I am lucky enough to have a reasonably large back garden, at least by British standards, it is wider than the other gardens on my street because I am on the corner, but it is also reasonably long (about 65’ between the house and the rear hedge).

The obvious place to put a new mega-shed would be in front of the hedge away from the house, but this bit of the garden is not very wide and is raised above the lawn – building here would have involved moving a lot of earth to get the levels right. The hassle and expense of this option, plus the fact I’d have to dig up two trees, a retaining wall and half of the flower bed on the right meant it was never really a serious option. I could of course remove part of the hedge (which is very deep), but the planning rules for the kind of building I have in mind require a 6’ gap to the boundary.

The semis on my street were built by the same builder – Miss May Walker, a pioneering lady builder working in the 1930s, unusual for the time, and also unusual  in that she used almost entirely recycled materials.   The houses in our street were constructed from bricks, tiles and timber she obtained following the demolition of Luton gaol.

The houses were intended for rental – they were all originally two-up two-downs, although they have mostly been extended and mucked about with since then – and, so she could keep an eye on the properties, Miss May built a path between the two rows of houses that backed on to each other. This pathway was wide enough to get her motorcycle and sidecar down!

At some point in the 1940s, the houses were put up for sale and additional houses were built at the top of the road. Since this blocked the entrance to the back passage, the space it occupied was given over to the new owners of the houses on my side of the street.

This means that there is another 7’ behind the hedge that is basically ‘spare’. Perfect!

I still have the non trivial task of removing a large part of the laurel hedge – the hedge was planted when the houses were built and is now about 10’ deep and pretty substantial, but all eminently doable.

In the next instalment: planning and building regs.