K's Garden

Building a large garden on a budget

Centre Court Sunday 30 December 2012


Centre Court is the site of an old tennis court, and is the main vista from the house (which is why we took it out – we thought it looked dreadful right in the main line of view).

This is how it looked when we first moved in:

Centre Court - 2006

to the Left we have made an Herbaceous Border (now themed “Hot and Red”), and to the right the Shrubbery

March 2009

Centre Court - Mar 2009

In 2009 the tennis court was still there, but we had taken the post-and-rail fence out and made a start on the Herbaceous and Shrub borders.

In early Winter 2009 we built a Barn and I needed some aggregate for the base, so the Centre Court project started!

Centre Court - Dec 2009 - Part of tennis court lifted

Part of the tennis court was used as hardcore for the base of the Barn Project. It looked a right mess that Winter …

March 2010

Centre Court - Mar 2010

During 2010 the remainder of the court was still there, and the piles of top soil from the footings for the Barn

Centre Court - Oct 2010

and it wasn’t until October 2010 that we managed to make a start – with the annual Boy’s Toys hire of a JCB

Centre Court - Oct 2010

However, the lawn was not as rock-solid as it would have been in mid-Summer, so we decided not to run across it and churn it up, but rather to just strip the aggregate off to let some air into the clay – which stank! as it had not seen the light of day for many years – and let the Winter and Frost into the soil. Good timing – we had prolonged periods with lows hitting -10C during December 2010.

Centre Court - Nov 2010 - Left for the Winter

But the view down the garden was a bit of an eyesore that Winter

April 2011

Centre Court - Apr 2011 - Farmer harrowed the soil

In Spring 2011 the local Farmer pulled a chisel plough through it to get some air down into the soil, and improve the drainage.

Centre Court - Apr 2011 - Some work to be done this year!

Looked a bit tidier, but the mountains of aggregate didn’t look all that smart!

Centre Court - Jun 2011 - Felled tree to clear the view

I decided to fell the centre tree so we could see what the view down Cetre Court and the Long Walk beyond would look like from the upstairs windows.

Centre Court - Jul 2011 - At work with a JCB

In June I hired a digger and moved all the aggregate to a better long-term storage location, and spread the top soil (from the Barn footings) back to make a seedbed for grass,a nd I also dug some “big holes” for topiary Yew and filled them with rotted manure and good soil.

Centre Court - Jul 2011 - JCB work completed

I also took the opportunity to move some manure to here as it was less distance to, then, barrow it onto the borders either side

Centre Court - Sep 2011 - looking a mess!

and then all the seeds that blew in, mostly Rape off the surrounding fields, germinated!

The tennis court’s surround-netting was sold on eBay to someone who wanted “really tall netting to stop the fox getting his chickens”

October 2011

I sprayed the weeds with Roundup, and then rotavated then in October to prepare for grass seed (a bit late, but we were blessed with a hot, late, perfect Autumn)

Centre Court - Oct 2011

I bought 16 x 8-foot Yews in the Autumn sales, and am rather taken with the way that Mount Stewart, in Northern Ireland, have clipped their topiary Cupressus into what looks like an aqueduct

Centre Court Concept - an Arch "Aqueduct" like Mount Stewart in Ireland

we stood the Yews in position to see how they would look.

Centre Court - Oct 2011 - Topiary Yews in position

Unfortunately not enough top soil so we can’t finish the middle part. I’m waiting on a job that the local digger-man has to do which will provide me with the remaining topsoil. Typical! that won’t be until the weather has turned really bad, and too late for sowing grass this Autumn …

Centre Court - Oct 2011 - Prepare for grass seed

Preparation for grass sowing. I tend to use a ladder, with some bricks on it to add weight, and ropes around the end rungs, to drag the area flat, but I also stuck some breeze-blocks on an old mower to compact the soil to make a seed bed.

Centre Court - Oct 2011

Now the Yews are planted it gives a sense of how the vista through Centre Court and down the Long Walk will look. The grass seed was sown

Centre Court - Nov 2011 - Grass germinated

Two weeks later and the grass has germinated (but only on the areas where there was enough top soil)

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4 Responses to “Centre Court”

  1. Marley Says:

    Fantastic progress..!!

  2. Ziggy Says:

    Blimey Kristen

  3. I am realy looking forward to seeing how this looks when the yews are trained, love the idea.

  4. Robin Says:

    everything looks amazing,well done

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