Circles and slate

Yes, another post on my grass circles, but there's good news as we're reaching the end of this project. All, but the final piece of edging is down and our grass is looking less like we've put one of those expandable cake tins around it.  And if you're wondering why we haven't put the last piece of edging down, it's not because we have some weird kind of topping out ceremony planned, but all to do with the fact that the edge was covered with one of those huge tonne bags and full of slate.

So with as much edging down as we could manage, it was time to tackle the membrane and redistributing the aforementioned slate. But where to start?

We decided to tackle one of the larger areas at the back of our garden first so we could practice our techniques and so we didn't botch the most visible part of our garden, the bit that is right in front of the patio.

Looking at what was outside the edging more closely we were once again reminded that our house was built on an old gravel pit, to say we have stony soil is an understatement, I mean just look.

Circles dug and edged, now for the slate

We could have picked out the stones, and in fact could quite easily go into business selling them for a good while, but instead out came the big hammer and some serious arm work got underway - the results are pretty impressive aren't they?

But first some arm work compressing the earth
 
And what a difference it makes, a nice smooth surface to lay the membrane on

So out came the rolls of membrane. It was much thinner than I'd expected, but it was just like rolling out material and kind of weird. We quickly learnt that the longer the piece of membrane the more effective it's likely to be, and that it's best to secure it first and then cut the shape, leaving plenty of overhang.

And then it was time for the membrane, which was much easier to lay than I anticipated

Pleased with our progress and learning quickly we shifted our attention to the patio area.

After practicing on the rear of the garden we moved to the most visible part of our garden by the patio

And the results were pretty impressive, and quick - which is definitely my kind of project!

And then we added the slate

It was clear though that despite having one very large bag delivered (which we'd split into two when we decanted it through the house back in 2013 - how time flies hey?!) it wasn't going to be enough to do the whole garden. When we ordered it we weren't sure, but as the circles were only a glimmer in our eye at that time, we weren't too fussed. We ordered it along with the new patio and therefore saved on delivery fees, I don't think though that either of us thought it would sit in our garden for the next four years!

So tactical decision made, we decided to lay the slate by the patio and then all the way up the left-hand side of the garden up to the greenhouse, and then to complete the area in front of the shed, which I'll show you in a moment. 

But first, I'm enjoying a couple of more arty-farty slate pictures.

The slate has made such a difference
 
A picturesque view of our circles, slates and plants

And look, the yucca is no longer lolling over the grass, it's staked up - but more on that tomorrow.

Looking up the garden towards the phormium and the yucca, now bathed in slate beneath them

And so in one afternoon and evening session we'd laid slate right up to the greenhouse, it makes such a difference, don't you think?

Looking down the garden towards the house, the slate is currently only on one side of the garden

And then we had to tackle the area outside the shed. This has been one of the problem areas in our garden, along with the area in front of the lilac (on the right of the picture). It's not obvious from the photo but there's a distinct change in level from the grass to the paving, and just where our pile of leaf composting black sacks are, there's quite a dip.

The before shot of the greenhouse and the shed

So in an attempt to avoid the rest of our free time picking up slate from the path and putting it back where it should be, we installed a piece of the edging as a retaining boundary. Then the membrane, and finally the slate.

And a look at the shed corner now it's decked out with slate, it makes such a difference

And fingers-crossed this will sort one of our problem areas once and for all. I've got a post coming up soon on how we plan to fix the problem area by the lilac too, it's more work (obviously) but I'm quite excited about our plans and how they've come about.

So we need to buy some more slate, I think we can easily use the same amount again, especially as I think we'll need a fair bit by the stone circle and pizza oven area, and I'm resigned to many more trips carrying slate through the house, but at least this time we'll be able to decant them to their final position (she says hopefully!)  - although I suspect this job won't reach the top of our list for a month or two.

So circles and slate - we're almost there - and it was well worth the bravery it took to make those cuts in our lawn last summer.  What do you think?

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