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3. Sometimes, Its who you know

Updated: Apr 30, 2023


As Autumn 2021 rolled in we were looking at an empty site, ground and weeds had been striped and everything under ground was complete.


It was time to start adding the key features.


We always wanted a big feature for the site. The boulders were great but it needed something else.

Everything just seemed a little too open now, even with the mounds in place.



From day one we loved the idea of a large raised wooden boardwalk leading you to the cabin and had been scouring the web for inspiration, sleepers were to be the way forward as we thought the chunky look would really complement the boulders and the finer cabin cladding.


The reality of the project at this point was that we were getting lost slightly within the site and where to start, especially now, since it had been completely cleared.

We knew what we wanted and had started laying out where to put structural trees, main features/facilities and had a plan for the decking / bath area around the cabin, however.....

The scale of everything became a bit daunting. There were now sketches and even more bits of paper floating around than ever... how do we bring it all together? ........well, sometimes, its who you know……


We are very fortunate that my (Stuart) sister also likes to create, also green fingered and to add to this, a super talented interior come landscape designer.

Mairie Anne of studioMam, put our ideas on paper (professionally) and came up with a beautiful planting scheme to compliment the look and structures we had planned.



To have a complete concept drawing, to scale, was a game changer.

Sometimes when you are in the space it is so hard to see the bigger picture. StudioMam took this problem away and showed us how to tie the different sections together, beautifully. Big thanks to Marie Anne!

With the drawings and planting scheme we could do so much prep and planning away from site, get the planting bought early and grow it on ourselves, another major cost saving.

The biggest relief was now seeing our design and ideas were going to work.



Having a proper plan to work to also made the tasks feel more manageable, especially, as mentioned, the work/building was going to be completed by ourselves.


With some clear direction It was now time for the landscaping to really begin.

As mentioned in the previous blog. Ewan and his team had moved the large amounts of excess soil to make 'mounds' prior to clearing the site. The mounds were placed to give the cabin a sort of hug and add more interest. It looked really nice.


The boardwalk build became the next big task.

Moving the sleepers alone was a big enough challenge, also marking it all out took so much longer than I had planned. Really could have been done with an extra pair of hands but we soldiered on.

We wanted the boardwalk to run parallel to the cabin..... Not so easy without the cabin in place.

Eventually, everything was marked out, posts installed and then finally, sleepers cut and placed to make the feature.

Nothing was finalised or screwed together in case something had to be moved for the cabin install, but it looked good and started to break up the site as we had visioned.

The weeks went by, the weather got worse and very wet, Which really made things awkward. We spent weeks slugging through dubs and fighting with wheelbarrows.... but we had to press on if we were to be ready.



Once again, partly due to cost saving but also as we enjoy the process and DIY aspect, we carried out all the hard landscaping from this point on by ourselves.


Even the kids have been involved and they loved it too.

We've had breakfast, lunch and dinner around the site on many occasion and worked through the seasons, each one bringing challenges but also so much satisfaction.


The above picture was taken before the drystone wall was moved and thats the wheelbarrow that moved tonnes of it.


We have made so many memories out of nothing, just working with the land.

A great experience for us but second to none life skills for the kids. Our 4year old son now knows the benefits of getting your hands dirty and trying things for yourself!!

Our 2 year old daughter just loves getting her hands dirty, full stop.

Their poor little wheel barrow was worn out…..we had to upgrade.



This is the point where I want to push my sisters business again. Please check her out. Marie Anne Messenger of StudioMam. Having her expert eye come up with a planting scheme has tied everything together, its a working progress but it is already looking great and we are adding planting all the time to achieve a look similar to her scheme. Thanks again sis!



Time now to finish the cabin area…..



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