The Plans

July 2021: A fully overgrown back garden with raised lawn gone to grass, a weed-choked rockery slope, and broken down greenhouse. Willow trees blocked views to the west whilst the south side woodland was impenetrable. In short, a plot with plenty of effort required, but a blank canvas to build a Japanesque Garden, and Woodland Garden with Potted Cottage garden on the front dais.

First priority was to cut the willow trees and layer into a boundary hedge, as well as chop down a blue cypress [Three steps Forward]. Having sheared the long grass to a walkable level, the greenhouse was rescued from the clutches of an overgrown elder tree. A paved platform had to be built for it before all glass was removed, jet washed and restored. Several broken panes needed replacing.[Breaking Glass]

The garden sloped steeply off either side of the rockery, making access hazardous. Wooden steps were constructed on the North side [Stepping Down] along with a wooden platform adjacent to the willow hedge boundary, to fill a cavernous incline.*

The end of Autumn 2021 was a good time to tackle the rockery slope, uprooting dense weeds and creating two terraces. This revealed a selection of rocks for a future cascade, as well as some to use for steps between the terraces [Rocking Up].

March 2022 and access into the woodland needed to be disentangled from ivy and a path in the clearing defined and levelled. This was continued further into the trees with steps cut into the downhill slope. [The Way Through The Woods]. Later this month paving slab steps were built on the South side, thus completing a footpath all round the garden [Steps and Stones].

A paved path was laid all along the east boundary hedge in May whilst a prefabricated Marsh garden was established adjacent to wooden platform and willow hedge [Of boundaries and bogs].

Over the summer, at the base of the newly built cascade, a large pond was dug and lined and a small containerised pond was put in place above to act as feeder [Pontificating on Ponds].

No Japanesque garden is complete without a teahouse, and serious work was begun on the gazebo styled timber building in September 2022 [An unveiling].

Before the winter set in by late November, the old lawn was grubbed up in readiness for a gravelled area, and a paved platform for Qigong practice was put in place there. Work on the teahouse roof was begun before rain stopped progress.

February 2023: Triangulating the perimeter of the planned gravel garden, three shrubbery beds were dug and the whole area skimmed of top soil and levelled in readiness for the gravel topping [Eyes on the Spring]. Wintry weather set in by March and delayed further plans.

Click to view original ground plan and landscaping changes

*platform used initially for a wormery to stand on but it was too hot a spot – so moved wormery into the native woodland garden and replaced here with a potted collection of succulents