Hedgelaying the Southern Boundary

The “hedge” on the southern boundary had grown quite tall and – unlike the other hedges – hadn’t been regularly trimmed by the neighbouring farmers. Really it was more of a line of bushes and trees than a proper hedge.

Overgrown “hedge” along the southern boundary

In some areas there was evidence of hedgelaying having been done a long time ago – especially some near-horizontal stems in amongst the vertical growth.

Evidence of previous hedgelaying on the southern boundary

The southern boundary is about 15m from the house and the open-plan family room faces directly on to it via some large sliding glass doors, so it’s quite a visible feature and needs to look respectable.

The plan has always been to bring the hedge back under control by hedgelaying it in the Derbyshire style. This is tricky to do well so I was keen to bring in someone who knew what they were doing. Any Internet search quickly turns up the National Hedgelaying Society so I used their “Find a Hedgelayer” query tool to find local contractors and settled on having award-winning local hedgelayer Derrick Hale undertake the work.

Hedgelaying is a winter job – while there are no birds nesting and while the hedge plants are dormant – so there are limits on when it can be done and it’s prone to being delayed by bad weather. The job is now roughly 2/3 complete which provides a nice opportunity for a “before and after” comparison.

Partially laid hedge along the southern boundary

The hedge was in very bad condition beforehand which means it doesn’t look as tidy as it might have done afterwards but I’m very happy with the results so far. There are plenty of gaps which will need filling with new hawthorn plants but once those get chance to grow a bit it will look a lot better.

Swale Doing Its Job

It’s been very wet recently so the ground is saturated and further rain isn’t soaking in. These are exactly the conditions under which the swale is designed to temporarily store rainwater before letting it gradually drain away. (The rainwater collected from the roof of the house and from the paving around it is directed to the end of the swale next to the house.)

Normally any rain percolates into the subsoil before getting to the end of the swale but not today: there’s standing water all the way to the end.

Swale holding rainwater

Since much of the ground is clay the assumption was that the swale would primarily provide a means to transport water to the field drainage ditch, holding it back temporarily with an orifice plate on the outfall. In reality much of the water percolates through the bottom of the swale and this is the first time I’ve seen anything discharging from the outfall.

Small trickle of water from outfall from swale