When faced with a nearly impossible backyard, one British homeowner refused to give up on his dream of having a vegetable garden. The yard featured a few feet of level ground followed by a sheer 50 foot chalk cliff, on top of which was the only usable plot of land. For a while, owner David Spearman climbed the cliff and rappelled down whenever he needed to reach the top of the yard. Eventually, he dreamed up this elegant DIY solution.

The homeowner is a fan of home improvement shows on television, and he turned that inspiration into the idea to build a huge wooden tower in his back yard. The tower boasts six flights of stairs that take Spearman and his wife all the way to the top of the gigantic cliff, allowing them to tend their garden without risking life and limb.

The top of the tower contains a wooden patio with a stunning view of the nearby river over the rooftops of neighboring houses. The homeowners are able to have their vegetable garden and enjoy the part of their yard that was previously almost unreachable. The tower took several months to build, and permission was only granted after several refusals by the local council. Now that it is done, however, neighbors with similar backyards are planning to copy the brilliant idea.

“‘I thought, all that land up there is being wasted,’ he said. ‘I could grow my vegetables up there and have a fantastic view while doing it.’ But to get up, he had to use ropes and ladders, and had to abseil down.”

“He got a local architect to draw up plans for the softwood tower, and planning permission was finally granted after several refusals. Because he was unemployed over the summer, he was able to help in the construction himself. “

“His next plan is to build a greenhouse on the land next to the platform and finally create his vegetable patch. Mr Spearman said his neighbours are all friends and don’t mind the tower, while one is even likely to copy it.”

“‘When we tell people we’ve built a staircase in the garden they say, “Oh, whatever”,’ he said. “‘But when they see the photos it blows them away.'”