Designing the garden – step 4: Plan the details

Once and while the material was selected and suppliers were found, I planned the technical details of the larger projects. For this I had to learn about the less obvious functional and technical aspects that need to be considered to create a garden that will stand the test of time.

For the terrace, I had to figure out how to build a solid foundation and framework so that the structure will not dip or sink, swing, or move. I planned to remove earth and shift gravel to have a drainage that leads water away from the houses foundations to prevent water damage. I had to decide on the kind and quality of screws and the size and quality of the wood for the framework. For my special feature, the tree in the terrace, I planned how to stabilize the decking around the hole, and planned the size and depth of the hole that would be filled with earth so that a tree actually can grow there. I also planned how to cover rainwater drainpipe sewers so that things look tidy but I can open and clean the sewer sieve. I also invested in some tools for the work, and buying good tools needs planning. I also figured the quantities of decking board, screws and framework timber I would need. I drew a detailed plan of the whole piece.

For the paving, I needed to figure out the surface-size of paving materials I would need, the volume of stone-ash and gravel needed. I also translated the length of edging into amount of stones needed.

For the fence I needed to measure the site and plan the number and height of sections to be built (design and material was supplied by the housing cooperative) and have my neighbour agree.

I needed to measure out the to-be lawn and calculate the amount of roll-out lawn required.

For the path and the bedding I had to measure the height differences of the site and plan how to distribute this over the length of the path.

I also had to check that the planned “lazy steps” from decking to paving to lawn and for the front terrace would be following the stair-formula, and therefore would be safe.

As schedule, we planned that I would build first the back terrace, then the front terrace, the fence I would build together with the neighbour at a set date for as long as it took. I would, using the earth from the terrace area, start the levelling of the lawn area and then landscape the path and surrounding flower beds. At this time I would also dig out the foundations for the path and paved area. After that I would get the gravel foundation and stone-ash bedding for all paved areas, and then I would lay the slate and complete edging. The lawn we would get once the back-garden paving was completed. Planting up the beddings would come after that. We did not schedule all the projects in detail, as we did not know how long each would take, but principally reserved all summer for the work.

After designing, planning and buying the materials, it was time to build the garden.


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