basics is the best way forward. It will be a while until we can afford this plan so right now I'm neatening it up by replacing some pebbles, getting some new flower pots and flowers and making sure the grass is perfectly cut.

If anyone has any ideas for affordable garden tricks, it would be greatly appreciated, as truthfully, I am below beginner level when it comes to gardening lol

Here is a picture attached of our original garden picture from when we moved in...I daren't even put up a picture of it currently hahaha

DoingItOurSelves Sun 28-Jul-13 07:19:37

We won’t be properly finished now either, but at least aren't so ill, if pretty drained.
It started raining at four, but quickly became clear it was going to be torrential and continuous, so covered as much as we could and decided the only sensible thing we could do was go buy a gazebo to keep the worst of things dry enough to work on, especially those needing painting still.

Headed to Edmonton B+Q and losing quite a bit of time to do it, but means justified the ends we thought. Very large, well-stocked store, but staff who dealt with us were pretty neutral. They did help, but apart from check out, only when really prompted to, and when told I wasn’t local so telling me they were near x, wasn’t getting me there, but it is London so…

Found and grabbed gazebo, went to pay. Queues were quite bad. Turned out tills were malfunctioning and having to be manually overridden. We were stuck for a long time, which lead to a lot of queue jumping, and staff chose to process those people anyway even though the queue was saying quite loudly by now, that they’d jumped.

I know that one’s quite a hard call for staff, and I wasn’t expecting them to be the ‘front line’ over it, but they could have supported the rest of the queue’s vocal protests better. By just passively operating the till regardless they just encouraged more people to behave badly.

They did open more tills just as we got to the head of the queue.

When ours automatically malfunctioned, the staff member did come and reset and put it through for me as efficiently as they could in the circumstances. I commented that it was the first B+Q I’d been to, were staff didn’t haver name badges. (There was no response) We definitely caught them all on a bad shift.

Got back, pulled everything out, no instructions, but numbered parts, so went to set it up in torrential rain. We should have counted everything before starting but were in a hurry. Got the frame halfway built, before discovering parts missing despite a sealed box.

Couldn’t get an internet signal in the storm, so called store for opening times, and to ask if they’d put replacement behind customer services desk as we were running behind. 1st, answer was 9pm, great, we could make that.
Second one was a bit more effort, yes we know there are plenty left but we will be cutting it fine, and in a rush please could they do this?

Eventually agreed, but it was hard work. Headed out soaked to the skin, into awful traffic and arrived at ten to nine, to discover they'd shut at eight!
Totally wasted half the second to last day, grrrr. About to get ds up and have another go.
Good luck everyone working to the line.

Roma2013 Sun 28-Jul-13 08:55:24

DH's plans to paint rest of walls today have been thwarted. Torrential deluge. Forecast says to clear in the afternoon- we'll see...

Has Anyone Commented on the Transformation?

I showed a few of my pics to my friends on Friday night. They all thought it looked much better, though to be fair, any improvement would have looked much better than the hardcore, concrete carport base we'd had previously. Next door neighbour was also dragged in. He made all the right comments too.

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 09:08:34

Looks like lots of us won't be finished! We've decided to add a new playhouse from our own money, which won't arrive till Thursday, so we'll also have a bare patch where it will be going.

Right, off out to get planting, patio cleaning etc, have a fun last day!

funnyperson Sun 28-Jul-13 09:21:59

Very impressed with all the hard core decking and paths etc!

Babieseverywhere Sun 28-Jul-13 10:10:28

Oh my goodness, my eyes ! We bought a pot of Ronseal red cedar fence paint from B&Q on the way home from a family party yesterday. I was expected this deep dark red colour...Red Cedar Fence Paint

We got it home and painted a patch on the fence and it was so bright orange but everyone said it would darken as it dried. This morning I went out to check the patch and it is still bright orange sad

We can't afford to buy another colour and I doubt we can swap it on the basis that it is too bright, so we are stuck with it....I'm trying to see the silver lining, in that it will certainly will give some colour to the garden and we can repaint next year (not with red cedar)

This morning I am waiting for either Asda or Aldi to open locally so I can pop out and buy some more compost. My friends popped over last night to help me plant the pots up and we went through 2 x 40 litre bags and 8 x 20 litre bags of compost and I still have a big planter and several bedding plants left to pot up !

I found out last night that in the middle of summer, Tesco is now selling off the gardening stuff and selling school uniforms. I got their last compost bags off their sales aisle !

DH has nearly finished the playhouse. Plants have been mainly planted and I have swept up the entire garden. I still have some pressure washing to do, plant a few plants and paint the fence with vile orange paint

DH is going to finish off a patch of repaving, fix three trellises to our existing fences and build planter stand thingy (with 50 screws!)

Hope everyone's last days go well and I look forward to seeing the pictures later smile

Cremolafoam Sun 28-Jul-13 10:28:45

Morning gardeners.
Doing it - what a horrendous day you had yesterday. That would have pushed me right over the edge.
You've done brilliantly so far and I think most of us are in the situation where its going to be an ongoing project / work in progress type thing.
That's the thing about gardens - they keep on developing - there is really no end .
Our final tada! will lack grass and a few other jobs that can't be completed until autumn. It is not the right time to plant trees really.smile
Plus the weather has been extraordinary- extreme heat and huge thunderstorms, not the standard 20 degree slightly grey July were used to.
Everyone on here has worked so hard and I'm seriously impressed.
Just wanted to say well done reallysmile

Roma2013 Sun 28-Jul-13 12:09:46

Babies - do take ott back! (Mutter Trades Descriptions, online publicity etc if they are difficult). To be fair, B&Q staff have bn very understanding when we ve returned our paint (3 times!!!). They must have this all the time. If you exchange, take a piece of wood to stain instpre - or ask them to do it explaining previous problem

I just went on to the field notes app to add my photos and videos and it says the deadline is tomorrow at 5pm.

Geeklover Sun 28-Jul-13 14:58:15

I have been seriously neglecting this thread. Need to be on pc to upload pictures and just not had the time. Between the garden itself and 2 out of 3 children injuring themselves (not in the garden) along the way necessitating emergency dentists and stitches I've got way behind on updating you all.
I'm on my phone just now but will have a proper look and update later.
Sorry been neglecting you all grin

Lucewheel Sun 28-Jul-13 17:12:34

Blimey I have not updated for a while.

We have been very busy in the garden and all during that amazing hot weather, I had not appreciated how long everything would take or how much effort it takes to do any of this stuff but am delighted with the results.

All junk has been taken to the tip (yeah) the patios have been repaired and re-pointed and what a difference it makes just doing that. The lawn has been tidied up treated and re-sown in the areas that the slide/trampoline was and is slowly starting to look better.
The shed has been given a coat of wood stain and all of the pond area pressure washed, mended, tided and planted.
I am loving the pretty flowers really cheering that area up. I was not convinced that I wanted to keep it but am now quite liking it.

The photo before picture of my unloved lawn

Lucewheel Sun 28-Jul-13 17:14:26

The junk around that was around the awful shed

Lucewheel Sun 28-Jul-13 17:16:20

The broken patio

Lucewheel Sun 28-Jul-13 17:18:04

The tidied and planted pond area now

Lucewheel Sun 28-Jul-13 17:18:56

My now loved garden

Lucewheel Sun 28-Jul-13 17:20:58

That last picture looks odd hmm

Will go and take some more when it stops raining, the other gardens are
looking lovely

That's gorgeous Luce, I love the pond area smile

Openyourheart Sun 28-Jul-13 17:58:10

Done as much as I can for now. My new allotment will be an ongoing project. I need to fill up 2 of the planters with compost but everything else is ready to plant up if not done already. I have mint, apples, strawberries, raspberries and courgettes so far.

Openyourheart Sun 28-Jul-13 17:59:22

Another view

Openyourheart Sun 28-Jul-13 17:59:59

And another

Openyourheart Sun 28-Jul-13 18:01:09

Wrong view. Here is another.

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 18:14:25

We're done! Well, we're done with Phase 1 at least, Phase 2 will be the new playhouse, Phase 3 will be replacing the lawn with posh astroturf, but we won't get that done until at least September.

We even invested in a pressure washer after reading comments on here, so all in all B&Q have done very well out of us, I think we've gone over the voucher by about £250 ish by the time we're finally done (pressure washer, playhouse & playhouse paint.

Here's the patio before

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 18:20:51

and the patio after: weeded, tidied, pressure washed and the weeds by the conservatory replaced with gravel

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 18:24:29

the 'flower beds' before

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 18:25:04

and another 'flower bed' before picture

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 18:29:06

hmm didn't work, trying again

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 18:33:49

and now my flower beds after, wisteria trained onto a trellis, some plants moved to better locations, some removed altogether, and everything arranged by colour :-)

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 19:14:04

and my favourite bit, the before pic of the playground

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 19:18:48

and the after picture, with the fence de-algaed, painted, some gravel, plants and a bench, and I have an oasis of calm grin

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 19:21:55

The only disappointment is that it's tipping it down with rain now, so we can't go out and enjoy our lovely new garden.

I do think this voucher has spurred me on to appreciate my garden again, I used to love gardening before the twins came along, and I'd got out of the habit. I think I've re-found my enthusiasm, and expect my garden to continue to develop, so it's a space we can all enjoy, not just a dumping ground for toys.

Thank you B & Q for helping me rediscover my love of gardening!

Cremolafoam Sun 28-Jul-13 20:47:04

We are pretty much done! Need another couple of bags of pev=bbles and a big pot for my wisteria. But hey, pretty much complete.
her is THE BEFORE

Cremolafoam Sun 28-Jul-13 20:48:43

and AFTER- cue relaxed, slightly funky reveal music....

Cremolafoam Sun 28-Jul-13 20:51:11

sorry

OpheliaBumps Sun 28-Jul-13 20:51:31

Wow creamola that's an amazing transformation, well done!

Cremolafoam Sun 28-Jul-13 20:51:50

from the lane

Cremolafoam Sun 28-Jul-13 20:53:17

ophelia yours is just lovely- we both bought wisteria !!

another view: phew.
getting in a hot lavender infused bath.grin

Cremolafoam Sun 28-Jul-13 21:18:42

And The Questions I have yet to answer:
Have you had much help along the way with the revamp? If so, who from? And what sort of help - practical or ideas-based?
I had a Dream! lavenders, weedfree cottage garden kind of dream. Lots of inspiration from Pinterest and the lovely book lent by my mum by Geoff Hamilton.
None of this project would have been possible without dh's amazing efforts smile

- How did you find your shopping experience at B&Q? Were the staff helpful? Did you find anything in store you maybe didn't expect to beforehand?

A curates egg- some good and some bad.
The state of the plants on my first visit was depressing. They were wilted sad or dead. I may not have come back if I had not have had the voucher, and used a garden centre instead; especially for decent plants.
Your phone service is dreadful. You need dedicated phone people to actually help and follow through.
serious lack of staff in general
- Did you use any of the help and advice that B&Q offer? This includes their videos on YouTube, leaflets and classes in store etc. If so, how useful was that help and advice? No. we had a good idea what we were doing. I really hate diy videos tbh. would prefer a concerted effort spent on providing a better range of stuff and a delivery sercvice for small orders. There is no way to do B&Q without a car.

- If B&Q could do anything more to help you next time you visit, what would it be?

More knowledgeable staff
in gardens
- Have you had any feedback on what you've done with the garden from family/friends? Has the transformation had a big impact on you and/or your family?
Theyre all loving it!Several neighbours have commented positively

Babieseverywhere Sun 28-Jul-13 21:23:35

With Roma's encouragement wink I rang up Chorley B&Q and explained that I had bought some shed paint and it was not red but orange and could I please have an exchange for a non-orange shed paint.

Well the first lady I spoke to (who name I didn't get) Nicely told me they would look at the paint and if there was anything wrong with it.

I explained that my issue was the colour didn't match it's name, tin sample, website picture and website section (i.e. it was under RED fence paints not orange.) all lead me to expect a dark red paint not bright orange. She told me that everyone knew it came up an orange and she wasn't sure what she could do ! I pointed out that I didn't know that I am not a fussy woman and if the paint was red, practically any shade would have been ok but I distaste orange.

She kindly passed me on to a lovely manager Linda who agreed to exchange for another shade, to avoid any possibility of the 'orange' issue I bought Ronseal Dark Oak Shed paint this time and I like it. The paint again does not reflect the paint label but it is brown like I expected and I like brown for fencing.

The good news is we managed to get trellis up, planter shelves up and a quarter of the fence painting, before we got rained off.

Guess I should of waited until tomorrow to paint but I wanted to use the weekend as much as possible. So I will post extra pictures when we finish the fence painting too.

Pictures to follow...just getting baby back in bed.

Babieseverywhere Sun 28-Jul-13 21:45:47

Right to post my after photos. To be honest if this challenge has shown me anything it is that gardening is an ongoing project.

I have plans to re-sand the paving and paint fence posts and panels which time limitations meant could not be completed during this period.

I intend to buy a climbing rose where I have a pot of bedding plants at the moment. I also have my DH on a promise that if I keep my new plants alive for a year, I can replace some of the plastic sunfaded pots which I found hanging around and had donated by my friends, with proper posh pots.

We also need to buy and fit a solar pump to our 'new to me' water feature, which will be out of next payday.

Still I have really enjoy this unloved gardens challenge, even though I had to work so hard shifts tons of rubbish from our garden but the end results are so worth it.

I am spending so much more time out there now in my own garden with real flowers smile

Babieseverywhere Sun 28-Jul-13 22:37:40

Before Top of our garden AKA the dumping ground

Babieseverywhere Sun 28-Jul-13 22:38:18

Before Top of our garden AKA the dumping ground 2

Babieseverywhere Sun 28-Jul-13 22:38:53

Before Top of our garden AKA the dumping ground 3