Real gardens: transforming a challenging plot

Real gardens: water world

Discover how a pair of readers turned this near-impossible space into a beautiful four-acre water garden

When Gay and Jim Acres first moved to this plot in Ceredigion 40 years ago, there was no garden, just nine and a half acres of windswept, open moorland. A few mature trees surrounded a derelict building, and the land had no house, no access road, no hedge, no fence, no soil, just half an inch of peaty water over grey clay, with a small area of soil over solid rock.

Experts suggested that to even consider creating any kind of garden was impossible, as nothing, apart from willows if planted on humps, would grow.

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