Trends in garden decor are often more noticeable than most because one of the first aspects of a home people notice is how it looks on the outside.
This has led to a decades-long dilemma for people who want a neat front and back yard, but do not have the time or the inclination to cultivate and maintain a garden, which led to the rise of rather less elegant solutions.
These included replacing natural grass with artificial lawns and extending concrete patios to the point where they took up the entire garden space.
During a time when pristine lawns were an expectation, this was seen as a prudent work-saving move, but in more ecologically conscious times, burying potential natural habitats under tonnes of concrete is far less of an ideal choice.
As well as this, the rise in rewilding natural spaces allows the low-maintenance gardener to have a beautiful natural space whilst not really needing to do any more maintenance than they want to.
Here are some top tips and information to keep in mind.
Hire A Professional Or Hire A Demolition Hammer?
The first important point to bear in mind is that removing concrete from your garden will take a while and typically require much heftier tools than you are likely to have in your garage unless you happen to have a concrete saw or a jackhammer handy.
Concrete is often laid thicker than you might expect so it can take a while to get all the way down to the soil, especially if you want to cut the slabs and keep them largely intact.
The best way to sort it out is to hire a professional who can do the bulk of the work for you, but alternatively, if you are sorting it yourself, work from the edge of a paving slab towards the centre, breaking off bits at a time into manageable chunks.
If you have used reinforced concrete, use heavy-duty bolt cutters to get through wire mesh and use a handheld reciprocating saw to cut through metal rebar.
Prepare A Green Waste Compost Bin
A few weeks or months before starting your garden, start a compost bin of most likely vegetable kitchen waste and paper, which will help you when you replace the compacted and poor-quality soil underneath your concrete with high-quality topsoil.
Whilst composting typically works best with waste from a garden that is already there, it can be started with any suitable green material, so feel free to start preparing your green waste ready, as it will save you money compared to buying compost from a gardening centre.
That poor-quality soil will not go to waste, however. You can either lay your topsoil on top of it or use it as the base for a rockery or alpine garden.
Waste Not Want Not
One of the biggest environmental issues when it comes to concrete is ensuring that as little of it is wasted as possible, but there are plenty of solutions you can take.
Broken paving slabs can be used to create crazy paving for smaller paths around your garden, concrete lumps can become rockery stones and bricks can be used as plant pot stands and risers for pond plants.