My front garden is shameful. It’s definitely an been on the back burner ever since we’ve moved here. I have been endlessly wondering lately, what to do with this space? I did have an idea to turn it into a coastal garden, with gravel, grasses and succulents, but now I plan to do that in the back garden, I’ve gone off the idea in the front. Presently it’s been laid to lawn (in the loosest possible sense of the word) with a border all the way around. Eventually we will have to rethink this garden as we plan to open up the parking area to allow for two cars, but for now it must stay largely as it is.
Last summer I planted some lavender grown from seed under the window, and they took well, but I moved them in September to border the edges and they didn’t like it one bit, they now look limp. Late last summer I planted two lacecap hydrangeas under the window which I hope will bush out nicely and cover over the weedy bits around the drain where the downpipe comes meets the ground. The soil is very stoney with lots of rubble, especially nearer the house, but the garden here is south facing so should do well.
As the weather this weekend turned out much better than I had expecting I decided to tackle the garden by removing the old lawn and resowing the seed. The existing lawn was domed, and mostly weeds, in fact I lost count trying to discover how many dandelions were growing there. It’s difficult to mow as what grass is left has reverted to some kind of wheat which is tough and knarly and seems the bolt to seed in no time. Quite clearly nobody has addressed this is in a long time.
So where to start? I guessed I would have to tackle the perennial weeds, so I squirted them all carefully with a bit of Roundup which takes the poison to the roots. I don’t usually use chemicals, but this one is harmless once it comes into contact with the soil, and only kills the plant it is sprayed on. I knew I wouldn’t be able to dig out all of the dandelion roots as some were going over 2 foot deep, so hopefully this would weaken them significantly enough to give the grass a good chance. Then after a few hours, I began digging up the turf, shaking off the excess soil and double digging to aerate the soil (whilst dumping the old grass in the green bin) This took a fair while, in fact the whole of Saturday. Today, I levelled the soil with a rake and added sand, compost and some rotted manure and lightly forked over the top. I had to redistribute a lot of soil into the borders as the old lawn was mounded on top, then I trampled the soil with my feet and the back side of the rake before lightly raking again when flat.
Now I was ready to add seed. A good couple of handfuls per sq metre I would say, and carefully lined up around the edges (you could use a plank for this if you wanted it to be more accurate). Then ever so lightly rake again to distribute the seed evenly, and give a good water with a fine hose. I covered mine with some netting to keep the pests off, namely my children!!
Fingers crossed it grows and it smartens things up!