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The Ha-ha

Creating the ha-ha


A ha-ha is an English garden feature, used in country estates to make a barrier to farm animals. The idea is to make it seem, from within the garden, that the lawns extend into the surrounding fields uninterrupted. We don't have a country estate but we now have a ha-ha! This is how we created our ha-ha.

Bill built a dry stone wall to the level of the lawn in the gardens, using a seasonal stream bank as his guide.  The stones were gathered from a stream at the edge of our bush.

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We renovated a garden full of irises, tulips and weeds on the east side the ha-ha, by digging out the plants, and removing and screening all the soil to remove small stones which became the final mulch for the top edge of the ha-ha.


We amended the soil from the garden and put it back into the garden. Bill had lined the garden with larger stones. We replanted all the irises and tulips.


While screening the soil we also picked out every bit of an invasive plant which we have grown to hate-Lady Bells or  Campanula rapunculoides. Bill calls it the Purple Plague. It’s a real garden thug. Never, EVER, introduce this plant to your garden! Ours arrived accidentally as a hitch hiker on a gift of evening primroses.


Here’s the ha-ha from the house, an uncluttered long winter view of the fields up to Painter’s Point. The mown strip of field grass is part of a Japanese landscaping technique called ‘borrowed scenery’. Your eye is drawn away from the gardens to the distance.


We moved the blue chairs for this photo. You can see how the gardens merge into the mown grass strip in the field. One would hardly know about the existence of the wall and the stream!


Earth was brought in from a field to backfill behind the wall. We dug turf from this field and created a “lawn” on part of this backfill.


Next, Bill made a mowing strip around the edge of the lawn. Several mulch layers covered the earth.  We used recycled carpet, newspapers, and then plastic, with small stones as the final mulch. These layers deter grass and weeds. We cut turf from the field to fill in the end of the lawn.


We have discovered that many people enjoy relaxing in these chairs and gazing over the fields as they chat.

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Another early winter view, this time from the field looking back into the gardens. The seasonal stream is flowing. The height of the ha-ha wall and the bank of the stream illustrates the barrier to farm animals.

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