Month: March 2018

Stump Grinding

I’m going to do a whole post about stump grinding and stump removal because it’s such an important part of how we treat a garden. That and the fact that I’ve spent the whole day doing just that so it’s really fresh in my mind.

We’ve seen some wonderful creations made from tree stumps – from the beautiful birds carved into tree trunks at Nymans Gardens in West Sussex, to a huge bear in a friend’s garden. It’s truly amazing what some people can do with what appears to be an unwieldy chain saw. How do they perform such intricate carving with such a large implement?

So that’s one option – turn your tree trunk into a work of art.

But that’s not for everyone because it can be difficult to find the right artist, expensive or simply overpowering for a small garden.

Another way of dealing with the leftovers of felled trees is to have the stump completely removed. This sounds ideal in theory but in practice can leave you with a very large hole – plus a lot of mess made by the machine that was needed to pull out the roots!  It’s simply not practical for every type of tree in a small garden.  It might work well for a small fruit tree, for example, but if you have a mighty oak removed (sadly) then you’re just not going to want the massive disruption it leaves behind. And that’s only if you can get the machinery into your garden!

So the best option is often to have the stump ground out.  You can either hire a stump grinding machine and do it yourself – which isn’t quite as easy as it sounds – or hire a professional.  I’d go for the latter any day because stump grinding is a horrible chore. The wood flies everywhere so you need protective clothing and frankly in my books it’s not worth the bother.

Hire the professionals and get a job done well in a fraction of the time. They’ll bring in the right sort of grinder to do the job in the space allocated and be out of your hair in no time.  Job done and the stump will be ground down to ground level or below so you can turf over it.

So that’s how we deal with all the stumps left when we’ve removed trees. It’s not the only way because you could turn large stumps into seats or plant holders, but it’s a neat way to remove obstacles to your overall plan if you’re unable to incorporate such a feature.

Happy grinding!

You can see more about how to plan your garden here

Caring for the Garden

When it comes to planting the garden, the first thing to do is make a plan!  I’m all for lists so I draw up a shortlist of suppliers and tradesmen who can make my life much easier.  We live near Birmingham now so our favourite tree specialist is Solihull Tree Surgeons and they always top the list because trees are such a major feature in any garden.

We start by assessing trees and hedges on the property because we like to retain these whenever possible. However, hedges have often been neglected and sometimes we need to replace with suitable fencing. Some of our properties have had quite large gardens with feature trees and we always try to plan around these and incorporate them into the landscape in a sympathetic way.

Once the boundaries are sorted and trees placed on the plan, hard landscaping is next.  It’s important to use pathways in a subtle way to bring interest to the garden and if possible reveal hidden areas as the walker wanders.

Next comes the planting of larger shrubs and bushes to build an infrastructure and give shape to the garden, then infilling with smaller plants.  Using this procedure we’ve been able to design any number of different gardens without resorting to expensive garden designers. I have nothing against them and they often produce stunning results, but our budget never stretches that far!

Once you have the outline of your plan, the next thing is to fill in the details. Decide what stone you want for the pathways and whether the patio is to be natural or an artificial surface or maybe wooden decking. There are a myriad of options and each one will produce an entirely different look to the garden.

So eventually it all comes together and you can instruct the companies you’ve chosen. I’d always go with recommendations for suppliers whenever possible – which is where Facebook can come in handy if you post in your local group and ask.

The real fun comes when you go to the garden centre to choose your plants and the colours you want. Using different shades will make a huge difference to the overall look so take that into account and decide beforehand whether you want a subtle look or something more bright and “in your face”.  If you’re doing up a property to sell, then I’d advise choosing something fairly mainstream and not too extreme because people can be funny when they buy a property and the look of the garden can have a big effect on their decision.

If you’re doing your own garden, of course, you can go for it! Choose what you like and feel you can live with. Go for bright and vibrant plants if that’s what you like or maybe something even more funky. The world’s your oyster so choose well and enjoy your garden.