## Gardening Ideas for Starting a Garden

When starting a garden, it is all very well deciding what kind of a garden you would like and making pretty plans on paper, but your dreams have eventually to be translated into reality and your plans into actual seeds, plants, bricks, paving stones and concrete. And if you have never had to think along these lines before it is difficult to know what materials are available, where they can be obtained and what quantities you will require for your special purposes.

So the following information is severely practical for starting a garden:

Seeds are easy enough to buy in so many places and plants can either be obtained from local nurseries or garden shops or by mail from one of the many national nurseries or over the internet. Your local builder or builders’ merchant will be able to supply such materials as bricks, gravel and paving stones. He will also advise you on quantities and methods of using the materials you buy from him. Alternatively some of the larger garden centres will be able to supply you with virtually everything you can possibly need.

But first, when you are starting a garden, it is always well to know the surface area of your whole garden, as well as the area of special places such as beds, borders, pools and terraces. For a regular shaped plot, a square or a rectangle, it is easy enough to measure down the garden and then across and multiply these two figures together. This will give you the surface area in square feet or yards, depending upon which you use. But what about an irregular shape? Here measure the longest part and shortest part, add these lengths together and divide by two. Now measure the widest and narrowest parts, add together and divide by two. Multiply together the two answers you get and there you are again with your result in square feet or yards.

To measure a circle, multiply the radius (the distance from the exact centre to the side) by itself and multiply your result by 3-1/7^{th}. For example, if the radius is 5ft., then 5 x 5 x 3-1/7^{th} equals 78 sq. ft., or near enough. And to find the number of gallons of water in a circular pool carry out the calculation just shown, multiply your answer (78) by the depth of the pool (say 2 ft., equals 156) and then multiply this result by 6-1/4 (equals 975). In other words, then, a pool with a diameter (right the way across, twice the radius) of 10 ft. and 2 ft. deep, will need very nearly 1,000 gallons of water to fill it to the top.

And the number of gallons in a rectangular pool is even easier to find. Just multiply the length by the width by the depth in feet and multiply this result by 6-1/4 (the 6-1/4, by the way, is merely the number of gallons in a cubic foot.)

If you are going to have fish in your pool you must have the right number. If there are too few, the water will get cloudy and if there are too many there will not be sufficient air for them and some will die. So allow one inch of fish body length (excluding the tail) to one gallon of water, or, if you like, four inches of body length to 1 sq. ft. of water surface area.

It is well to remember, though, that your fish will grow and may multiply, so always allow a small margin for this. If you get too many baby fish for your pool, let them grow until they are at least 2 inches long before you get them out carefully with a net and give them to neighbours.

Knowing your areas you can order your materials. Sand or gravel usually comes by the “load” or by the ton. A load is one cubic yard, 27 cubic feet. This will cover roughly 15 to 17 sq. yds. 2 to 3 inches deep. A ton is slightly less, containing about 20 cu. ft., which will cover about 10-12 sq. yds. to the same depth.

Paving stone is of two types. There are the regular slabs of various sizes and in several pastel colours. It is easy enough to work out how many of these you will require. Irregular shapes, such as you would use for crazy paving, usually come by the ton, which contains about 13 to 14 cu. ft. This will cover from 8 to 16 sq. yds., depending on thickness and method of laying. Most paving is either 1-1/2 to 2 ins. thick.

You can make your own paving stones from concrete but as a rule you will find you save very little by doing so. You can, however, make special shapes and colours if you care to do it yourself. Never make them too large; they are very heavy.

If you want to make a good path you can calculate your requirements from this specimen. A path 20 ft. long and 3 ft. wide will require roughly: 10 to 15 cwts. (1/4 to 1/2 yd.) of gravel 2 to 3 ins. deep; 12 cwts. of York paving slabs; 16 cwts. of crazy paving 2 ins. thick; 215 bricks laid flat. Or if you wish to lay concrete for this path you will need 9 cwts. of gravel or aggregate, 3 cwts. of sand and 3 cwts. of cement to make the path 2 ins. thick.

Most fencing today comes in ready-made panels of certain standard sizes, usually about 6 ft. wide and varying in height from about 3 ft. to about 6 ft. If you wish to make your own fences, you will have to decide on the type and quantity of timber you will require, but remember that a “square” of timber contains 100 sq. ft.

Walling can consist of stone, bricks or concrete slabs of different shapes and kinds. There is a wide choice and you have an opportunity here to break away from the ordinary and make some pretty patterns. Some of the comparatively new kinds of walling come in blocks with various holes and patterns in them, usually called “screen walling”. This gives a lighter effect, can be very attractive, and lets in some light and air.