All Aboard!

Enviromat sedum matting from Harrowden Turf Ltd has been used for an unusual but fascinating project in a private garden in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
Andy Barr, Head of Heritage Operations for the London Transport Museum and his sons under direction from his wife Judith have spent the last two years building a model railway layout in his back garden.  It’s been carefully designed to enhance, rather than define the garden.
“This is not about turning the whole garden into a huge model railway, it’s about adding interest to the garden without disrupting the way it’s used.” Said Andy. “We still have a lawn, flower beds, shrubs, washing line etc.  The focus has been on creating a garden which just happens to have a railway in it, rather than creating a great big model railway with a few plants dotted around.”
The railway makes use of the whole garden without intruding upon it.  Careful planning means that trains can take nine  different routes around the garden.  There’s even a level crossing to allow safe passage for the lawn mower and Andy’s wheelbarrow.qlawnAll aboard the enviromat express
The railway is “G” Scale, which for the uninitiated is a 45mm wide track – so about 5 times the size of the 00 gauge trainsets that are widely available in toy shops.  The locomotives are remote controlled and gas-fired.  They’re accurate to the smallest detail and even produce real steam.  Andy and his son are currently setting up the points and signals so that they can be operated via an i-pad. “Pretty soon, I’ll be able to control the whole thing from my deck chair” laughs Andy.
The railway is inspired by the Welsh Highland Railways as it travels through the Aberglaslyn Pass.  The garden has been sculpted in parts to look like a scaled down version of the mountain pass where steep slopes are cloaked in vegetation.  Andy plans to build scale models of the station platforms and aluminium buildings to place around the layout.
Andy and his family chose Enviromat for landscaping the project because the plants are the size and texture that fits both with the garden and with the scale of the railway.  The fleshy leaves of the sedum plants resemble the small shrubs that cling to the side of the mountains yet they in no way look out of place in the garden.  It’s the perfect solution.
“The sedum mats were laid about three months ago and I’m really pleased with the results” says Andy. “Installation wasn’t all that easy.  Cutting and moulding the sedum mats to fit relatively small contours was quite fiddly, but that just added to the sense of achievement.”
Chris Carr from Harrowden Turf, the growers of Enviromat added “It’s always good to hear how our customers have used our products. This project has completely captured my imagination.  I absolutely love it.”

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