All Aboard! for Sedum Groundcover

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Enviromat sedum matting has been used to landscape a very different, and rather special, private garden in Chesham, Bucks.

model railway locomotive passing through sedum groundcover plants

Andy Barr is the Head of Heritage Operations for the London Transport Museum and has a lifelong connection with trains, railways and all things steam - he even owns his own vintage steamroller.

Taking his hobby to another dimension, Andy 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.”

model railway and Enviromat sedum matting

The railway makes use of the whole garden without intruding upon it.  Careful planning means that trains can take 9 different routes around the garden.  There’s even a level crossing to allow safe passage for the lawn mower and Andy’s wheelbarrow.

For those who understand model railways, this one is  “G” Scale. It has a  45mm wide track – which is around 5 times the size of the 00 gauge trainsets that are widely available in toy shops.  All of Andy's 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.

garden railway

“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.”


Using Enviromat as ground cover


What is Enviromat?


Edging a pond with sedum matting