Dressing the garden

Garden view from west side

We are now at the stage in our garden renovation of adding plants and garden accessories to pull together all the elements – the fun bit!

By the careful placement of plants and decorations, you can give the impression of stylish, sleek and yet homely.  We used a combination of both new and old plants, new and old pots and new and old accessories, different shades of grey and blue which contrast but still compliment.  For maintenance purposes, all the plants are evergreen (with flowers or colour) for all year round show, but the trough is our seasonal garden splash of colour, this time of the year it is full of stocks, cyclamens and dianthus, in spring we will have daffodils and tulips and then summer bedding plants.

Pernettya mucronata Evergreen Prickly Heath Berry Plant
Pernettya mucronata Evergreen Prickly Heath Berry Plant

Small compact plant with eye catching white berries, placed close to the house so can been seen through french doors but does not obstruct view to other plants.

Pernettya - Purple Berry Miniature Bush
Pernettya – Purple Berry Miniature Bush

This one is the same as above except berries are pink.  It is placed in a higher container diagonally across from white one so eyes travel along the line to encompass both colours.

Ophiopogon japonicus - Pygmaeus
Ophiopogon japonicus – Pygmaeus

On the sleeper wall we have used small grey pots to hold various alpines, the smallest one above.

Sempervivum Vicentai Gaton
Sempervivum Vicentai Gaton

The middle of the three pots on the sleeper wall, yellow flowers will appear in summer on tall stems.

Iberis Fischbeck – Perennial Candytuft
Iberis Fischbeck – Perennial Candytuft

The largest of the three pots on the sleepers, produces masses of small white flowers in spring, ideal for attracting bees into the garden.

Dryopteris Erythrosora – Japanses Rosy Buckler Fern with Vinca Minor - Periwinkle
Dryopteris Erythrosora – Japanses Rosy Buckler Fern with Vinca Minor – Periwinkle

We have placed a tall cylinder planter in the corner of the patio contained two plants, the Japanese fern is ideal to use as foliage contrast with other plants, has coppery triangular fronds when young, turning light green with mature.  To compliment the fern we have added a Periwinkle, this has small inky blue/violet flower in spring and occasionally in autumn winter – we planted ours in late September and it has not stopped flowering!

Araucaria Araucana - Monkey Puzzle tree
Araucaria Araucana – Monkey Puzzle tree

The Monkey Puzzle tree we have had for a while but it now stands out as a structural element to the edge of the patio with its sweeping arms contained in a square planter, but do not be fooled, get too close and the spikes really hurt.

Azalea tree
Azalea tree

This Azalea has been lost in the old plants for some time now but placed in a planter it show cases its autumn colours  Although not evergreen, the new buds are already showing (November) with a promise of what’s to come.  In summer a mass of coral flowers can be seen.  To draw the eye to the planter, a small sphere is used.

Planter with Olive tree, Stocks and Cyclamens
Planter with Olive tree, Stocks and Cyclamens

We have recycled our old plants, it was looking a might tired but with new lining and a few coats of “silver birch” grey paint, it looks like new.  An olive tree is placed at the side to give height and structure, the rest of the trough will be planted with seasonal bedding plants to give a splash of all year round interest.

Pittosporum Tenuifolium - Irene Paterson
Pittosporum Tenuifolium – Irene Paterson

A tall square planter is used to showcase the above, it produces dark green leaves speckled with white often tinged pink in winter.  Dark purple flowers are produced in Spring. The height of this plants ensures the eye is drawn to the rest of the garden over the sleeper wall.

Add garden lights to your patio

Garden lights installed into decking and sleeper wall

With the patio construction pretty much complete and now laid in the 3 major zones around the perimeter of the house (garage, kitchen/dining room, side return) it’s now time to start building the periphery parts of the hard landscaping.

Decorative stone was used to fill the voids around the guttering down pipes and down the gap between the paving slabs and the boundary fence that borders the side return.

Decorative stone in voids
Decorative stone in voids

With the sleeper wall already built in front of the garage patio area, to act as a retaining wall for the earth which forms the lawn part of the garden, the rest of the kitchen/dining room patio needs a boarder to edge the late slabs. To fulfil this requirement and to enhance the overall look of the garden a scheme was developed that involved laying some decking boards in two rows in front of the slabs on a wooden frame.

Frame for decking board patio edging
Frame for decking board patio edging

The frame for the decking boards was made up of 48mm x 74mm timber screwed to wooden piers that have been laid in concrete over a base of Type 1 and hardcore at 1200mm intervals. All the timber used is pressure treated and then painted with wood protection paint to extend the life of the timber. Flat timber screwed into the decking boards and laid on the patio was used to keep the frame in place while the concrete set around the wooden piers. Once the concrete had set the decking boards were screwed in place using stainless steel deck screws that would not rust and corrode over time with exposure to the elements.

Decking boards laid for patio edging
Decking boards laid for patio edging

Low voltage LED decking lights were installed in the deck boards and at the bottom of the sleeper wall.
It is also planned that spike lights will be installed under the trees at the bottom of the garden. This will help to create an inviting and chilled atmosphere for evening enjoyment in the garden.

GaGarden lights installed in sleeper wallrden lights installed in sleeper wall
Garden lights installed in sleeper wall

Enhance your property by laying a new patio – part #3

New drainage pipe for channel drain

Round by the garage and the back door of the property the wall of the garage is built into the bank of the house next door. The gravel boards of the boundary fence also act as a retaining wall holding the earth back. Rainwater runoff from higher up the road runs into the patio area of the house and makes the external walls wet when it rains hard. There is a Damp Proof Course (DPC) which prevents water penetrating internally.

To alleviate the effects of the surface rainwater run off a channel drain will be installed against the kitchen wall and continued round at the bottom of the patio running parallel with a new retaining wall which will hold back the earth from the garden. The retaining wall is made of new sleepers of lengths 1.2 metres and 1.8 metres and widths 100mm x 150mm. A narrow trench was dug and filled with type 1 with a sand and cement base that the first lot of sleepers were laid on with haunching (cement support) applied to the back of the sleeper wall once the wall was finished.

Type 1 and cement base for sleeper wall
Type 1 and cement base for sleeper wall

The sleepers were staggered to match the height of the earth that would be retained behind the wall. They were cut and offered up dry to start with to make sure they fitted together properly. Holes were drilled in the sleepers to accept 1.2 metre long 20mm steel rods which were passed through the sleepers and hammered into the ground with 2 part polyester resin being used to glue the rods inside the sleepers. The sleepers were also glued in place with a quick setting Silyl Modified Polymer glue.

Sleeper wall partially built
Sleeper wall partially built

Once the wall was complete it was left for 24 hours to allow the adhesives to set properly.

Sleeper wall finished
Sleeper wall finished

The rainwater which comes off the garage roof is carried away by a gutter into a downpipe. An inspection pit was dug following the line of the downpipe from the gutter in order to trace where the water was draining to.

Inspection pit to reveal drainage pipe leading to soakaway
Inspection pit to reveal drainage pipe leading to soakaway. Main main foul water sewer pipe routed above.

The downpipe exited into a 110mm 90 degree bend by means of a flexible reducer pushed over the pvc pipe. The inspection pit revealed that the pipe went under the shared services foul water drainage pipe and continued into a soakaway. A trench was dug to run the pipe which would be teed off and run up to the channel drain.

Inspection pit to reveal drainage pipe leading to soakaway
Inspection pit to reveal drainage pipe leading to soakaway. Main main foul water sewer pipe routed above.

In order to carry away the water from the new channel drain it was proposed that the rainwater drainage pipe for the garage roof gutter would have a tee placed into it and a new trench would be dug for a pipe to be laid and run upto a P trap. The use of a P trap was just to stop any possible gases coming up from the soakaway and exiting into the atmosphere at ground level through the channel drain. The P trap has a downpipe that joins the bottom of the corner joint of the channel drain. Here the pipe is cut to accept the slip coupling and double socket branch.

Pipe cut ready to fit slip coupling
Pipe cut ready to fit slip coupling

Then the slip coupling is inserted with pipe lubricant …

Fitting slip coupling
Fitting slip coupling with joint lubricant to aid movement of coupling up and down pipe.

… and the double socket branch is inserted into the pipe.

Double socket branch tee fitting
Double socket branch tee fitted to facilitate installation of drainage pipe to channel drain.

Then a piece of straight pipe was inserted into the double socket outlet and 90 degree adjustable double socket bend was inserted into that which allowed a long piece of pipe to be run upto a 15 degree bend and into the P trap. The P trap was placed on type 1 and then a piece of broken patio slab to give a firm base. Once the P trap outlet was judged to be in the correct place to accept the channel drain outlet 10mm pea shingle gravel was shovelled into the trench to backfill the space around the pipes.

Trench backfilled with 10mm gravel pea shingle
Trench backfilled with 10mm gravel pea shingle