Almost 10 years ago, we redesigned our back garden – installing a large wooden cabin, housing a hot tub and replacing the boggy grass with pebbles. At the time, neither of us had any interest in maintaining a garden, nor did we have any children or dogs. As is common with new builds, the garden was heavily compacted, and the clay soil below further hampered drainage. The garden is also north-facing, and our 3-storey house and a row of large silver birch trees means it’s almost permanently in shade – all these factors combined make real grass a huge challenge to grow and maintain.
As soon as children came along, the garden started to become used more often – a trampoline was added, a slide and the usual assortment garden toys. However, no matter how good decking looks in summer, after any rain it quickly becomes like an ice-rink. Together with pebbles not being especially pleasant to walk on in bare feet, the time has come to make it more of a garden.
‘Real’ grass still isn’t feasible – the cost of ‘fixing’ the drainage would be extortionate, and with (rather energetic!) dogs, it would likely be dug up in no time anyway. But, we still want to introduce more greenery into the garden. Artificial Grass is the obvious solution, and has the benefit of requiring no maintenance, fairly quick to dry and no mud for the dogs to bring into the house!
We have already removed the decking closest to the house and replaced with brick pavers, with a brick path added to one side. The top of the garden, currently home to the soon-to-be demolished 5.5m x 3.5m cabin, will be fenced off to create a ‘dog free’ zone – as much as they enjoy bouncing on the trampoline, Sam isn’t quite so keen on sharing it with them! So this area will become a ‘secret’ garden and home to the trampoline – and eventually a shed for the inevitable bikes, scooters, hula-hoops and whatever else the children decide they ‘must have’ this summer.
That leaves us with a reasonably large area in the middle of the garden for artificial grass – the best position for the 2 hours of sun our garden occasionally gets, and a large enough space for the dogs to run around, or for us to sit and relax.
Ideally, we’d like to introduce some ‘real’ planting too – perhaps some hedging to soften the ‘secret garden’ fence, some climbers on the side fences etc – but planting anything and expecting the dogs not to dig it back up will be a challenge!
We are busy saving for artificial grass now – hopefully we will be able to get it down by the end of the Summer. Have you got any experience of it? I’d love to know how it’s worked out in your garden.