Watch: Couple transform their garden to make room for 18ft skate ramp
A couple have given their ordinary garden and incredible transformation to make room for their dream 18ft skate ramp.
Hidden behind the doors of a newly built semi-detached home in Belper, Derbyshire, Jodie Powell, 29, and Ash Matkin, 33, have created a total skaters' paradise.
Having fallen in love with ramp skating, the couple were disappointed not to be able to go to the skatepark during lockdown.
"So, we just thought why don't we built our own?" Powell says.
Having forked out around £7,000, (£1,000 for the ramp and £6,000 for the remainder of the garden), the roller skate-mad pair are thrilled with their unusual outdoor feature.
The couple knew straight away that the garden - then just a simple flower bed - would be a perfect spot for their own ramp, but when lockdown restrictions were announced they were inspired to get going on the makeover.
By spending all their free time working in the garden, the area was quickly transformed, with video footage showing the duo assembling the 18ft long by 8ft wide ramp in just eight hours.
But other aspects of the transformation weren't quite so easy, with Powell and Matkin shifting around 20 tonnes of dirt and rock to create three different levels within the outside space.
As well as the skate ramp, the garden, which was completed in April this year, now contains a wild meadow section and lawn area that provides incredible views of the nearby countryside.
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Though there are still some smaller projects to complete - some greenery due to be grown on their back wall and some paint jobs elsewhere - the couple are thrilled with how the garden has turned out.
"It's a dream set up," explains Powell. "We really wanted a project for the garden when we bought the house at the end of February.
"The previous owners said they'd not done anything to the garden and for us, that was great because we loved the idea of working on it and instantly thought a ramp would be awesome in there."
While not without its difficulties, including having to carry materials up a ladder to the garden due to it being on the mid-level, Matkin's experience as a landscaper proved invaluable, along with the help of friends.
As well as being able to skate whenever they like, having a ramp in your own garden has other benefits with the plywood surface being easier for falls and an avoidance of crowds at busy public skateparks.
“It can be quite intimidating, especially when it's busy and being a nearly 30-year adult, doing something that can result in falling over a lot, it's so nice not to have that anxiety and do it in the comfort of my own home," Powell explains.
“The fact that it's wooden and not a concrete ramp as well, means it's a lot easier when you fall.
“It's also great for parties when people can come over to skate.”
Unfortunately Powell hasn't been able to use the ramp as much as she might have liked, after slipping and breaking her leg shortly after the project was completed last year.
Though she was given the go-ahead to begin learning to walk again in July and return to work as a tattoo artist in September, it took some time before she could again take up skating again.
But the draw of the garden ramp, provided the push she needed to lace up her skates once more.
"It was scary to go back on the skates knowing you've had an injury, but having the ramp there made me really miss it and I wanted to progress," she says.
"During the lockdown, there was a huge surge in roller skating and because of that there was a shortage of skates, so with this and seeing the ramp I was super desperate to get back out on it again."