Melissa Jolly Garden Design

Melissa Jolly Garden Design
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Thursday, 31 March 2011

Diary of our garden build

We have just started work on our own garden and I have decided to keep a diary of how it progresses.

I was lucky that we moved house just as I finished my course at The Oxford College of Garden Design, as it meant I had a blank canvas of a garden to work with. I don't think I would have had such a free rein to re-do it if it was an established plot. So I have started from scratch and have found designing my own garden more of a challenge than I expected. Perhaps this is because I know there are certain expectations from friends and family - but mostly because I desperately want it to work. Gardens are pretty expensive to do well and although I think it will add value to the house (economically and from a lifestyle point of view), I really don't want to make any costly mistakes.

It's a year and a half since we moved in and over that time the design has been modified and simplified but crucial attention has been given to materials and details. I think this in an interesting point for people to think about when they set about doing their own garden. Don't rush the process - living with the space gives you such a good idea of how you would like to use it. This is a common piece of advice given to people about to make changes to their homes and I feel it applies as much to the garden. Also, as is so often the case, when people are carrying out work to their house the garden usually comes last when patience for building and funds are running low, so it's worth thinking carefully about it.

I have managed to nudge the priority of the garden slightly up the never-ending list of things to do and it has overtaken the need for floors in the house...I convinced my husband that we really didn't want new floors being ruined by the mud bath that had become our garden during the build!

So after Day 1 this is how the garden looked....trenches for electrics dug and the garden in chaos! Let's hope for a little more order tomorrow.