The area in front of our water feature had been overtaken by weeds. I dug them out but was left with a muddy mess.
Most of the planting in that area is rather dark and I've done well with Santolina "Lemon Fizz" (cotton lavender) elsewhere in the garden so I thought this would be ideal to brighten things up. I started by reducing the size of the bed a little and putting in some temporary edging to mark the border.
It's always difficult to dig in our garden. In addition to very heavy clay soil, some previous owners tried improving the drainage by burying bricks throughout the garden. This did not work, but it does mean that every time I try to dig a hole I have to dig out a layer of bricks as well as the soil:
The water feature is in a sunny south-facing spot but the drainage isn't great so I added some gravel and replaced the native clay soil with potting compost. The end result is on the right below.
I've put down some grass seed on the side closest to the camera, hopefully this will become part of the lawn. As the Santolina grows and the soils mix the border between the clay and the new compost should disappear and hopefully this will mature into an attractive area in time for the summer.