Garden, Number 28, Vegetables

Making allot(ment) out of a little

The front garden at 28 has always been a bone of contention.  While we are very, very lucky to have a back and a front garden, as well as parking (tricky in some parts of our village), the front garden just hasn’t seemed to work for us.


When we first moved in the front garden was lawned and practical…where was the fun in that?  We decided that we’d put a border in around the perimeter to give a softer look to the front of the house, and it worked.  After three years we had a nice established border with heather (Erica Carnea), Skimmia (Skimmia Jacponica) and a bay tree (Laurus Nobilis) with the usual seasonal bulbs (and weeds) popping up every now and then.  While this was very nice, it required maintenance – as all gardens do – and we found that we were spending more time in the back garden and working on our little vegetable patch.  So, an idea was formed…


Of course, we couldn’t just turn over the front into a large plot, we wanted to make sure that it was aesthetically pleasing.  After all, the front of the house is visible from the lane and so whatever we did needed to be a feature, and practical.  We looked in various books and online for inspiration and decided that, as much as we would like a circular herb border, we ideally needed something that would be a better use of the space.  Our initial plan (see above picture, left) worked very well on paper but just didn’t translate well to the garden, so it was adapted to plan b (above right).  This layout would give us six, square planting areas with two large semi-circle areas.

Diging out.png

Once we’d sorted out the plan and spent a long time measuring lengths, widths and depths (and writing them on a suitably scrappy and smudged bit of paper) we marked it out on the front and began digging…and digging…and measuring…and digging.  We’re still not sure how much soil we excavated, but enough to give away!  The sand in the third picture is for levelling, as despite the fact that the garden and lane are on a slope, we wanted the border as level as possible.  After this, it was easy.  All we had to do is teach ourselves to brick lay and mix cement in a wheelbarrow (next time, we’re getting a mixer).


It took a whole bank holiday weekend, a bit of sunburn, and only a few embarrassing moments falling in holes, but we managed to complete our border.  We were going to sift the soil back into the separate areas, but considering how long it took to simply shovel it back in, we decided that we’d just pick the stones out as they came to the top.


The front is still not entirely finished.  Though the border has been planted with various vegetables and herbs, the surrounding area needs to be levelled, chipped/barked and the edges need to be tidied up.  But that is a project for another weekend…



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