sand garden sand

Sand Garden

A garden made of sand? In this village near Cardigan, the land is almost entirely sand as a result of a huge glacier that once covered the area. Read on to see how Landworks is making a garden from sand….

sand garden 1 cardigan ceredigion

Inaccessible and awkward to use

This retaining wall is only two metres from the wall of the house. The entire garden needed to be taken further back to give it some perspective and stop the wall dominating the view from the windows.

Sand Garden Cardigan 2

The start

First, the wall came down and we began digging. All the sand had to be removed via a 1m wide passageway at the side of the house to be taken off site.

sand garden 3 cardigan

Starting to shape the garden

Next, we began terracing. What little topsoil there was we put aside to use later.

sand garden cardigan 4

Retaining

We use whole solid larch sleepers to retain the upper wall of sand. The wall is slightly curved, to add movement and interest to the garden.

Sand Garden 5 Cardigan

Greenhouse area

Shallow steps give an inviting access to this corner, which is now ready for a greenhouse. We moved around 75 tons of sand, one barrow at a time, to build this area. Phase 1 complete! Phase 2 coming soon….

Wildflower meadow aberporth 2

Wildflower meadow

Wildflower meadow aberporth

Daisies, corncockles and acid red poppies in a wildflower meadow seeded last autumn. We used local topsoil to sculpt the land into flowing shapes around our larch steps, and planted with native wildflowers. Our West Wales rain and then a stunning warm Spring have done the rest!

Steps start

 

The project began with steps to get from the house to the field above. Sturdy reclaimed telegraph poles give a firm structure for these steps.

Meadow before seeding

Topsoil shaped into banks and mounds add interest to the basic shape of the area

landworks-seeded-meadow-aberporth

The first green shoots emerged in March

Wildflowers Aberporth

By the end of May the meadow is humming with bees and butterflies. This sunny spot is perfect for a meadow, and next year the perennials will start to flower – cornflower, scabious, vetch, birds-foot trefoil and meadow cranesbill. The larch steps are beginning to weather in the sun, and the soft grey-silver colour is just right as a backdrop for the bright flowers.

Firepit and lawn

firepit and lawn finished

This garden was started back in muddy March, and a very soggy business it was too! Our blog back in March shows us sliding about in mud as we try to make the firepit.

Firepit pointing

Several days of heavy rain turned this compacted ground into a morass, but we were able to complete the firepit.

firepit ceredigion

First test for the completed firepit – the ventilation holes work perfectly and the fire draws well. This was just as well as we had a lot of brash to burn in it after we had cleared all the undergrowth from this area.

 

Rotavating in Ceredigion

The soil here is excellent but it was very wet and compacted, so we rotavated several tons of coarse sand in to help with drainage. The word ‘rotavator’, incidentally, is an abbreviation of the words ‘rotary cultivator‘, and is one of the longest single word palindromes in the English language.

Boardwalk ceredigion

The garden also features a boardwalk which leads through a damp area to a gate giving access down to Cwm Tydu beach. Wood would rot quickly in these damp, shaded conditions, so we made the frame from Kedel plastic wood and the boards are Millboard resin ‘weathered oak’. Each board is cast from a genuine piece of oak, and the end result is impressively realistic.

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Everything is ready now for the first barbecue of the year!

Larch arch

Display garden finished!

We’ve designed and built a display garden for Robert Eynon timberyard, building some unique garden features to show off the timber they sell. These wobbly hardwood posts make a wonderfully effective post and rail fence.

display garden beulah 1

This hand-cut larch arch gives a good view of the curved cedar arch set against sleeper walls clad with Douglas fir.

Display arches

 

This curved oak decking works well with larch half sleepers arranged as a windbreak fence.

oak decking

This hand-carved, painted arch is an elegant contrast to the weathered elm sleepers forming a stepping stone path through the garden.

 

display archesQuite a contrast to how it looked before we started!

Disply garden before Beulah

If you’d like to see the garden for yourself, go to Robert Eynon timberyard in Beulah. Make sure you leave time to browse around the lovely timber they have for sale!

Penbryn beach

After the freeze

snowdrops

snowdrops

The ice has receded, the snow has melted and there have been a lot of casualties in the gardens of West Wales. Prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperatures has proved too much for many cultivated garden favourites, but the natives and wildflowers seem untouched. Primroses, snowdrops and daffodils are thriving. Just one more example of why it is wise to garden with nature, rather than against it….

Primroses

Primroses