The Rockery

In July we started to do some serious work on the whole site. We needed to return it to its former state - following a dispute with a local farmer. The driveway, the patio, paths and slabbed areas, the ornamental gravels around the house, and large parts of the grassed areas of the garden - all needed to be restored to their former good state!

But before work began on all this, we decided to tackle a somewhat neglected area of the garden - the rockery. This lies in front of the bedroom 'wing' of the house, and was originally designed in two parts with stepping stones along the back, and steps down between the two parts of the rockery. Originally it had been defined by log borders, and had been planted with heathers and also some trees. Over the years the heathers and other hardy ground-cover plants had spread into a huge tangle, and the trees had grown too big for the location, and were blocking the light into the house, as well as overhanging the main path to the front door. The stepping stones too had been lost in the over-growth of the undergrowth!

So we asked out garden maintenance team, John and Ricky to asses the project, and give us their ideas. And then they started work.

Here is a shot of the 'before'  and beside it is the start of the work. The first stage was to remove all the unwanted plants, old tree roots, and everything that was hiding the 'bare bones' of the original design elements.

Next they had to lift all the rocks and stepping stones, so that they could re-lay them with good weed-suppressing material, and start to re-lay everything ....... and part way through the work we decided to remove the fir tree from the far end - as it blocks all the views of the garden from the front door .....

the basics are left in place here and then we asked them to remove the fir tree from the front door. The root takes some lifting!

And we decided to keep some of the tree trunk, as it shows our life here, we plan to get it polished, and it is 'our life in tree rings' And the new weed suppressing layer is laid, and cut-outs made for the stepping stones and steps.
Then the blue chips are laid and the new rockery takes shape.

And they start to place curb stone edging round part of the rockery to give it definition. We like the idea, and think it
might be a great idea to extend to other areas of the driveway and paved areas too.
So now it is nearly complete, only the area close to the house remains to be covered in the blue stones.
and it all looks completely transformed!
One unforeseen outcome has been that the local cats took to the rockery with great delight, and used it as an enormous cat-litter tray!  Hey ho! Life is never simple! 

So we searched online and found a range of cat/dog/animal scaring devices. We decided on one called PestBye.

It uses 4 x AA batteries, and has a simple spike to stick in the ground. There are 2 sensors to set, and we chose settings recommended in reviews on Amazon UK. They have an 80 degree wide range, and about a 40ft reach. They work by emitting a high frequency sound that the animals can hear but we can't. And when activated there is a slight clicking sound and a blue light, that tell us that they ARE working, and also alert us to when the batteries need to be changed.

Happily, since we placed two strategically to more or less cover the rockery, we have had no more votive offerings from the local cats!

We have developed the habit of 'walking the range' every few days to check that they are working (we have more now - see the driveway page) and to reassure ourselves that the new work done on the site is not being despoiled by the local dogs or cats!

On to the driveway

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Mike and Elisabeth Liddell 2006-13

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