The Making Of The Courtyard Garden

June 2020

These two images above were the photographs that the advert displayed concerning the house l now live in aka ‘Willow’ – showing the courtyard garden – they are grainy due to the fact that they were online images. However they serve the purpose well enough – you can see what the garden was like.

When l viewed the property for the first time – it was in June – the national UK lockdown was in full force, and appointments to view property were restricted to 15 minutes only. Suze commented that she only had 15 minutes to view her own property and she considered it insufficient time to view all of it and her property is three times smaller than my own. So my 15 minutes was like a whirlwind!

The house here – Willow – has three bedrooms, a loungeroom, kitchen, utility room, conservatory[ish], bathroom, it has steep stairs and because it is an period home it was filled with lots of quirky’s and then of course on top of all that there was the courtyard garden.

On the day that Suze and l viewed we were very lucky it was sunny and dry whereas the images above display the garden to be wet. I probably spent half of my viewing time in the garden and l still didn’t see the full size of the garden – my first impressions were ..

It was quaint and twee
It was small and narrow
It was ideal for me.

At a push l thought the garden was only around 8 feet wide by 25 feet long from the back door down to the gate … l was due to move in officially once l collected my keys on the 6th July – although l was allowed a whistle stop visit on the 1st July because by that time l had been accepted for the property and my deposit had been paid.

On the next quick visit l discovered the garden was actually very different to how l first saw it – it was much longer and broader it officially measured 45 feet in length and 10 feet wide at the narrow point and 12 feet wide at the broadest. It had more to it. The little cubbyhole l thought was some kind of strange coal shuttle turned out to be a small concrete cube shed. It wasn’t so much filled with quaintness and twee, but more personalised character and quirkiness!

You can see the original garden photographs taken on the 6th July here Episode 1# – Beauty in the Eye Of .. as this is part of a different series.

So here l am 10th October – 3 months and a little bit after taking up the keys on the 6th July – has the garden changed at all? Principally yes of course – significantly from these initial advert photos – but if you read and follow the The Dug Out’s Secret Garden! series you will have seen the gradual changes occur in there over simply seeing the profound changes here in this post with today’s photos.

When Jeremy was here putting up pictures and so on, he was also in the garden attending to the odd jobs that l needed doing and these photographs today taken this morning when the sun was up not long after the rains over night will display how the garden is now in comparison to how it was on the June 6th.

The garden here is a continuous piece of work if you wish – currently it is an autumn garden, with work constantly ongoing to tweak and improve its efficiency and overall functionality and not forgetting easy practicality. Its main role is to serve as a courtyard garden and also a haven for wildlife, as well as to be developed and cultivated towards a vegetable/herb/fruit/ornamental garden next year.

I deal with the gardening side in the actual gardening series, this garden today is purely showing you the aesthetic side as an overall change from 4 months ago.

There are still many functionality tweaks to be introduced – like with the recent saga of the mysterious black cat killing pigeons – l have to think of a differently designed bird feeder over that of more conventional products available so that the feral woodpigeons and doves can feed and bathe securely here.

This will mean incorporating a design that uses the height of the garden over that of the width and the length. Pigeons and doves are much larger birds and sadly fall victim to domestic cats more so than seagulls, crows or magpies will who are a little more savvy and bigger than a cat!

Other functionalities to be introduced will be the likes of more portable lids for the worm farm and the new cubes compost pile over that of just having waterproofed sheets on which gather large pockets of water.

I inherited the white metal outside chairs here and they were taking up too much space. However the benefits of a walled in courtyard garden are in fact the walls themselves so more ideas have been utilised and introduced onto them to free up width/walking space.

Anyway – enough for a moment here is the gallery showing the garden as it is now.

Two of the four garden chairs were hung from the wall on hooks, this instantly freed up space on the walkway. The BBQ another thing l inherited was sited right down the bottom the garden, l’ll not use it – well not as a BBQ, it might be used as a plant holder further in the season. The water butt was secured to the drainpipe and with the amount of rain we have had fall since it was set up, l could have filled one hundred plus of them!

The umbrella [yes inherited also – although l bought the cover] was secured to the wall as it had a habit of falling and so the last thing l needed was an umbrella smashing a window! The metal chairs and the bench will be in the spring time sanded down, cleaned up and painted back into freshness in vibrant colours to add even more sparkle into the garden.

The ornamental metal work pieces you see, will also be brushed down and repainted to award them a new lease of life also. Suze’s brother has blacksmithery as a hobby and can really restore them to a beautiful artform again l feel. There are quite a few pieces of metal ware in the garden, so l think he will have some fun with them.

Still to come to the garden as well and l mentioned it briefly above – will be a new flat levelled pigeon feeder which will be sited nearer the back door area and above the two raised beds. Also sited on the walls will be coloured lattice panels that will allow for a host of additional foliage to be grown into and up them.

The garden now has it’s fuller compliment [bar the pigeon feeder] of wildlife havens which are present to take in residents of bees, bugs, frogs, toads and newts and if really lucky maybe a hedgehog. The wildlife cameras were also installed but still await setting up which was delayed by the constant rains, but they will soon also be in action.

You will of course see these new additions and changes in the gardening series in the run up to the first season in the garden itself as everything will be trial and error.

Hope you enjoyed the second part of the Willow Tour, catch you next time – thanks for reading.

The Blokes New Digs Directory

16 thoughts on “The Making Of The Courtyard Garden

  1. I don’t have bird feeders because I have two cats. Diesel wears a belled collar, but he’s lost 4 of them in the past 6 months. We get the breakaway safety collars, but he must be quite adventurous to lose 4 of them. He was watching the Parrots like he’d like to try for one🤣🤣🤣🤣 panther dreams in a scrawny tomcat.

    Your garden is lovely, especially with the sun shining in!


    1. Hey Grandma – good afternoon to you 🙂

      Thank you – the garden is coming along beautifully.

      I love cats, what l don’t love is feeding the birds for the domestic cats to sneak in and take advantage of the feral birds who are a bit clumsier. We didn’t lose many in the previous garden because 1] we had a dog and 2] when Scrappy was gone for a good period of time her covering canine scent in the garden eased off and the cats became more brazen during the day but 3] with large lawn spaces the clumsier flyers had more space to see predators.

      Unlike here, when the damn black cat has a few hidey holes to pounce from – so l must try and introduce higher feeding stations for pigeons who like to feed on flat grounds or surfaces – l could work the table into this quite easily down the bottom and that’s an idea l might look at also – just to give the birds more of a chance.

      But l don’t want to injure any cats in the process so it’ll be a hard one to balance for efficiency.

  2. Your garden is nicely becoming a part of you. It is a tough line to help the birds but not the cat. My Brittiany dogs were bird dogs and would catch them in the air. Annie doesn’t concern herself with the birds at all. Thankfully she does chase away the squirrels.

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