In Gijs Grote Tuinverbouwing © we take you into the wonderful world of gardening. Presenter Gijs van der Meijde explains how he transformed his garden from a refined schoolyard into a true oasis of tranquility.

In April 2019, our regular presenter Gijs obtained a house in Haalderen. Behind this house was a picturesque garden with a nice carport. Unfortunately, the garden consisted for the most part of a stone terrace and a piece of artificial grass, underneath this artificial grass were again bricks. This is obviously out of the question for the real garden enthusiast. So there’s work to be done! In the photos below you can see what our presenter found when he first saw the garden. As you can see, it was a sad intention, but our craftsman still saw a lot of potential.

The garden

Gijs invites you to join him in the total makeover of this backyard. Gijs has started to remove the practical, but hopeless and terrible artificial grass. This was rolled up so that it could go to the dump. As you will agree, this is the only suitable place for an artificial grass lawn. When this was over, Gijs could start removing the bricks. However, the bricks where layed in patterns, an aspect that our gardener appreciated. I can already reveal that these patterns will return in this garden, so lets keep looking at what our presenter Gijs is planning!

As you can see, our presenter and garden specialist Gijs has made room for creation. Most of the bricks are removed. However, on a rainy day people like to keep their feet dry. For this reason, paths where layed using the original bricks. The observant viewer may have already noticed that the pattern of the circle in the center of the garden have returned at the back door and the small door to the garage. This is an example of a small detail that gives the garden just that little bit extra.

Since the carport will not only be used as a seating area, but also has a number of practical applications, it will have to be rinsed clean every now and then. To prevent polluted water from entering the grass, Gijs has placed a water drain on the border with the carport. A minor adjustment to the sewerage system was required for this. With an eye on to the future, it has also been decided to lay a number of empty pipes between the shed and the crawl space of the house, in which in the future electricity and, for example, network cables can be laid separately.

Something our attentive presenter Gijs noticed, was a leakage in the water pipe towards the shed. Like a real German he went to dig pits in search of this leak. A true professional as he is, the leak was quickly found. Gijs has repaired it himself. It was decided to disconnect the old copper pipe and lay a new thylene pipe next to the other pipes. Since the other pipes enter the shed above ground, and this is a problem for the water pipe due to frost, Gijs connected the thylene pipe at the shed to the old copper pipe. This keeps the water pipe deep enough underground and therefore free from frost. All pipes have also been professionally mapped out. Should there be a problem with one of the pipes in the future, it will be located in no time!

Because there was only stone in this garden, the surface was yellow sand. As you know, this is no good soil for a beautiful green garden. Gijs has removed the sand from the garden and replaced it with beautiful black soil. This will delight the new lawn and plants!

Like any worthy gardener, Gijs also knows that soil still has to sink a bit, when grass and the like is laid on insufficiently subsided soil, unevenness in the surface will develop over time. Because jobs often have to be completed within a considerable time, this bagging process can be accelerated with a vibrating plate or roller. Make sure that the soil is not pressed too tightly, as vegetation must still be able to take root in it. In our case, time is not a big issue, so the soil has been given several weeks to settle naturally. After this, it still had to be pressed down slightly before the grass could be put on it.
In the meantime, the grass had also arrived. Gijs opted for grass with a relatively high red fescue content because it is well resistant to shade, which is not surprising in this garden. Grass turfs are more expensive than grass seed, but it is easy to lay and offers immediate results. Be careful when laying in extremely dry weather: the sod still has very short roots and cannot withstand this well. So keep spraying! After all, grass cannot drown, but it can dry out.

Plants need sufficient water, especially right after planting, but sufficient water is also important afterwards. Unfortunately, there is not always enough rain to keep our gardens alive and we have to water every now and then. In order to do watering in a sustainable way and to save tap water, Gijs has installed a rain barrel. People often think of a rain barrel as a big ugly barrel that takes up a lot of space in the garden, but is no longer necessary. Gijs has chosen to place a 300 liter barrel in the shape of a flower pot in the garden. By connecting the barrel to the existing downspout with a filling machine, the barrel automatically fills up when it rains, and when the barrel is full, the excess water flows back into the downspout.

In order to enjoy the garden in the evening in late summer, a heated terrace is no unnecessary luxury. The covered carport already offers shelter from wind and rain, but what better way to warm yourself up than by fire? That is why this fire table is a great addition to any garden set! To make maximum use of the space, Gijs has equipped the carport with a corner sofa and a fire table. In the evening, after a hard day’s work, he can relax on the couch with a drink and enjoy his hard work.

The front yard

After the main work in the garden behind the house has been completed, it’s time to tackle the front yard. After all, the front yard is the first impression people get of your home. The front garden consisted mainly of boxwood hedges. Unfortunately this hedge was badly damaged by the boxwood moth, these animals are a real pest and very difficult to get rid of in an environmentally friendly way. Because most of the hedge had already died, it was decided to completely overhaul the front yard.

Because a lot had to be done, Gijs has gathered a small army. All day long they worked hard to remove the old plants, place new borders and lay grass mats.
Solid anthracite stacking blocks measuring 60x15x15 centimeters have been chosen as a border around the new garden. These blocks are cost-efficient, maintenance-friendly and have a luxurious appearance. To make the garden a garden, it was decided to lay grass turfs. As has been proven to be a quick and easy way to lay grass behind the house. During the digging of the garden, the installation of sprinklers and garden lighting was taken into account by installing a thylene pipe and ground cable.

Since space in the garden behind the house is quite limited, it is important to save as much space as possible. For this reason, Gijs has already decided to move the waste containers to the front of the house. To hide the containers from view, he chose to install an attractive container formwork and hide it behind a fence and hedge. In this way, the local residents do not have to be annoyed by the ugly waste containers. This container formwork has gas springs to keep the lid open, so Gijs keeps two hands free when putting the dirt out.

Behind the fence, near the containers, more than just containers can be stored. With the help of tiles of 60x60cm and an iron fence with lock, a square has been created where both waste and garden tools can be stored. Gijs has christened this square, the ‘container corner’. A Taxus hedge will eventually have to hide everything from view. The Taxus baccata is an easy to keep shrub that, due to its high growth rate (up to 30cm per year!), Is extremely suitable as a hedge. But be careful with children! Taxus baccata is a poisonous plant.

Anthracite stacking blocks were chosen as border. These blocks give an open and luxurious appearance to the garden and in principle do not require any maintenance. In memory of the old front garden, part of the Lavender has been moved to two flower pots. These will also, when in bloom, hide the window from view.
Finally, a luxurious yet natural path consisting of quartzite stepping stones was chosen. These stones come into their own in the grass and prevent the grass from being broken.

Slimme tuin

In 2020 we are flooded with opportunities to make our home “smarter”. From our lighting to our thermostat to the television, nowadays everything can be controlled from our phones or with speech thanks to systems such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Homey.
But why stop at our house? Our garden can also be a lot smarter! A number of simple adjustments can add that little bit of convenience, making a garden attractive for people who do not feel like maintaining the garden. As a final touch, Gijs adds a number of small tricks to the garden, which minimizes maintenance.

The first addition to the garden is smart lighting.
To be able to enjoy the garden in the evening, and to find the lock of the front door in the dark, for example, the garden has garden lighting. However, the current lighting has a limitation, it can only be switched from the house. In order to be able to switch the garden lighting in modern ways, like speech or phone, it needs to be upgraded to the 21st century. The existing lighting has a beautiful authentic style, so it was decided not to replace the entire lantern, but only internal light bulbs for Phillips Hue LED lamps. When considering LED, people often still think of cold white light, but nowadays atmospheric variants are also available. Finally, a Phillips Hue motion sensor has been incorporated into a birdhouse to switch on the lighting as soon as someone enters the garden.

Is Phillips Hue too expensive for you? No worries! There are plenty of alternatives available such as Xiaomi’s Yeelight lamps. Would you rather create something yourself? That is also possible of course. It is relatively easy to install smart switches, such as Sonoff switches, in existing lamps. This way, your existing lighting can be switched on using, for example, a telephone or smart sensors.
However, take moisture into account! Protecting your electronics against rain is not enough, it can get very humid / foggy outside at night. This is moisture that is everywhere in the air and can therefore enter your devices from all sides. The safest option is to buy certified electronics for outdoor use.


Cant get enough of Gijs Great Garden Renovation©? Keep an eye on this page and also look at Gijs Great Garage Renovation©!

©2019 – Gijs van der Meijde