What’s your pain threshold for ugly?
I’ve found out that mine is pretty high.
I’ve lived in the same house for ten years now, and I walk in and out of the house on average about ten times a day. I have consequently walked in and out through the tiny piece of land that constitutes my front garden about thirty six thousand times.
Thirty six thousand glances at something that, when we bought the house, made me wince and think “This is the thing we must tackle first”.
Thirsty six thousand excuses: “It keeps the burglars away… I need to save that money for a rainy day… it’s not THAT BAD…”
Thirty six thousand instances where I’ve had to ignore the unfinished, unkempt ugliness of it.
I did try, by the way - I tried putting plants in there, but nothing covered the bricks sufficiently, and the triangular-ness of it, and, well, there was no way to put a hedge there…
Pretty soon (I’d say after the first six months) I simply stopped seeing it, in the same way that I can’t really remember certain things that happened in my twenties. Our brains block stuff out.
I called time on my un-seeing eyes a couple of weeks ago, and I have halloween to thank for that, as, laying out my pumpkins and trying to prettify the space, I realised that I was no longer prepared to agonise over how awful it made me feel. Something had to be done.
As cheaply as possible, and as quickly as possible.
I made the call.
The lovely thing about calling landscapers in Autumn is that their workload is slightly lighter, and they can fit small jobs in between their vast ones quicker.
Mark and his brilliant team started by removing the ridiculous triangular raised bed.
Then we marked out a new, curved shape that would allow for a hedge along the length of my front wall.
They then cut it out, removed the debris, put a length of thick steel edging around the sloping part of the bed to keep things level, and then backfilled with earth.
They also put caps on the plain brick uprights of the wall, using some leftover London Stock from our extension project, which softens the whole look and somehow detracts from the ugliness of the cheap bricks beneath.
Finally, they put vine eyes on the front of the house, and cut two small holes in the paving against the walls of the house, in which to plant climbers.
It’s the simplest, most economical solution to my ten year itch, and I absolutely love it.
Phase two (planting) coming soon!
Yours, with great relief