How does your garden grow? My new dining room…

Last week I showed you some plans for the garden and how we needed to move the caravan into a new position to make the design work. Well, the eagle-eyed of you will have spotted a patio area on those plans and that’s exactly what we’ve done – oh boy, was it a lot of work! First we measured out the space according to the number of patio slabs we had then set to work digging!

Hubby had already bought the slabs a year ago when someone was selling their old patio locally on Gumtree. The slabs were used but still in good condition and it meant that we could measure the patio to fit the slabs, rather than the other way around. I also liked the fact that the patio would look weathered as soon as it was laid rather than taking months to blend into the garden. We needed to dig out the top of the sloping garden so that the patio would sit flush with the concrete path around the house, and we used this excess soil to fill in the bottom of the slope so that it would all sit at the same level. Hubby actually built a retaining ‘wall’ using pressure-treated timber so that we could back-fill against it. He actually built it as a long planter and any of the spare topsoil we had left over from digging went into it = retaining wall, compost bin and potential herb garden in one!

From there, we laid weed-proof membrane and levelled the ground even more with a ton of sand on top. We spent ages pushing a plank back and forth to pat the sand flat and get the levels right. I took a brief break to make some lunch and by the time it was ready, hubby had already laid all of the patio slabs! Mr Muscle or what?! I couldn’t believe how quickly it went down. Okay, it know it had taken hours of preparation to get to that point, but it was very satisfying that I could see the result so quickly. We actually moved our garden bench onto the patio that very day and ate our dinner outside! Now all I need is a set of patio doors so that I can step straight out onto the patio and really use it as part of the house as an indoor/outdoor dining area!

Because we’d built the patio up it was now sitting at a higher level than the rest of the garden, so hubby added two steps which we filled with gravel. We now have a patio ‘terrace’ and it’s a lovely sun-trap. My cats Cookie & Muffin certainly like the way that the slabs retain the warmth of the sun anyway! I’m looking forward to eating al fresco more often now that we have a useable outside space – we just need to find a cheap or second-hand garden table now so please let me know if you hear of one 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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