To landscape Dan McIntosh’s garden to create a safe space for him to spend time with his family, especially anticipating potential mobility issues as his condition worsens. Also to install a summer house where he can spend time with his children and create memories with them before he passes.
Dan, who is a carpenter, was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour in 2017 - at the same time his wife found out she was pregnant with their third child - and was given just 18 months to two years to live.
Dan’s tumour is in his brain and behind one of his eyes and as time passes it is anticipated that his mobility will decrease, his vision will be impaired and his stability will lessen. The anticipated effects meant that there was likely to come a point when he would be unable to access the family’s garden or to spend time there safely.
In order to allow Dan access to his garden at his home in Aveley, Essex, as his health deteriorates, Band of Builders decided to landscape it to make it fully accessible and safe, as well as installing a bespoke summer house. The aim was to create a place for Dan to create memories with his three children and have his own space as he copes with the mental and emotional effects of his diagnosis.
Project leads who specialise in the specific areas needed for the project carried out site visits and drew up a scope of works, including a roster of required trades.
Over the course of seven days, 59 Band of Builders members fully landscaped the garden using specialist materials in keeping with Dan’s needs, both currently and as his condition worsens. This included levelling the garden, installing slabbing and composite decking, as well as lighting that could be controlled by remote from the house.
Raised flower beds were added with individually-chosen plants correlating to each family member’s month and year of birth. All plants will flower at different times of the year, with Dan's being the focal plant which, in time to come, will offer an additional memory to the family.
A summer house, or ‘man cave’, was also installed, providing a place to benefit the whole family. As well as offering a place for Dan to make memories with his children, it provides somewhere for him to relax on his own, spend time with friends away from the children as he becomes unable to go out, and also give somewhere for his children and wife to use if he is feeling unwell.
Dan said: “I was absolutely speechless. For complete strangers to give up their time and travel across the country to do something like this is absolutely overwhelming.”
Additionally, Band of Builders worked with partner organisation Team Verrico, referring Dan to the charity which then arranges for him to see a Harley Street specialist in his condition.
The entire garden was levelled to the same height as the French doors on the house, allowing access to the garden and summer house by wheelchair when Dan is no longer able to walk. All slabs and composite decking measurements were planned in order to facilitate a wheelchair and its turning circle - either unaided or by someone pushing - with ease and without obstacles. A pergola was also measure to ensure a wheelchair would pass through.
All slabs used were of a smooth surface to allow free ease of walking without any trip hazards and ease of use by wheelchair.
Composite decking was also installed on the same level as the slabs to avoid trip hazards. It was deemed that composite decking wasmore suitable than wooden decking which can become slippery when wet. Small decking lights were also placed along the edge where the decking meets artificial grass to highlight the change in floor surface and ensure safety.
Remote controlled lighting was installed for the pergola, decking, raised flower bed and summer house, providing the ability to light each area independently beofre going outside.
Summer house - the entrance was set at the same height as the decking, making it accessible for Dan by foot or by wheelchair as his mobility reduces. The cabin has electric and also heating that can be turned on by remote control, providing a comfortable environment for Dan and his family to use at any time.