Jerry and I were discussing the other day the pros and cons of doing gardens. Most things were positive like creativity, meeting and working with people and just being outside. The first negative thing we came up with was the amount of perfectly good materials we throw away.
In the course of the average design and build project we clear the garden of all unwanted materials. From plants to paving from bricks to top soil we take it out and usually dispose of it. We then start re building the garden bringing back in at least as many materials as we took out in the first place. Don’t get me wrong we do separate the hardcore from the green waste which then go on to be re-used but only after a great deal of energy and expense.
We are now looking at ways of re using materials in new and interesting ways. For instance sometimes old paving can be re-laid. We often find that paving has just not been done properly. There may not be enough base material or mortar; the gradient may be incorrect causing pooling and an uneven look. If the paving is lifted and re laid sometimes in a different shape or pattern you have effectively got a new paved area for significantly less money. Another interesting idea is to re-use leylandii or conifer hedges. The poles can be de branched and used for structures like arbours or pergolas. Other trees can be used as well especially willow and hazel. Leylandii hedges can cause problems in gardens this is a great way of using the waste especially when the cost of disposal is significant. Sometimes a bit of pruning and moving of the plants in an old tired border will make it feel like a new planting scheme, or the whole shape of the border can be changed or moved. Old walls can be re-located and built again or the walling material can shape shift into a path or raised bed. There are so many possibilities when you get into this mindset. What was once an eyesore or unusable bit of garden can become the opposite with a bit of imagination and work.
Sometimes this approach is not desirable or possible and new materials are the best option. But in the right circumstances the recycled or partially recycled garden will decrease the cost making the possibility of a new garden open to more people while at the same time be a really fun and worthwhile project.
In the New Year we will be opening some show gardens at Robert Mills architectural and ornamental antiques ltd, Narroways Road, St Werburghs. One of the gardens will be made from recycled materials. So please come down and have a look. There will be updates on our progress and news and special offers on our web site.