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Patio...help a complete gardener novice please!

(8 Posts)
Notthecarwashagain Thu 11-Jun-15 11:22:41

I've recently moved, and now have my first 'proper' garden.

I've spent a few weeks clearing it up, and now have a really odd patch at the top which I'd like to create a seating area on.
I can't afford to have it sla bed, so wondered about putting down gravel and a few slabs?
Or maybe bark?
Which is the least likely to be a cat toilet?!

Any help or advice would be really appreciated smile

shovetheholly Thu 11-Jun-15 14:33:42

You have done so much work! Wow!

One option would be to do a patio yourself. It looks reasonably flat, and it's really not that hard to do. You level it, compress, put down sand, compress, then lay the slabs with a bit of mortar. You can even get this brush in stuff that is like sand that you just brush into the 'grout lines' between the slabs and it sets hard within a few minutes - so no pointing!

From the pictures, it's a relatively small area, so you should be able to buy all the materials for a few hundred quid (I would guess around £300 for something like Indian sandstone). With two of you, I think you could be done in a weekend or thereabouts.

If cash is really, really tight you could look on Freecycle for people who are seeking to get rid of concrete slabs. There's usually someone redoing their 1970s paving who is getting rid of some of those concrete pavers. They are a bit utilitarian, but once you get some pots on there and a table you can disguise them quite well. All you'd need then is the sand and a level.

Notthecarwashagain Thu 11-Jun-15 14:57:16

Oh thanks! I moved here from a new build with a tiny square lawn, and completely under estimated how much work people put in to gardens. I think I must have just imagined that they just happen with a bit of pottering around! blush

I'd never thought about laying a patio myself. It is quite flat there and I do have sand...eek might give it a go! Would prefer a hard area if I can.
Thank you for the advice, will have a look on freecycle and see if I can rope DD in to help! She'll be at a loose end after GCSEs and it'll shift her off the sofa grin

Thanks again!

shovetheholly Thu 11-Jun-15 15:21:28

Once you get the major landscaping out of the way, it will be a lot easier. It is a huge amount of work at the beginning, though - especially if you do a lot yourself. (It's much more straightforward if you get landscaping done, but where's the fun in that?)

My top tip is to be realistic about what you can humanly do in month and consider weed sheeting areas that you won't be able to get to until the autumn (which is a better time for planting lots of things). It looks a bit strange, but it keeps the weeds out and the moisture in the soil while you have your back turned doing other things, and saves you doing the same job over and over again, which is backbreaking and demoralising.

Another idea that occurred to me while putting the shopping away is that you could do a lawn with a border made of bricks (very easy to lay) and have mobile chairs that you fold and stack away so it doesn't go all yellow and die underneath permanent furniture. As long as the area gets sun, this could work. You could even plant higher things around it to make it feel more like a 'room'.

Notthecarwashagain Fri 12-Jun-15 09:50:12

Looking forward to getting the basics done so I can sit out there and plan the pretty stuff, it is quite satisfying to do it yourself though isn't it?

Weed sheeting sounds like a great idea. I have been struggling with dandelions and nettles popping up every time I turn my back!
The garden next door has been fenced off halfway down and abandoned, so the brambles and stingers are a huge feature of my garden right now!

I have this lawn area at the bottom where I'm planning to keep chickens, and probably a trampoline for DS, but a nice new clean grass area to sit on sounds good- love the idea of making it a living space!

shovetheholly Fri 12-Jun-15 09:57:58

It's going to be so lovely. And it's big too - so many opportunities! You can have chickens, veg and flowers in a space that size! Truly magical!

It is tremendously therapeutic and satisfying to do. And it just gets better - it's a lot of work in the first couple of years as you fight to get on top of it all, and it's totally normal to feel disheartened at times, but once things start to establish, it becomes so very much easier.

Please keep posting, I would love to see your progress with the project. I have a feeling that you're going to be an amazing gardener.

howtorebuild Fri 12-Jun-15 09:58:31

Keep on top of the area next to the neglected area.

Notthecarwashagain Fri 12-Jun-15 10:03:38

Oh thankyou! smile
Will definitely keep posting!

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