IMG_1734The different stages of the fellside garden project

In carrying out the work we have wanted to:
● Create a series of attractive level areas
● Ensure easy and safe movement from one level to the next
● Blend new work into the fellside environment
● Use local materials where possible
● Develop areas for specific purposes
● Enhance the local ecology
● Support the local red squirrel population and use by other wildlife
● Build safety features into every stage of the work

6.1 Tree felling and replanting of native hardwood – 2005/2006
Some trees in the garden had in the past been cut or reduced in size but not in any systematic way. Photo No 1 shows the initial thick tree cover and photos Nos 2-4 shows the trees being cut down and their size. The effect of felling was to bring much more light and air into the property. No 5 shows the sliced trees which were later split for use as firewood. No 6 shows the area in 2009 which had been planted earlier with new native oak, cherry, alder and birch. The green pathway eases access and maintenance.

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6.2 Renewal of south patio & building of BBQ and heather garden – 2006
Our suppliers of sand, stone and cement were able to hoist the material over the front high hedge, thus reducing a lot of humping up steps – Photos 1 and 2. It’s important in a steep garden to explore in advance ways of easing transport within the site. Photos No 3 and 4 are the before and after shots of the new patio. No 5 is a close up of a new concealed BBQ area, beside which we have created a heather rock garden (Photo No 6).

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6.3 ‘Breakfast terrace’ with concealed lighting points & shrub planting – 2006
This development has been the crux of the entire project as it ‘brought the house into the garden’. The photos show the sizeable excavation of the fellside which had to be completed to create a level patio area from a bracken covered slope. Note the use of breeze blocks to create a good retaining wall. Feathering the patio into the slope ensures easy movement off the path. Catching the summer sun for 10 hours, the terrace is good for meals, reading & relaxing. There are great views too. Lighting enables evening use.

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6.4 New wooden steps with handrails  from the backdoor platform – 2007
Easy access from the house was now required to the terrace. Photo No 1 shows the bank from the back door in 1993. The rise is steep and there was no direct access. No 2 is 12 years later when some rough stone steps had been installed. This was more of a scrambling route. The remaining photos show the new set of steps with easy regular treads, the now accessible bank and a safety rail on the top path.

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6.5 New kerb-stone steps to the top garden from the ‘breakfast terrace’ – 2007
This flight of steps was to be the route to the top and to the site of the Belvedere, as yet un-built. The steps needed to meld into the slope and be robust and secure. We found some 30 surplus Victorian kerb-stones for this purpose. Transporting these (weighing up to 1½ cwt each) to the site and then hauling them up the slope took place over 5 months (Photo 1).  Photos 2-5  show the different step profiles and Photo 6 shows the flight after one year.

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6.6 New lower level step ways from the road on north and south sides – 2007
Access from the roadside was piecemeal with the danger of slipping on damp grass. Creation of two direct routes with proper steps on the north side of the house (Photo Nos 1-2) and south side (Nos 3-5) provided clear pathways and helped lawn cutting, gardening and more use by visitors both in summer and winter. Photo No 6 shows the use of the pathway during a ‘wall dedication’ ceremony.

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6.7 Provision of safety railings & solar lights beside stone steps – 2007
Safety railings have been made out of stripped holly branches from the garden as part of a wider sustainability plan – Photos 1-3. Lead topped post (No 4) makes a good backdrop too for pictures of our two regular red squirrels – No 5. Solar lighting extends safe use of the garden in the evening – No 6.

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6.8 Contour path rerouted with rebuilding/raising containing walls – 2007
An untidy path with encroaching bracken became hazardous as one of the retaining walls started to collapse. Rebuilding the wall (Photos No 1-2) provided the chance of redrawing the line of the path to give a level path and safe access only via the steps. Photo 3 shows a small panel of volcanic rocks from Oregon, USA used in the reconstruction. Photos No 4 and 5 show the back contour path behind the cottage looking south and looking north.Photo No 6 gives an overall view from the roof of the new path.

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6.9 Leveling & re-turfing lawn with new raised terrace wall – 2008
These photos show the process of leveling the bottom south lawn which was rarely used because of the steepness of the slope. Photos No 1, 2 and 3 – dismantling of the lower wall and rebuilding 12 inches higher, whilst digging out the back section to gain a level site. Photo No 4 shows back section of lawn reduced in height by 15 inches. Photos Nos 5 and 6 show firstly the adding of topsoil and secondly the lawn completed and level a year later.
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6.10 Installation of stoop stone ‘sculpture’ beside breakfast patio – 2009
The plan has been to create a garden with shrubs and statuary as is appropriate for a green cottage and fellside. We have been fortunate to acquire from a neighbouring farm an ancient stoop stone. Photo No 1 – the stone lying covered by brambles in a field. We experimented (Photo No 2) with a cardboard maquette to determine the best position . Photos 3-4  show the four man team lifting the 2½ cwt stone up the fellside as dawn breaks on a freezing January morning.  Photos No 5 and 6 show the stoop stone, cemented in position and secure, in snow and early Spring.
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6.11 Leveling and containing top south lawn and creation of seating position – 2009
This section of the garden, used as a ‘depot’ for all the construction works, sloped down to the hedge falling over 18 inches. Creating a re-turfed and leveled area gave it a new lease of life with a seating area and a small rock garden to soften the impact of the higher containing wall. Beside the garden gate – and convenient for the kitchen – a small herb bed was created at the bottom of the adjoining sloped area.
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