Cherry Oak Manor

Welcome to my blog – Sharing my journey of making our house into our dream home.

Breakfast Terrace on a Budget


Building site Aftermath

With all the diggers and delivery Lorries our garden was trashed. I was so fed up of walking sand and mud into the house and with limited money and a busy husband I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I needed to tidy up the front and had to do it on a budget so here is how I transformed (bodged my front garden)



Step 1

Clearing the area

I cleared the worst of the rubbish from the area and spread out the left over sand that was everywhere. As you can see in the photo we had a lot of sand. I kept some of the sand as I thought this would be good for levelling off the ground as it was very uneven.



Step 2

Marking out

I decided I wanted a semi-circle shape for the area to the left as you look at the house (now known as the breakfast terrace as it is a little suntrap in the mornings)

I found some left over spray paint and used this to mark out the area, I was quite surprised how well this showed up. Obviously you will need bright colour and not green or black.

I would advise using a piece of board if you are going to go for a square or rectangle shape so you have a straight line to work from.

Step 3

Get Digging

Once it was all marked out it was time to start digging. I enrolled the help of my youngest son who lasted about half an hour before giving up. We used a spade, fork and an edger. I found the edger actually worked better to tackle the grass, as it seemed to glide through it better.

How deep you dig will depend on how thick you want your slate chippings. I didn’t take off to much I mainly removed the grass and about 100mm or soil.
I then dug a bit deeper around the perimeter to create a little trench just big enough for some edging stones.

Step 4


I found some left over block paving stones which I laid in the little trench to create a border.  Lay those in the trench and to level then off you may need to add or remove a bit of soil.

My ground is so uneven and as this is a “bodge job” I didn’t want to spend more time than needed levelling off. When I went to lay the edging stones it did look a bit wonky but I kept them in line with the levels of the grass. Now they grass around them is growing back they look fine.

The reason for using the edging stones is to keep the slate chippings in the area and not have them spill on to the grass.

Step 5

Weed Control

The last thing we want is those pesky weeds popping through so this next stage in my opinion is an important one. I ordered some heavy duty weed membrane it was 2m wide and a 50m roll. There was ample and I still have a bit left for when we do the back garden. I purchased this from The Stone Warehouse.

I rolled it out across the area then cut to size. Make sure you overlap if it is not wide enough for your area as those weeds will find any little gap they can to come through. Another little issue you may encounter is wind! If it is windy you will either need another pair of hands to hold the membrane down or you will need to find some heavy objects to pop in the corner, until you lay the slate chippings. If you don’t you will be chasing the membrane across your garden. Chasing it around like one of those TV comedy sketches.

Step 6

Slate Chippings

I did my research online and found some slate chippings online at a good price from Stone Warehouse £90.00 a bag and they offered next day delivery ( I am so impatient and hate waiting for things)

The slate chippings were not easy to dig out of the ton bags and to be honest this next section was a bit back breaking.

I managed to enlist a little help from my son and husband, my husband shovelled the slate into wheel barrows which my son then wheeled to me. I emptied the slate onto the membrane and used the back of a rake to spread it out.

You need to ensure there are a few layers of the slate to cover the membrane well. Fill to just below the top of the edging stone. This will ensure when you walk on it any moving slate will not spill onto the grass.