Ivydene Gardens Garden Construction:
Work Schedule for Hard and Soft Landscaping

Having got everything agreed on paper or the PC, the exciting part begins.


Hard Landscaping

If the garden is large, split the construction into garden sections. Then, execute the following hard landscaping for each section (books from the Practical Projects part of the Library may assist):

  • Remove all redundant items of hard landscaping and soft landscaping from the site .
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  • If access to the area permits, erect the boundaries (walls, fences or hedges). If your garden is very exposed, then Hortifence Windbreak will provide 58% shade and wind reduction instead of using either a solid fence or a wall. Remember to put up anti-rabbit fencing if required.
  • Excavate and lay base materials of paths, steps, patios and ground floors of garages, greenhouses, sheds or summerhouses.
  • Lay main electrical cables/irrigation water pipes along paths to junctions for beds, buildings etc.


This could be described as a dangerous way of connecting to an electrical supply.

Build each of the buildings such as garage, greenhouse, shed or summerhouse. You can use Porcupipe device which is designed to keep virtually any water gutter system clear and free from all kinds of debris including moss and leaves.



Perhaps this is not the safest support system for scaffolding.

Build rock gardens, ponds (See Case 8 Creation of Pond), patios, pergolas, trellis --- The Gripple System with wire and 100mm vine-eyes with 35x8 Screw Eyes at the ends top and bottom of system is the fastest way to trellis fruit and vines or use Green Wall Wire Trellis Kits to do the same job ---, or frames.


Do remember to check that Page 1 joins up in the correct place to Page 2 of your construction plan, before starting.

Complete the patios, steps and finally the paths.


Remember to either build the tunnel at the same time or put up signs that this road goes nowhere.


Soft Landscaping: Soil Conditioning

Before starting the planting, the soil must be conditioned. It is unlikely you will ever again have such a good opportunity to tackle a whole bed, and be able to make use of bulk deliveries of compost, if you have insufficient of your own. Spot treatments later on as you add plants will help, but if everything goes into a well prepared bed, it is more likely to thrive. Chemical fertilisers are no substitute for material which actually improves the structure of the growing medium. It’s a bit like taking vitamin tablets in substitution for eating fresh fruit and vegetables.

To convert a sand, silt or clay soil to a loam in order to provide the best condition for growing plants, together with improving its water-retentive properties, organic matter must be added to the soil (See Soil Texture), together with sand to a clay only soil or clay to a sand only soil.

After clearing the area of all perennial weeds and large stones, one of the following should be done.

  • In the ideal world, double dig the area with organic matter (garden compost, well-rotted farmyard manure, straw, hops, leaf mould or spent mushroom compost) which should be added at both levels of digging, in the autumn, (unfortunately, double digging is a very time-consuming procedure, so if you are paying someone, it will be expensive), or a more realistic option is to rotavate the area. Spread 10cm (4in) thick layer of organic matter and rotavate that in.
  • If time and money are very limited, then mulch the area with a 10cm (4in) thick layer of organic matter. Leave the ground to settle. If the manure is not well rotted, it is important to give it time to neutralise, or any plant you insert into it will get damaged. It takes about a month.


Plant the plants in the following order:-

Trees with their 0.61m (2ft) high stakes and ties,
Bulbs, and last


All plants need water to get established and so the designed submerged irrigation system is likely to be a worthwhile investment. Properly done, it means using water effectively, and not wasting it on bare earth or losing it by evaporation. Sprinklers and sprays are inefficient, and hoses or cans are hard work. If the ground is swampy or a bog then use Aquadyne to drain it for you before planting (example below).


Grateful when it rains, but there is too much air-conditioning.



Lay the irrigation system round the plants and place a 10cm (4in) thick mulch of Spent Mushroom Compost for Alkaline Soils (Chalk Soil) or Cow Manure for acidic soils on top, before watering the plants in.


Whilst this is about Cricket pitches, the benefits of Aquadyne are equally applicable to any surface that is prone to waterlogging:-


Livingston Cricket Club is bowled over by the Romans

 Cricketers playing at the Dresselrigg ground near Edinburgh no longer have to pack their wellies before taking to the field thanks to a revolutionary drainage system that can trace its roots back to the Roman occupation of Britain



The Aquadyne drainage system, installed at the Livingstone Cricket Club ground five years ago, has been designed to match a ground drying system found on a Yorkshire farm that was put down by the Romans.

Aquadyne’s James Arrowsmith explains: “The farmer and researchers from Newcastle University identified that the Romans had laid blackthorn briars in a trench and, to this day, it removes excess water by a wick and open cavity system.  The water trickles down along the surfaces of the ancientaquadyne3 briars without ever becoming clogged by sand and stones. 


“It was this discovery that led to the creation of Aquadyne.  It is produced from any plastic –  shopping bags and bread trays to flower pots and silage wrappers - and different types of plastic can be mixed together.   The Aquadyne panels sit just a few inches below the surface and the water trickles down through the cavities and, just like the Roman prototype, it never becomes clogged with sand or stone.”

Jim Wilson, the Head Groundsman at Livingstone Cricket Club, heard about the product and decided to use it to drain the outfield at the Dresselrigg ground.

“It was simple to install.  We used 3000 linear metres and didn’t damage the surface of the outfield.  Since it has been in place the ground has been transformed.  Regardless of what the weather throws at us, our ground dries out quickly, without surface cracking.  We are absolutely delighted with the result – in fact the ground has got better and better over the five years that it has been installed”.

aquadyne4The environment also benefits from this product because the panels are made from 100% post use recycled plastics which means that up to 2 tonnes of greenhouse gases are saved for every 200 panels produced.

Soccer and rugby pitches have also benefited from this unique drainage system and it is used extensively in golf clubs in the UK and the United States.

Individual panels measure 220mm x 45mm x 1 metre and have a proven flow rate of 18,000 millimetres of water per hour.  It can be quickly and easily installed without massive interference to the playing surface of sports pitches.





Glossary for Page

Trellis A latticework structure designed to support climbing plants.

Leaf mould Fibrous, flaky material derived from decomposed leaves, used as an ingredient in potting media and as a soil improver.

Mulch A material applied in a layer to the soil surface to suppress weeds, conserve moisture, and maintain a preferably cool even root temperature. In addition to organic materials such as manure, bark, and garden compost, polythene, foil and gravel may also be used (see also Floating Cloche)


Site design and content copyright ©December 2006. Page structure amended October 2012. Chris Garnons-Williams.

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