I was six when we moved to our first house. It was a semi-detached on a housing estate and we rented it. But it was brand new. Three up, three down. Being a new house the yard was a total mess. Builders rubble, piles of earth and to make matters worse, the house was on a slope.
Undeterred, my father set to work landscaping. He terraced three levels at the back and two levels at the front. At the side he built a rockery with a fish pond.
In the south of England, where we were, it gets cold in winter and the fish pond used to freeze over. My sister and I would poke holes in the ice so the fish could breathe. And breathe they did, they were always still alive in the spring.
The front yard consisted of flower beds and a lawn which we used to mow with a hand mower. Later, he converted some of the lawn into a car port.
I reckon it took my father ten years to get the landscaping anywhere near finished.
At the back we had a small lawn with a clothes line and a vegetable garden with fruit bushes, gooseberries, blackcurrants and an apple tree.
My father was very resourceful. One year he bought a green house. It didn’t actually have any glass, it was a cedar frame with clear plastic draped over it. A week later a storm came along and blew it away.
Undeterred we salvaged what we could and he built it again, but he only had enough bits left for a greenhouse half the height of the original, so he dug a trench down the middle, which meant that you could stand up and tend the vegetable beds either side that were now at waist height! Ingenious!
He also managed to heat the contraption with an old oil burner and pump hot air around through pipes made from tin cans placed end to end and joined with sticky tape.
He loved his landscaped garden. He won first prize for the best garden on our housing estate several years in a row.
Just goes to show what you can achieve with a bit of ingenuity, imagination and landscaping.