As part of our single-minded (!) assault on our garden, we decided that our kids’ trampoline, which went unleapt on throughout last year, had to go. As there was nothing wrong with it, we decided to advertise it on Freecycle.

For those who have never heard of Freecycle, it is a website which enables people to advertise things they no longer need. The site then matches them to people who will take the items away for nothing. It gives your unwanted possessions a new lease of life and keeps them from going to landfill.

As luck would have it, before we got around to putting the trampoline on the site, we spotted a wanted ad from someone who was looking for one. A couple of emails later, there was a significant gap in our garden and a happy kid in Burton bouncing about on their new toy.

While on the site we placed a somewhat hopeful wanted ad for a small greenhouse and, rather unsurprisingly, we’re still waiting. But we did start to wonder just what was available for free in the local area.

The answer, it turns out, is practically everything.

So we thought it would be interesting to see if we could assemble a whole (imaginary) garden for nothing, sourced within a radius of 25 miles.

First stop for us, right on our doorstep, was the Swadlincote group. Top of the list of things offered was “Rockery stone” (please collect ASAP). Then we spotted loads of bricks and rubble which we could use as hardcore for our imaginary patio. Next up, well-rotted horse manure. And finally, three moulded garden chairs, “were white, once”.

Good news, we have a pile of horse muck, loads of rubble and some chairs to sit on while admiring it!

But there’s no rest for the wicked – next stop Derby.

Bagging four tonnes of topsoil was the work of a moment, as was another 50 rockery stones (it’s going to be a big rockery). Then we started to motor on – 26 two-foot patio slabs, and a load of sharp sand and ballast. Now we have something to put our chairs on. And some poor soul donated a garden chair and cushions “available because their shed blew down”.

Finally, in the Derby group, we hit the jackpot – “130 tonnes of synthetic astroturf” – enough for our garden, and to resurface the Pride Park Stadium on the side. (And I always find the synthetic stuff is so much better than natural astroturf!)

Just around the corner

Next stop on our freeloading tour was our home group – North West Leicestershire. Unfortunately our neighbours in Coalville and surrounds were either totally pleased with their possessions or rather tight-fisted because all we could get our hands on was a green plastic garden table and some pea shingle.

Perhaps Nottingham would be more generous?

Well, yes and no. Personally, I think the guy offering “mud” was being a little optimistic. But we did organise some security, with a concrete post and a wrought iron gate. And if the balloon goes up we’ll be safe in our new “Metal Anderson Shelter”!

But Hooray for Leicester!

So far our garden is lacking a certain something – plants to be exact. But Hooray for Leicester! We now have raspberry canes, as well as “3 garden plants (unidentified)”. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Our whistle stop tour is almost at an end. Burton gave us a barbecue and a pond, and in Birmingham, we laid our hands on some garden tools. At least we won’t be needing a lawn mower.

So that’s our Fantasy Landfill Garden. Let’s hope Freecycle gardening catches on. All we need now is a free house in which to build it – because I’m not having astroturf in my real garden.