Monday, 26 March 2012

Monday, 19 March 2012

Jackson's Fencing Competition

I have just dropped off my entry into the Jackson's Fencing Competition 2012.  The brief was to design a garden approximately 7.5m x 4.5m using some of their products and the winner will have their garden built down at Jackson's Head Office and south-eastern branch at Stowting Common near Ashford and it will be a show garden for a year or so.
I decided to design a garden that would be suitable for a wheelchair user, so all of the planting beds are raised to 200mm or 400mm and there are fruit trees and vegetable plants so that they can be tended to from a seated position.
The design had to have some element of sustainability so I have used CED's Traxmax in their Cedagravel stabilisation system.  Traxmax is recycled ceramic waste and in the Cedagravel it will be held in place so a wheelchair could pass easily over it whilst letting any rainwater  through (if we get any that is).  The main seating area is paved with Travertine and the edge details and wall cappings are black limestone.
The other planting areas are herbaceous perennials, in keeping the inspiration for this design, with the red, yellow and blue tradition of a Piet Mondrian painting.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

CED and Cedagravel

  After a few days of digging out it was time to fill it all back up again!  So, down went some landscaping fabric to act as an extra layer of protection against those pesky grass roots and then 5 tonnes of sharp sand was spread out to about a depth of 100mm (and then I needed a sit down.  I now know what my mother used to mean when she would say "I'm just going to have a sit down").

After the sand was down the fun part began.  If you do nothing else with machinery, get yourself a compactor, wind it up and let it go...not literally of course!  I had an hour of great fun trying to hang on to this thing and attempting to get the sand flat whilst it dragged me along behind it.

Then, on Friday our old friends from CED turned up with 4 tonnes of angular gravel and 17 sheets of Cedagravel.  Cedagravel, for those who don't know, is a gravel stabilisation system that stops gravel from rutting and being difficult to walk on or push anything with wheels on through it.

The sheets are just laid on the compacted sand and then the gravel is just tipped in and spread out so there is about 10-20mm of gravel over the top to hide them.  I lightly trod it down so it filled any voids and that was all.  There is now an even layer of gravel that has a nice crunch to it when trodden on and we won't have to spend any more time re-spreading it out after the path has been used.

One word of warning though, the size of the sheets has been changed recently from 2.15m x 1.14m to 1.6m x 1.2m.  I had measured the width if the path to 1.17m to allow a little extra but will now have to trim the sheets a little.  A learning curve, you might say...

Friday, 2 March 2012

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blast Off...

...Precious Chilli Garden Design is go!

After much deliberation I have finally taken out insurance and informed HMRC of my whereabouts (disappeared for a few years into the world of domesticity) and I have taken on my first job in my new guise.  Although I have a BA (Hons) tucked safetly under my arm, my first job is at St. Edward's RC Primary in Sheerness-on-Sea and consists of digging, and digging, and digging, and then digging some more, until I finally get to lay some gravel down for a seating area for the teachers and a couple of short pathways.

The reason I dug it out by hand and not by machine is that they are going to make some raised beds for the children (not to sleep on I might add) so I had to dig to about 120mm and clean the soil of any weeds or grass and barrow it through a gate and make a large heap.  It was about 32 square metres but the sun has been shining and yesterday, the last day of February, I had my shorts on.  Not today though, probably my fault the sun disappeared then!  

 Bit of a Monty Don picture.

 Health and Safety tape, danger(ous) man at work.

 I needed an edge to go between the gravel and the grass so I decided to use a system called Smartedge.  I'm struggling to find anything smart about it, £151 for 50m and all you have to do is cut through your grass to form an edge and tack the Smartedge in place.  Yeah, right.  Three inch plastic pins that snap if they hit a stone (there are stones in the soil?) and it doesn't form a nice clean edge like the spiel says.  Far from it, I now have to go along on my hands and knees packing it out with soil, adding grass seed and trying to straighten it up.  Avoid at all costs.  Next time it'll be £250 for the metal stuff or maybe a nice brick edge!

Anyway, I'm getting a tan, getting muscles in places where I didn't know I had muscles, and am enjoying being outside getting muddy and listening to 6 Music, marvellous.  

Get out from behind your desk and do a bit of landscaping.  Its good for the soul.