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Improving the terrace

In summer and autumn 2020 our gazebo sat on the terrace just outside the conservatory doors and was a great success, astonishingly. But it covered several, admittedly rather poor quality, flower beds, so a month or two ago we decided it was time to plan some improvements to boost the overall quality of the area.

There were plenty of ideas floating around but eventually we decided to turn some of the flower beds into hard standing using bricks. Without the gazebo these will be perfect for pots, that we hope will be burgeoning with blooms from March onwards – fingers and toes crossed!

This is stage one – a quick drawing and list on a piece of scrap paper.

The terrace looked pretty drab in late January as you can see below so we decided to lay bricks over the area where the bench stands. This includes removing the old tree trunk and the ‘pond in a bowl’, and only keeping plants that climb up the fence.

The first stage was clearing the soil and moving the pond.

Then we brought bricks from the allotment that had been used as paths (now replaced by chippings between rows).

And here are some of the bricks in a pile waiting to be used.

The process of laying the bricks looks like this – below. It is tricky to make sure that the surface is aligned with the existing paving and that it is level and relatively smooth.

It doesn’t take too long to build up the area of hard standing.

And brushing in earth between the bricks is astonishingly effective.

The photo below is the other side of the terrace before any improvements were made.

And here it is with the bricks laid and a space for one of the paving slabs that we found at the other end of the garden.

The slabs are propped up waiting for Jim to move them into position – they are too heavy for me to handle.

One slab is in place below – getting the earth totally level and settled before it goes down is half the battle. I stood on it and rocked the corners – some slack so Jim had to lift the slab for me to add more earth underneath.

And in the picture below it is finished.

And the next photo shows the same on the other side of the terrace, where the bricks and new paving slab are level enough for the seat to stand on them without wobbling – a pretty basic requirement but often harder to achieve than you’d expect!  

Below is the same patch after rearrangement of pots etc to make it all look as nice as possible.

On the other side of the terrace there are more pots – which will look lovely when they are in flower and the wintry looking strawberries are producing fruit (we hope).

Last but not least the ‘pond in a bowl’ is looking better in its new location than it ever did in its old position so I am looking forward to an abundance of aquatic creatures sometime.

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