Garden room

Way back in March we ordered a new posh shed – what the sellers all insist in calling summerhouses, and so began a four month long nightmare before the delivery (due to the pandemic). Then when it was delivered several of the parts were wrong, we were putting it together ourselves as we had done one before in the old garden and had no problem doing it. Irate phone calls led to new parts being delivered a week later – still the wrong parts!! Then exactly the same thing happened the following week, I think it’s fair to say I was fuming. So we demanded our money back – and got it. The only trouble with that was we had to start the whole thing again, but this time we chose a local company – not one in distant Cambridge, and they were going to erect it for us. Great, but the trouble was we had to be even more patient as – you guessed it – due to the pandemic the factory/woodmills had locked down. The upshot was that we had to wait until October before taking delivery of our posh new shed, which we’re calling a garden room. It reminds me of a wee Victorian shop, like something out of Cranford. We’re happy with it anyway, it fulfills two functions, blocks off a view of the spa tub next door and stores some things I didn’t want to get rid of and didn’t want to stick in the garage.

New Summerhouse/shed

This area of the garden is very much a work in progress – as all gardens always are I suppose. I’m getting rid of the grass here and extending the gravel area. That will still leave plenty of grass for the birds to mooch around on in the rest of the garden, but will make the grass cutting job less onerous for Jack, he hates doing it.
New Summerhouse/shed

I’ll have fun sorting the wee garden room out internally. If you’ve been reading ‘Pining’ for years then you might remember that when we moved to our present house we bought a summerhouse/shed, mainly because there had been one in the situation before and we couldn’t budge the concrete blocks that had been cemented in as a foundation, the previous people took their summerhouse with them. The photo below is from July 2014.

summerhouse (gazebo)

That summerhouse was a disappointment almost from day one as it leaked and leaked, despite having two layers of roofing felt on it. We had intended sorting it out once and for all over this summer but it rained and rained in June, July, August …. well it’s eaier to say that it was only in May that we had decent weather this year. But we did manage to get a damp proof membrane on the roof of that one followed by heavy grade roofing felt, no nails involved, only stapled edges and glue. Fingers crossed the wind doesn’t do its worst! I do think it’s crazy banging nails in roofs, having said that as you can see there are loads in the new garden room roof, but so far all seems to be well with it. I’m going to use the old summerhouse/posh shed as a sort of potting shed and for overwintering some not so hardy plants. It gets plenty of light and heats up quickly when the sun does come out, so it can double up as a greenhouse for germinating seeds, well that’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

You can see what the old one looked like inside here when we first got it, it’s needing some TLC internally now, that’ll be the next thing to tackle. I had to take the books out as I didn’t want them to get damp.

Garden – before and after

A wee while ago someone asked me for some before and after photos of my garden, we moved to our new place in 2014 and the garden was just a sea of very weedy grass. There’s an awful lot less grass now, but what is left is still pretty weedy. I’m still cutting into the turf to gain planting space though, I’m a bit of a plantaholic I suppose. The photos are all of the area where we situated the summerhouse, mainly because the previous owners of the house took their summerhouse with them and we couldn’t shift the concrete blocks that they had used as a base.

Here you go then, that area of the garden from 2014 when we moved in, to 2017.

New Garden

And a few months later

summerhouse (gazebo)

March 2016
my garden

August 2017
garden path

July 2015
garden Summer house

July 2016

garden 3

Sadly although the summerhouse (posh garden shed) looks nice it has turned out not to be fit for purpose. I had intended to keep lots of my books in there and did have three bookcases full of them in it. Then I realised that during the winter the glass was full of condensation – not good for books. I had to run out there and fill my clothes basket with the books – several trips, and find space in the house for them.

It’s particularly annoying because the summerhouse in the old house was just a cheap one from B&Q and I had no trouble at all with it. This new one cost more than double the previous one, so it just shows you that the most expensive is not always the best!

Summerhouse/shed – progress

The summerhouse/shed has been an ongoing project for a while now as you can see in the photo below I still had some painting to finish.

summer house b

The colour of the paint is not at all what it was supposed to be, I wanted something more greenish and less shiny but it’s blueish and I’m getting used to it. The garden fence which you can see has since been woodstained.

summer house c1

All of the fence which you can see in the above photo has been painted now too and as you can see although it’s now autumn there’s still quite a lot of colour in the garden.

summer house c2

I’ve just dumped some books and stuff in there, between the bookcases there is a sewing table/desk underneath the covers and I intend to put my old hand cranked sewing machine on that, you can just see its case, it was obviously originally owned by someone in the RAF.

summerhouse c3

After all the painting of the summerhouse and the fence I was in dire need of going anywhere away from the smell of paint. A trip to St Andrews fitted the bill nicely and as you can see it was a beautiful day. We walked down to the beach where there were actually a few hardy souls wild swimming and I took this photo from there looking over the harbour to the town on the far side. It was a gorgeous sparkling autumnal day and actually quite warm, about 60 F or more.

St Andrews harbour 3

As usual we went to the secondhand bookshop and amazingly I didn’t buy any books, but Jack bought two; Ringan Gilhaize by John Galt and Wish I Was Here by Jackie Kay.

Cladding the Summerhouse

summerhouse (gazebo)

A couple of weeks ago we started banging tongue and groove cladding onto the back walls of the summerhouse, we did the same in our old summerhouse too and we just wanted to replicate it as we really liked the effect.

summer house in progress 1

It’s a work in progress as you can see, in fact we’ve come to a standstill on that DIY project because we had torrential rain and it leaked a bit around the windows. So Jack had to get sealant to sort out that problem before we could finish the whole thing.

summer house in progress 2

So this is as far as we’ve got, we still have to do the smaller bits around the windows and doors, but we’ve been waiting in vain for rain since then, we want to make sure there are no more leaks. I know it’s hardly believable, but we haven’t had rain for probably almost two weeks, apart the odd spit and spot.

summer house in progress 3

Obviously we have to put some wooden edging over the rough edges to neaten it all up. Then I plan to paint it with one of those coloured wood washes which allow the grain of the wood to show through. The old summerhouse was painted like that in a sort of soft eau de nil colour which looked really nice and I think I’ll try to get a similar shade for this one. I’m a creature of habit – or boring, take your pick!

Anyway, the rain came this afternoon, torrential rain which was entirely my fault as I had just mentioned to a friend that we hadn’t had any rain for ages and it was great to get the washing dry in no time. Mentioning a lack of rain always seems to be fatal, someone up there was listening and decided to rectify things!

The summerhouse seems to be standing up well to the downpour so it looks like we will be able to finish that project soon. My priorities are completely different from most peoples’ I think as planning the garden has been much more important to me than doing anything in the house.