The beds themselves are fine, very solid and sturdy, but initially we did get plagued by cats using them as litter trays and by foxes living in a nearby den, who play in them at night.
The first bed was messed up by foxes as soon as I'd planted my salad seeds, which caused them to be spread a little from their straight lines. Quite a lot of cat faeces also had to be removed in the first few days, at which point I bought the chicken wire from Poundland to stretch across, stretch being the operative word as it almost didn't fit.
In the case of the second bed, once we'd filled it with soil, I immediately rushed out and bought some sweetcorn plants, as I wanted to get them in as soon as I could, so they had as long a growing season as possible. Lo and behold, the same night, due to the fact I didn't cover the bed, the foxes were in there and churned almost half of them up, breaking the stems and roots. I was really disappointed and the very next day bought this piece of trellis from another pound shop (for £2) to deter them.
A week later and it seems to have worked. The remaining plants are settling in, although some of them still look a little knarled and probably won't make it. I do have some replacements left over.
The paths have also had their own problems. The dog running up and down being a major one, which constantly redistributes the mulch. This is easily remedied by a bit of raking, so it's not really a serious problem.
The fabric underneath the paths, however, was also causing a problem, as where it overlaps, we didn't pin it down and the mulch finds it's way under the overlap. We have rectified this problem this weekend, by using these pins I bought on eBay. They're intended for laying artificial grass, but should work for this project without causing large holes in the fabric.
It did get me thinking that perhaps artificial grass might have been a better option for the paths, but we'll see how things go. We can always replace the mulch at a later date if need be. OH has now secured the overlapping fabric for me and it now looks a lot better and the problem hopefully shouldn't recur.
On a brighter, more positive note, my salad seedlings are coming on a treat as you can see from the picture of the first bed above, still very small, but lots of them. The foxgloves that I left to flower are also now delivering some colour and look very pretty. Worth waiting for I think. I'll almost be sorry to dig them out when we finally finish this corner of the garden. I may sow some in a pot that I can place here, by the bench, when I get it.
Thus far, the total budget has come in at £375, which although a lot of money, we feel is a good investment in making the garden more practical and productive for our needs. If we'd employed landscape gardeners to do the work, I'm sure it would have cost at least 3 times this amount, if not more, so to us it feels like a saving of several hundred pounds.
Talking of landscape gardeners, the fences built by them a few years ago when we did get them in, were starting to deteriorate and needed a few repairs, especially the one from which the gate hangs. OH took care of these repairs yesterday. In all fairness, the gate has been used very heavily, being opened and shut many times to let the dog into and keep her out of the different halves of the garden, so some wear and tear is to be expected.
Ironing out these teething problems has been our job for this weekend. Nothing too strenuous, but it will hopefully improve things on a day to day basis.