Once the beds were built, we dug up the grass - this was totally back breaking work (I had a little help with it). We laid the dug-up turf upside-down into the bottom of the beds, partly to save many trips to the dump but mainly because it will rot down and become great compost in the base of the beds, making it cheaper to fill the beds. So it all got much worse before it got better.
I lined the ground with a weed suppressing membrane and then had two tonnes of gravel delivered to replace the grass. I had assumed the gravel would arrive in bags which could be lifted into a wheelbarrow and easily brought round the back, however it arrived like this ...
But thankfully my brother-in-law, mum, dad and brother arrived just in time to start shovelling! They were great and it only took about 2 hours in the end. I also got a tonne of organic top soil to fill up the beds and here are some pics of the results.
So all that was left to do was plant them up - I was mainly interested in growing salad for the summer, but I have had great success with peas and carrots, and more recently the parsnips have taken off. I have learnt a lot about when to plant seeds and how to protect my little seedlings from mice, wild rabbits, birds and other critters. This summer was the trial run - next summer I'll be self-sufficient. Well, maybe!
You might have spotted the grassy bit at the back - it slopes upwards, so I won't be able to gravel it, so am still thinking about what to do with it. I plan to dig it over and plant lavender plants all along it, but am still in the early stages of propagating lavenders, so this might not get done for a little while longer. For now, I am very happy pottering around my vegetable garden and eating peas. Every time I hear a lawn mower I feel a little but smug! Hope you like it.