When we arrived in March 1982 the garden had a 6 ft fence on one side and shade from large trees on two neighbouring sides. The ground was hard due to clay soil and was neutral to slightly acid, even though we back onto Walsall Arboretum with its lake that was once a lime pit.
Some of the York stone paths were broken up and distorted by tree roots. A number of York stone rocks were completely submerged in soil.
In the upper garden
there were many large, quite rapid growing, dark green conifers and the large Picea conifers in the centre of this photo were losing their needles because of red spider mite. The lawn was square and shaded and had a low, decorative wall on its nearest side to the house.
We removed the trees and decorative wall, extended the paving and curved the lawn edges.
This area is now semi-formal and the lawn provides a great social space. Acers, conifers and evergreen shrubs provide a backdrop for azaleas in spring and begonias in containers in summer. In autumn the acer leaves provide a stunning display of colours.