So once Easter weekend arrived we set about completing our plans for the garden. My first job for the weekend was to head to the garden centre to pick up some of the plants I discussed in this post, while Ed begun building the planter from the railway sleepers, we picked up a couple of weeks before.
My parents run their own business and hold a trade account at a great wholesale nursery called Evergreen, so I met my parents there and was lucky enough to be able to utilise the favourable trade prices and enjoy a spot of brunch with them (it was the long weekend after all).
As planned I purchased a selection of Alliums, Astrantia, Crocosmia and Geum plus Heuchera, Tiarella, some trailing Gypsophila and a Cordyline to compliment the palm tree which Ed rescued from his office.
The sleepers for the planter were a soft wood and relatively easy to cut through, so by the time I got home Ed already had the planter complete – this is where our advanced planning really paid off as it meant Ed could get stuck straight in and motor on. So while he got on with building the frame for the bench, I lined the planter with a heavy plastic sheet, fixed in place with nails. This was essential to stop any moisture in the soil rotting the timber. I then filled the planter three-quarters full with compost and set the plants out so I could see how they all looked together before bedding them all in. To ensure the planter has flowers all year I also allowed space for some bulbs and added some Erysimum which was getting a bit large for its pot.
Once the framework for the bench was complete Ed added an exterior ply top ready to take some slates we had left over from the patio. So by the end of the first day things were most definitely starting to take shape and we headed to the pub!
The main job for day two was to remove the hose, install two wall lights and add doors to the front of the bench. We bought the Nordlux wall lights over two years ago from Lighting Direct, so it was a great feeling to finally get them installed. To conceal the power cables we would have had to re-finish the wall, however we both really like the yellow brick, so opted for galvanised conduit, clipped to the wall to make a feature of the power cables and protect them from the weather.
The doors for the front of the bench were made out of the same timber as the fence and stained to match. Rather than hinge the doors Ed made them to slot snuggly within the framework of the bench, so they could be opened without blocking the opening, as we planned to keep the lawn mower and various other garden bits in there, plus the hose.
That just left reinstalling the hose and fitting the slate top for the last day. This might sound like a quick job but installing the slate top took a while as all the slates had to be cut to size, to fit against the angled back wall. It also caused an awful lot of mess and even though we had laid a tarpaulin down it took a long time to clean up. But by about 3pm we were done. Ed did then decided to jet wash the patio, but by 5pm we were enjoying a nice glass of wine on our new (slightly dusty) bench!
All in all the work took three days, as we took a day off to go and visit family. However if we had not taken it quite so easy and spent an evening int he pub, we probably could have crammed it into two days, but it was much more enjoyable the way we did it and we didn’t feel exhausted by the end of the weekend.
All the slates were cut using water, so it took a while to clean them up, but they are now looking spotless and as planned the bench is the perfect place to enjoy the evening sun. We have also put all our gardening bits in the bench, so our side passage is looking much tidier.
If anyone has any specific questions about how we cut anything, what type of each flower we used, etc, please feel free to drop me a comment below and I would love to know what you think.