In 2014/15 I became seriously ill and I spent the whole of 2015 in hospital. This experience left me disabled using a wheelchair and stairlift etc.
Since I became diagnosed I could not get into my garden as it was terraced. I used to be a very keen traveller and I worked abroad as a teacher. I love plants and growing your own food. I even used to keep chickens. Being in hospital for over a year it dawned on me that life will be quite different moving forward. Whilst in rehabilitation learning to walk and talk again I thought I would return to teaching so I completed my Master’s degree.
Still thinking of gardening I started to plan a small garden. Time progressed and I had started a PhD just to have something to focus on. Then I attended a speech and language therapist who asked me what I wanted from the sessions. I said I would love to return to teaching and casually she said “well that won’t happen”, that devastated me for a long time. Then I acquired pneumonia again for the third time in November 2019. It hit me quite badly and it took a long time to recuperate. I was housebound for three months and just as I was about to get out and about covid-19 appeared on the scene. As I’m classed as extremely vulnerable and in the high risk group I was required to shield. This would of driven me stir crazy if I did not have the disposition that I have.
I started to think about my garden and designing myself a shed/greenhouse that were joined. I could not find any that I liked that were within my budget.
I had several builders to give me quotes and some were ridiculous and only one builder suggested that it would be cheaper to raise it instead of excavating it due to the access.
I thought about it and I researched equipment to enable me to have access. I found that it was possible.
The builders were very good to start with but the main builders went missing for days at a time. A seven day job soon turned into 7 weeks. But as I was shielding this was not a great problem. The individual contractors for rendering and electrical work were great I have to say.
My raised beds went up in no time.
A local man we knew built sheds and I asked him if my design was possible and he said yes. When that day came it went up in a day and a half.
I tried to stay in budget but I needed a stairlift and balustrades. Luckily I found a stairlift on market place for quite a bargain.
In total I was 50% over budget at £15,000 but I funded the whole project myself.
I’m extremely pleased with my garden, so much so that I have just started the front garden project. Currently there is only a square lawn surrounded by a small wall which stops me from getting into it. I plan to have raised beds around the perimeter made with sleepers and I’ve calculated that I need 7 tons of soil and compost. I have a handyman that used to be my ex pupil who has agreed to do it for me. I’ve already started the seed planting and propagation from trees and bushes.
The only thing I would change about this project is that I would have electricity and lighting installed at the beginning. Water taps would be closer to the shed/greenhouse too but overall I’m thrilled with my garden which is now useable and rewarding space. My photos below show the project stage by stage