Sarah's one off labour of love with railway sleepers

Extracts from Sarah's piece: 'Welly Loves.... My Cumbrian Garden Project'.

We started this huge folly back in October last year (why choose nice summer days for such a grim task?).  Determined as we were to achieve a beautiful back garden complete with raised beds, new patio and decorative gravel in time for summer 2017… all without any outside help.  Why you ask?  Well, mainly because the quotes we had got in were ridiculously pricey and besides Mr Welly aka DIY expert was on a one-man mission to prove ‘we could do it ourselves’

The outcome was a long project involving sheer brute strength and endless weekends filled with back-breaking work and the odd migraine thrown in to boot (my affliction). We started by digging up the old patio which quite frankly was an horrific task because most of it was raised over a huge mound of hardcore (ladies take note – not just a particularly insistent form of dance music from the 1990’s…).

We had to dig into said hardcore which definitely burned more calories than any illegal night’s raving.  Left with huge piles of paving stone slabs, concrete and rubble there was now the huge task of getting rid of it all.  We saved some of it for drainage at the bottom of our planned raised beds and the rest we managed to palm off on a friend who just happened to be building a private road.

Whoever would have thought that the next step would be equally as traumatic.  Raking out the existing driveway stones from our souless wind-tunnel of a back garden and then, wait for it, lifting every single raised bed railway sleeper from where they had kindly been dumped (“sorry love, can’t get it up yer drive”) at the front of the house, was a mighty task.
Remembering the mantra to lift from the quads and not the back, at least I was set to have the body of an athlete by the end of this long-suffering dalliance with DIY.  Fitting the raised beds was relatively easy in the grand scheme of things… that is, once the wood was in place, level and screwed together; not before a large dose of bickering between the two of us – “it’s not straight!”, “you’re leaning on it!”,  “get it level”,  ” I can’t f***ing hold it you w***er” and other such pleasantries…

With the raised beds in situ and three tons of hardcore delivered and laid (as easy as that…  didn’t want to bore you with more arduous details), Mr Welly suddenly announced the need for a Whacker.  This foreign world of outdoor labour just became utterly incomprehensible but given that perhaps this word had been invented by a one-dimensional human of the male of the species, it didn’t take long for me to work out that it basically involved hiring a huge metal machine which simply bashed (or ‘whacked’ to coin a phrase) the hardcore into place.

So was it worth all the effort?  Most definitely.  Would I do it again?  Most definitely NOT.  I won’t be swapping careers anytime soon and now appreciate my sedentary desk-based job thankyou… but if the sun is shining I’m more than happy to take my laptop outside and finish writing in my gorgeous new garden. 😊

Sarah Edwards
Editor, Wellies & Wine,

New eco-friendly British Pine Railway sleepers Says..

Thanks for the amusing commentary and wonderful photos of your railway sleeper raised bed project. It seems an all too familiar story that many of our most memorable achievements and crazy adventures are those which we would never wish to repeat! Thankfully, long after your bruises, aches and marital disharmony have subsided, your beautiful garden oasis is a stunning reminder of your landscaping heroics!