I say part 1 as this may take a while. I have just trawled through some photo's to get a good representation of how the garden has evolved over the last 4 years.
So this is how it looked in May 2005
We started clearing some of the back to see how far back the garden went as we couldn't really tell but we did eventually find a wire fence. The top part of the garden went back further than we first thought.
Heavily pregnant at this time it was Alex and my Dad that started the clearing.
Alex bought himself a new toy - a shredder to help clear some of what we cut down otherwise it would have taken forever for him to get rid of it. Anyway, baby arrived in September so little else got done in the garden for the next few months.
When Spring arrived in 2006 we started to clear some more and put up a better fence at the back to define the back garden and make it more secure as the beyond that is an open bit of woodland.
We found all sorts buried at the back - what appeared to have been an old veg garden and compost heap (confirmed by the neighbours but it hadn't been touched for years) - buried pots, glass, metal, etc. We had also got a small 6ft by 4ft greenhouse that was on the patio when we moved in - again full of pots, some good staging, and various bits and bobs. We also brought with us a greenhouse 6ft by 8ft from our previous home (which used to be my Dad's but it was surplus).
So we went about deciding what we wanted from the garden and where to put the greenhouses. The steep slope was a problem we needed to get round. It was basically unusable as it was treacherous to even try and mow the grass on it.
We therefore came up with the idea of terracing it and housing the greenhouses on the left of the steps as this area gets the sun from quite early morning through to the late afternoon and even into the evening at the height of the Summer. So they started digging ...
and building a wall for the greenhouses to sit on and be screwed down
This was really hard work for Alex and my Dad - it was August 2006 when it was really hot. But it was great to see the greenhouses going up and I couldn't wait to get started for the next years raising of plants ((I'm the planner and the planter in the household).
Then, of course, we needed a shed. Men just love sheds don't they! Of course we weren't going to just buy an off-the-shelf shed, it was going to be built using reclaimed/recycled wood, etc. The doors came from inside the house where we had taken them off places we didn't want them. The only new thing we bought were posts and the felt as we needed it to be watertight. It was great as we were able to build the shed to a size we wanted.
This is how the whole garden looked in January 2007
The next project was to get some vegetable beds in the space between the shed and the greenhouse. We also wanted to cage it as we have a cooking apple tree in that area and wanted to put more fruit in too but we have a squirrel problem - they had every single apple from the cooking apple tree and a dessert apple tree on the other side of the steps (you can't really see it in these pictures as we had heavily pruned it - but it can be seen in later pictures).
Raised beds were built in this area with a narrow path down the middle so we could reach the plot without having to tread on it.
At the same time, we decided to put down a lawn on the right-hand side of the steps at the top - a place for us to sit and play.
The finished lawn - note the photo was taken quite late in the evening, my Dad has a tendency to work in the dark, in fact I think a lot of the shed building was done when it was dark. It's a running joke in our family that he gets more done when it starts getting dark. He also added some more paving slabs to the patio area at the bottom of the slope around this time and yes he was mixing cement into the evening! Here's the proof!
Anyway, here is the whole garden in March 2007.
We built a rustic fence between the lawn and the slope, safety was in our minds with Imogen playing out in the garden. Although I can't find a picture from when it was first built.
Now, there was the slope on the right-hand side to think about?
We started that - after many different thoughts on what to do, we decided to terrace it.
(here's a picture of the fence at the top in October 2007)
Part 1 completed, part 2 to follow which will show the progress of the terraces and how the garden looked in 2008. Much of the rest of the time in 2007 was spent just having fun in the garden. We revisited the terracing early in 2008. See you for part 2.