London (change)
Today 6°C / 3°C
Tomorrow 5°C / 3°C
1 to 20 of 34 messages
12/06/2012 at 15:37


Hello Folks,

After a very long wait, with my front garden looking more like a bomb-site, I've finally been able to get it redesigned. With my home being a 1930's built bungalow, I decided upon a strong art-deco theme - a sunburst based upon a mirror hanging in my kitchen.

With my limited motor function and very unsteady gait, phase 1 of the groundworks needed to be done by a professional. Once the site was cleared he laid out a 3m squared box from sleepers which was then filled with no less than 6 tonnes of topsoil. From there I was able to take over, visiting a local window manufacturer to cadge some scaps of soffit board to act as the dividers.

 I wanted a slight cone effect, so an old galvanised dustbin was placed in an offset position to represent the sun. The topsoil was then emptied in around it, trodden down and generally left to settle. A quick visit to a local garden centre gave me access to a Dwarf Fan Palm - Chamaerops humilis - as an eye-catcher.

Then came measuring the lengths of plastic board and inserting them to form the ray borders. I had the path to my back gate re-laid a few years ago, also in a nice art-deco geometric pattern, so the rays would pick up colours from the path, using crushed red and white stones, and crushed slate from the centre of the car "runway".

Here's the box taking shape...


By this point, it was a case of deciding what to do outside the box, so a test area was laid out and filled with red stone to gauge the effect. Quite satisfying...


The ray colours at the front would go red, white, greenery, slate then red. However, I also decided that there would not be any repeat


To help break up the straight lines a little, I've inserted pot pairs planted with heathers chosen so that there would be colour from them all year round. Next came the insertion of two square planters


I'll come back and continue the story later. I hope you enjoy my efforts so far.



12/06/2012 at 15:38

 Hello Folks,

I fell foul of a character limit, so this is the remainder of my first post... 

From there, life got a bit frustrating as I had more groundworks that needed to be done along the front and a new fencepost was needed too.


What also needed to be decided was the planting, especially outside the box. Low maintenance and drought resistant hardy plants were called for. So far the expenditure had swallowed up more  than 2/3rds of the budget, and I'd hardly started on the planting. Some shoulder-shrugging took place and the "h'ap'orth of tar" saying was making its presence felt. Oh well, I've waited over three years, so I'm not gonna skimp.

One of the rays was very cheaply planted from existing ground cover plants from my back garden, some hardy geraniums. Another trip to a garden centre produced a tray of various alpines and by this stage I'm getting anxious for phase 2 to get completed.



12/06/2012 at 15:53

Looks very good, I have seen people ask for advice about low maintenace gardens for limited motor function so it will be good to show them what is possible.

12/06/2012 at 15:55

Hello Folks,

The addition of the white stones only served to highlight the need for the groundworks to be completed. The existing slate path would be replaced with pea shingle.


Here we see a bit more planting and further rays outside the box taking shape.  By this point the effect of what I'm seeing and creating is way beyond what I'd imagined in mind's eye!


A good soaking certainly brings out the colours of the stones, but the rains also hold off completion of phase 2. Grrrrr...


Here we have a closer view of the start of planting...



12/06/2012 at 16:03

Oh dear, seems that I've created a bit of a muddle. Not entirely my fault folks, as the edit function is throwing wobblies. I'll come back later in the hope that the gremlins are banished...

12/06/2012 at 16:26

Hello Folks,

So, getting near to completion now. I've managed to find some rather nice solar lights that I can securely attach to the box. The old shale path has been refilled with pea-shingle and there's more planting too...


Here's a better view of almost the entire front garden with just a glimpse of the path at the bottom...

The new path is going to take a while to tamp down, but it's looking much tidier now with the shamfer corner completed too...



12/06/2012 at 16:40

Hello Folks,

More pictures...

Here's a closer view of the lights from over the neighbour's fence. There's some Heucherella's planted behind the closest light. Currently they're looking a bit sorry for themselves...

Another view from over the fence. A glimpse of the remains of my old art-deco path and another problem to resolve. What to do behind the box which isn't seen other than when you walk down the path...


This is the view as you approach along the pavement from the N.East, the new path that was laid 3 years ago is glimpsed in the background.


Almost the entire front garden looking South...


The area behind the box now tidied up and some colour anticipated from various ground cover plants and 3 Gaillardias...


12/06/2012 at 16:54

Hello Folks,

So, now the borders are beginning to mature. It's also the start of when weeds from the imported soil start to appear

Probably what makes most of this all worthwhile is that this is more or less the view that I have out of my bay window as I type this...

When I first moved here I was able to garden normally and not long after moving in I intended to make the area as eye-catching as I could. I did this with some success to the point where people would stop and admire it. It seems that I've done it again, because I'm still tryng to get used to seeing people who walk by stopping for a moment or three. Quite an achievement in today's very insular world.


12/06/2012 at 17:01

Hello Folks, 

Well, the work is complete now with the new fence post in place and the red stone placed around it. While my landscaper's van was parked alongside, two bird's-eye views were taken...


The final photos for today are of the solar lights lit up. Thankfully, they've been left alone by any potential vandals, probably because of a security light (also solar) fixed under the eaves...


All done for now folks. Hope you've enjoyed the journey so far... 


12/06/2012 at 21:25

LowiePete:  What a brilliant idea.  It's stunning.  Great to see it taking shape from start to finish.  You will have to keep posting pics as things come into bloom.  Love the design and the stones are so effective.   How good it must be to have thought up the idea and been able to make it come to life.  Fabulous!


12/06/2012 at 22:15

What an inspiration! The metal dustbin, the soffit dividers, the colours, the design, the planting - all of it. Thank you for taking time to share the journey with us. You have given us pleasure as you are giving passers by pleasure and I hope you will take pleasure yourself in a wonderful project, brillantly executed.

12/06/2012 at 22:18

Hi LowiePete - I am in complete awe!  It is a fantastic design, and so good to see the work in progress through to completion. 

Art Deco is strong design, and I wouldn't have thought of translating it to garden design - but your garden is superb.  You must be very proud - and rightly so!

13/06/2012 at 12:27

Really lovely - i'm inspired for my own little garden now! Well done on all your hard work and effort - bet your neighbours are very jealous as i know i am!

13/06/2012 at 13:24

Many thanks for your kind comments folks. I'll update the pictures once the Verbena at the front is in full bloom - the window boxes should be looking their fiery best by then too - weather permitting...


13/06/2012 at 13:59

... and on the seventh day he rested!!!

Magnificent work LowiePete. May it give you and any passers-by much delight.

13/06/2012 at 19:03


Small spaces can be quite difficult because it can look as though you haven't done anything at all, but you've taken the bull by the horns and done exactly the right thing by making a bold statement. People can like it or not (I do) but at least they'll talk about it. Well done!




13/06/2012 at 19:34

I think this is awesome !! super job - well done.


14/06/2012 at 15:29

 Hello Folks,

Thanks again for the kind comments. Having people stop and look adds a bit of pressure - keeping my front windows looking good. I did my nets, could not believe what they had collected, and snubbed the passing window-cleaner by doing my own. Bit of a job which I'll probably pay for in discomfort later.

Joe_the_Gardener wrote (see)

Small spaces can be quite difficult because it can look as though you haven't done anything at all... 

Oh yes, that was always going to be a hurdle. Making it look too busy was probably the biggest risk. He didn't say anything, but I think my landscaper was a bit skeptical until he saw it come together. The hardest part of this project, and I'm still not sure about my current approach, has been what to do in front of the box. 

A couple of neighbours have asked whether or not I'm going to erect any fencing. I have to say that I'm sorely tempted because _some_ passers-by think it's OK to let their dogs foul it, and for them to leave it for me to clear up! 

I had a quick look around the garden centre yesterday and if the problem gets any worse, I'll probably look at inserting some decorative wire trellis work between some steel uprights. There wasn't anything there with a 1930's retro feel, so no decisions yet.


14/06/2012 at 15:49

@FloBear, I'm deliberately not going to quote your post, my reasons will become clear soon enough. When I read the first phrase, I just fell about laughing; Even now, I can't stop chuckling as I write this. 

Heaven knows why... If _any_ of my friends see that, they're gonna be merciless.

So, you'll understand if I'm not too effusive with my thanks... 


14/06/2012 at 17:31

I love it i think it great

1 to 20 of 34 messages