Dream Garden

According to Some Survey Or Other (Science!!!), this is what most Brits dream of when thinking about their ideal garden:

Okay, some of them are just daffy — a maze? — and good luck getting the go-kart track past the neighbors (unless you’re going to be racing electric go-karts).

I am as given to dreaming and wishful thinking as any, and probably more than most;  but I can’t help thinking that having so many outdoor activity features (yoga areas, outdoor gym etc.) are not going to be used that often given a climate in which Britain’s principal export is rain.

Also, excepting bloated plutocrats such as Mr. Free Market (whose estate holdings make Prince Charles look like a slum dweller) and Top Gear’s Richard Hammond (who has a castle), most Brit houses have an average outdoor area which can be measured just as well in square inches as feet — and not the 88-foot “desirable” backyard they dream of.

In Kim Terms, 88 feet couldn’t even accommodate a 25-yard indoor pistol range, which leads me to my next point.

Notably absent from all the Brit dream gardens is anything devoted to shooting.  I know that the BritGov (a pox be upon it) seems to frown on the shooting sports, but nowhere on the above do I see listed even something as innocuous as an archery range.  (I have a well-founded suspicion that a similar list taken from a poll of my Readers would have a 100-yard rifle range near the top, followed closely by a 1,000-yard playground where one could happily play with Barrett rifles etc.)

So, on to just such a poll.  In Comments, please list — in order — the top 10 most desirable features you’d like to see in your “back yard” (define it however you wish:  “back forty” is also acceptable).   Don’t bother with explanations or exposition;  the inclusions should be pretty much self-explanatory, e.g. “four-bay 25-yard air-conditioned indoor pistol range” (which would be in my own top 3, incidentally).

No mazes.  Also exclude strange exotica such as “hippie burial ground” and the like.  This is a serious poll. [eyecross]

Have fun with it, and limit ten, please.


  1. Nigella Lawson ? Or if not available (cause prior engagement with Kim) how about 1963 Ursula Andress/Racquel Welch/Sophia Loren ???

  2. OK, I’ll play, but first an explanation (I know, breaking the rules, it’s kinda my thing). Maybe your definition of “garden” is different than mine, but for me a garden is a place of peace-and-quiet, relaxation and enjoyment of natural beauty, therefore noisy stuff like shooting ranges and go-cart tracks, nice as they are to have, don’t belong in a garden. Also, I’m making my list in terms of my current locale in Pennsylvania, with an eye toward being able to use the space for as much of the year as possible given the that our winters can be…..harsh.

    On to the list, in no particular order (because they’re all necessary):
    1) Vegetable/flower garden
    2) Bird feeders, particularly hummingbird feeders
    3) Comfortable seating with tables for eating/drinking/socializing/board games
    4) Covered area for use in inclement weather. A retractable cover over (3) would be perfect.
    5) Fire pit of a type to provide both ambiance and heat
    6) Hot tub or sauna
    7) Privacy fence (because I’m not gonna wear a swimsuit in my own hot tub)
    8) Hammocks
    9) Bar
    10) Private, secluded area for prayer/meditation, call it a shrine/chapel if you will. Preferably enclosed in a small structure.

    Yeah, that would be nice.

  3. Since we’ve been working on ours for some years, I’m going to be including some stuff we already have.

    Also, it’s in no particular order.

    1. Lots of trees of various types
    2. Heated pool
    3. Shed to keep all the crap we don’t want in the house
    4. Outdoor dining area with picnic table and grill
    5. 50 yard shooting range, set up for pistol and black powder rifle
    6. Grape arbor for the wife’s grape vines
    7. Raspberry patch (I really like fresh raspberries)
    8. Bonfire pit (The kids like to have a fire when they visit)
    9. Pole barn/workshop
    10. A large clear area where the grandkids can play

  4. 10) Fire pit for entertainment and to burn up tree/bush trimmings.
    9) Shaded patio with plenty of seating for friends.
    8) A pool. I know the maintenance can be a bear but living in the south it sure gets hot.
    7) Privacy fence to keep Otis the wonder dog from getting into trouble.
    6) Gas grill. For the quick and easy.
    5) Wood smoker for the long and tender.
    4) Wrap around driveway. I like to work on my own crap and that makes it easier.
    3) Creek if geographically possible.
    2) 100 yard range. You can shorten for pistol or bow.
    1) One little spot where they pull Ted Kennedy’s traitorous ass out of Arlington and bury him in my back yard. I’d live to 150 knowing I could get up every morning and piss on his grave.

    1. #1 is great! you’ll need the right soil to handle all the urine. You could probably fund your hobbies if you sold tickets to Ted The Swim Champ Kennedy’s memorial urinal!!!!

  5. I’ll play! Except explanations are necessary.

    1. A gardener to keep and maintain it all. I have black fingers.
    2. High walls (see 4 below).
    3. A croquet lawn – golf green quality.
    4. Butts for archery / crossbow shooting. Sorry, no guns allowed. 🙁 Of course, the estate will be sufficiently large to warrant owning a shotgun for pest control. If the estate is really large, I might try medieval siege weaponry.
    5. Trees to provide shade. Even this far north it can get very hot in the sun.
    6. A heated swimming pool so I and my brother can vet my niece’s boyfriends.
    7. Fruit frames.
    8. Vegetable plot.
    9. A burn.

    PS the workshop belongs beside the house, not in the garden. Of course, I am a singleton.

  6. We recently redid our house for its 100 year anniversary. Out to the studs, all plumbing and electric, all exterior doors, windows and siding, four and one-half baths with tile, granite, and marble, monster entertaining kitchen with granite and an appliance bill you wouldn’t believe, both formal and informal dining rooms. Old garage and shed porch torn down. Shed porch rebuilt as interior space up two floors. Extended around the side as new kitchen and breakfast nook, that seats eight.
    1. Irrigation system for the spousal unit.
    2. Three bay garage/workshop with lift, 200 amp, 220 volt service, air compressor and distribution system. Being in the Chesapeake Bay critical zone, we are restricted in our coverage percentage and have no garage at all now.
    3. Dock with water and electric service, 8-foot water depth, channel to the Severn River and big enough for my 37-foot sailboat. (Had the boat. Donated it to CRAB.)
    4. Ruins. We have some large antique andirons from a working fireplace. I’d like to build some “ruins” as a fire pit/barbeque in the form the remains of a mid-Atlantic farmhouse kitchen fireplace.

  7. —Barley patch
    — Hops poles
    — Grape arbors
    — Bee hives
    — Herb beds: angelica, mugwort, and the like
    — Smokehouse
    — Sheltered mashtun and wort boiler
    — Stammtisch
    — Hidden speaker system looping Silvius Weiss bourees

  8. My primary hobby is ham radio, not weaponry (since I live in the poxy hellhole that is New Jersey). We already do have many of the wish-list items so the first three would be for a new home. The rest are additions to what we already have now.

    1) A hilltop location.
    2) Several 200′ towers, adorned with all manner of antennas and devices as I see fit.
    3) Space for long wire antennas for receiving and no neighbours or other sources of electrical noise.
    4) A good “stickburner” offset smoker to make brisket the traditional way.
    5) A big garage/workshop with a two-pillar lift.
    6) A top-end Jeep (Rubicon) in said garage/workshop — the two go together as any fule kno.
    7) A shaded seating area. Our deck is wide open and Too Damned Hot in summer.
    8) A fire pit for those cool fall nights. Perfect for cigars after supper.

    Honestly, given the house we have and the tower I have up now, we’ve got it pretty good. We even have a raspberry patch (the birds get more of them, alas), a pond, a veggie garden, plenty of trees, room for flowers and other plantables, and a decent-looking lawn.

    1. Look up Youtubers Mustie1 and Vice Grip Garage. They both went with the Wildfire four post lift. Comes freight and nicely packaged. You and a buddy can erect it in less than a day. Does not need to be anchored to the floor. It has an optional attachment that lets you roll it around your shop. I’ve seen several pictures recently of cars falling off two post lifts. Cars like C8 Corvettes and Ferraris.

  9. Here ya go:

    Wood fired pizza oven.
    Gas Barbecue/grill.
    Shade sails over wooden deck.
    Powered workshop.
    5000 gallon water tank.
    Boule pitch.
    Hot tub.
    Underground bomb shelter. (might be the armory, but ssshhhh).

  10. 1)
    My garden area doubles as a grass strip — with wind-sock — for my bush-planes and their big bouncy tires.
    I think about ten thousand paces by a couple-three thousand paces is a good start.

    A set of matched rat-rod riding mowers.
    Cummins powered.
    In the neighborhood of 400hp and torque of 1,000.
    Speed-limited to a nice round 100mph.
    An enclosed full-round ‘encouragement kit’ of bumpers for errant trespassers.
    No radio to interrupt my meditative reverie.

    ‘Fenced’ with a two-stack of shipping containers.
    On a bed of gravel, this gives the rest of humanity a nice twenty-foot cushion from my impatience with their foibles.

    A Morbark© or equivalent chipper for trespassers.

    A sign inviting trespassers to check-in at the booth next to the chipper.
    With flashing neon arrows for ‘educationally-challenged’ trespassers from the big city.
    And a helpful slide/chute for reluctant trespassers of a mind to reverse their intentions.

    A pack of mule-size Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
    I hope hope hope they smile as they ‘welcome’ trespassers.
    There is no reason for trespassers’ last moments to be unpleasant.

    Every firearm shall have a non-infringable muffler.

    The estate is ‘clothing optional’.
    The soaking-pools are ‘clothing prohibited’.
    Because habits can get comfortable, a sign near the exit reminds residents to don clothing before leaving.

    Guests are encouraged to entice trespassers by any and all means.
    To this end, ladies and other women may dance and prance and jiggle along the tops of the ‘fence’.

    In the event of ‘civic unrest’ in the big city, I truly hope, from the bottom of my heart, somebody would be so kind as to let us know.
    So we can fire-up the mowers to help ‘clear the way’ for emergency crews.

  11. 1) 100yard range or more for rifles, pistols, archery and tomahawks. I can already do archery and tomahawks in my yard
    2) vegetable patch with bee hives. Gone through too many hives here
    3) Fire pit
    4) Grill area, flat area with table for meals, maybe a gazebo with mosquito netting
    5) a fenced kennel area for my pup
    6) I suppose a lap pool and hot tub but I doubt that I would use either

  12. I’ve already built the ranges; I bought 40 acres to retire on and they were already installed. So:
    5 Moat, preferrably stocked with walleye, smallmouth, & browns. (We have none if those in Alaska)
    4 Battlements, from which to pour boiling oil on campaigning politicians and other such undesirables.
    3 Cold storage building large enough to hold a moose or 3
    2 A well someone else has paid for. (The water table is 400 ft down and at 30+ bucks a foot it may as well be a mile.)
    1 That tall, leggy, rich blonde with the 8 digit bank account and no cats to leave it to.

  13. Hhhmn, now this is interesting. Being a Brit:-

    1. A shed. For himself, not me. He can ‘potter’ or more likely swill good red wine and bad beer to his hearts content
    2. A heater for the shed. Well, he will be spending a LOT of time in there, and the U.K. Isn’t known for warm nights
    3. A good deck with a shade and decent BBQ (or is that three things?) to entertain friends whilst himself is in the shed
    4 A dog. For preference a German Pointer, who shall be named Ripley. Ripley will live with me as himself is allergic ( he will move to 1. Above)
    5. An hour with that rather nice young chap that lives down the road, with a six pack at isn’t beer, and a huge lunchbox that has no sandwiches in….

    Seriously? A well kept lawn, looked after by someone else than me. A few nice smelling flowers, some tinkling water and fishes, quiet neighbours, someone to cook great food and a big F.O. Gun to keep the man of the house happy.

    And NO bloody gnomes, hanging baskets or fairy lights. Good grief, I’m not a chav.

  14. I would think to do justice to that “garden list” would require the garden portion of the estate to be a minimum of a quarter-section.
    As for shooting, a little advance planning might entail doing some trenching early on and create a multi-position underground range which you could build over.

  15. 1 – Two raised bed gardens for vegetables; we aren’t going to have servants so nothing huge.
    2 – forest of trees to include fruit and nut trees suitable for the area;
    3 – Screened deck and open deck with a modest outdoor kitchen
    4 – Fire pit with sitting area and deployable shade/rain protection
    5 – An outbuilding as garage and workshop, with A/C, heat, bathroom, car lift, reloading and gun work area (could be combined with 25 yard pistol range which is a * item)
    6 – Large fenced area for the future dogs with an outdoor rated roomba type pooper scooper robot.
    7 – An outbuilding dedicated to storage. Also climate controlled
    8* – 100 or 200 yard rifle range with high berms and a comfortable shoot house. Three lanes.
    9* – large stocked farm pond with a water feature/waterfall and dock/sitting area
    10* – If I get the square mile of land I first dreamed about as a teenager, a modest road track with a straightaway allowing for quarter mile drag testing.

    * items are pie in the sky, win the lottery wishes.

  16. Besides a lawn, I’d have the following:
    1 Vegetable garden
    2 Chicken run & coop
    3 Workshop w/ reloading bench
    4 Shooting backstop for 7-100 yd range
    5 Butterfly sanctuary garden (tax break)
    6 Outdoor chairs, sofa and fire pit
    7 Hammock
    8 Hot tub
    9 Greenhouse
    10 Hummingbird feeder

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