If I post a picture of my garden...(23 Posts)
Would one of you vipers help me to work out how best to tackle it.
We were going to pay to get a designer/landscaper in and have the whole thing overhauled.
Unfortunately we've had some bad news regarding DS1's health which means we're going to be spending more time in hospital than out of it over the next year minimum and it's not a close hospital so the travel and other arrangements mean our budget has decreased quite a lot, so now we're going to do what we can our selves.
However we're novices.
I'd like to break everything into manageable chunks and try and roughly budget each bit to keep on track.
Is that something anyone would be willing to help me with please?
I know virtually nothing but I like to think the changes we have made to our garden are good so more than happy to try and help
What do you want to use it for would be the first question. Do you need space for kids, dogs, grow veg, or just to relax? Do you like gardening or do you want something low maintenance? How much stuff do you need to store? Maybe if you could post a list of your requirements and then it is easier to work out a plan that will meet your needs.
The key things for us are, in order of importance.
1. Safe for a 1yo, 7yo, 9yo
2. Low maintenance - we won't have a lot of time at home to work it.
3. Low cost
4. I'd like a small veggie area (down the end left)
We like to all sit out on the decking in the summer for all our meals and we need to replace the shed, the current one is rotting.
Do you need extra parking? It looks like your neighbours use the end of their gardens for this purpose?
If so what about big double gates at the end, opening to a garden width pergola that could be used as a shady play area when the cars aren't parked there or in winter somewhere to keep the frost off the car.
Do you like the central path? Do you need to regularly access the back of the garden?
I'd do away with the central path and create a new no mow grass/ large lawn the width of the deck to the fence. Possibly leaving a 6inch soil border along the fence just big enough for tucking in a few climbers to give a colourful display whilst sitting on the deck.
If you're replacing the shed, would it be better at the bottom on the other side? If you want veggies it looks like the deck side of the garden is sunnier (hence the deck being there) so this would seam a more logical side to put the veg bed.
Regarding the shed and children...what goes in it? Do you also want a play cottage/ play equipment built into the design? If so what are your priorities- trampoline, play cottage, swing, slide, monkey bars, climbing wall?
A bespoke shed can be very little extra on a standard shed and could be divided to offer play cottage from one aspect- maybe onto the lawn and then shed section opening in to he middle of the garden and possible even potting shed/ half glass the other.
Do you want lots of plants?
What style do you like - cottage, formal, exotic?
We can't change the parking unfortunately, we have 2 spaces just past the far fence so it's ok.
The back garden is our main way in and out, we don't really use the front door so a pathway is helpful.
Our original plan was to get a bespoke shed built where the slabs are at the end of the left and then do away with the current shed and use the space for veggies.
We cannot find anyone to build a shed that is shaped that way and if we get a regular shaped one we lose a lot of space down there, although it has the bonus of already having a decent base. We have no clue what is under the current shed, we haven't live here long.
I had this huge plan of artificial grass and a lovely shed, maybe a tiny green house and a some lovely raised beds for my veg.
Unfortunately I need to face reality, I'm going to be spending a long time in and out of hospitals 3 hours away so I simply don't have the budget for something as lovely as I would have liked.
I like a cottage style garden, something really homely and colourful.
We got some quotes for someone to do the strip of grass on the left, the cheapest was £450, which isn't do able for us now.
The shed will hold garden tools and we were going to get one of those little metal/plastic small stores for the kids bikes/toys.
We don't have any need for a playhouse or anything.
Thank you for helping btw. I had this huge dream to make my little garden a lovely place for DS to toddle around in and for me to potter in the day time I was hoping for it to aid my recovery of PND but now it's going to have to be scaled back to the basics.
sorry am back now.
It is hard, when you move somewhere you have lots of lovely ideas about what you would like to do and then if something comes along that makes that impossible it makes it hard not to lose the vision completely.
ok well I think if you want low maintenance and easy to do in the first place then do as little as possible but have a long term vision still as at some point in the future you will be able to do it how you would like it, you just want something in the meantime that is workable, easy, cheap and still nice to look at.
so with regards to a safe area for the kids, the patch of grass on the left is fine. Go over it with a rake to get any rubbishy bits out, chuck some grass seed on it and let the weather do the rest. hubby just got some cheap spikey shoe things you put on your feet and walk up and down on the grass then he sewed a load more seed and the difference is great, perfectly acceptable for children to play around on. probably take you an hour in total and be very cheap.
I would probably say that long term you might be best at looking to move the path over to one side rather than down the middle as it will give a wider impression to the garden especially if the path meanders rather than goes in a straight line but for now the path looks fine as it is.
Could a veggie patch go on the right hand side where there is a bricked off area or is that something else?
Shed wise I would try and work out the minimum size you need and see if you can get one to fit on that patch down the end. We have a couple of sheds, one is actually very small but it is enough for what we need (well obviously we have another one as well but you know what I mean). Some of the larger bike stores might be worth looking at, they are surprisingly spacious and you could be able to get your gardening stuff in it too. could you perhaps get 2 of the bike store type things in different sizes? one could go on the left and one on the right. if they are wooden then you can paint them with one of the outdoor coloured paints or you could put some painted trellis up them (even if nothing grows up it yet, if it is painted then it looks more interesting immediately and much more cottage garden like).
plant wise - bushes are good, they require little effort when it comes to gardening in my experience.
our garden has a lot of lavender, easy, grows well, seems hard to kill, smells nice, looks pretty. I have been known to just turn a whole section of the garden over to scattering wild flower seeds and just leave them to it.
The good news is a cottage garden is the cheapest style to have. Its also the easiest to get free plants for.
Are you on freecycle and preloved? They're a good source of cottage plants. You could place a wanted advert. Lots of cottage plants can be easily grown from seed and theres much pleasure in that. Ebay is another good source as are lidl/aldi /b &m. Some packs of seeds are 29p
Bulbs are cheap in b & m too. I also buy up the reduced to clear potted bulbs from supermarkets and diy sheds often for around 10p when the flowers are just starting to turn - at least you know the bulbs are good, the size of them when grown. Its something to look forwards too next year. Sometimes they get a bit of a second wind and other buds open once they're planted in the free space of the garden.
I'm doing my garden on a budget. Its nice in many ways to be forced to do things slowly, to watch your garden grow.
We have a 99p store near by. I brought 5 bare rooted roses last month and several honeysuckles, they're all doing really well. I also brought two packs of three hosta roots and i've got four good plants out of them, two are very week.
Our local Homebase tends to reduce plants on a Wednesday am. A big investment I've made was for two topiary yew pyramids £10 each (from £50). I also purchased a standard ball topiary privet for £6. Not bad for a 6ft evergreen to add some structure to my beds.
Now I start adding all this up its not quite so on a budget. But the costs are spread out. Its very much a few pounds here and there.
Regarding your lawn have you checked out offcuts on ebay and the possibility of laying it yourself. If you can be a little flexible on size there are sometimes big bits of fairly nice quality stuff. Have you got a rough idea of the dimensions?
A basic starter greenhouse is £10 for a four tier plastic covered metal framed shelf job. It would stand against the house and get you started at propagating and growing from seed for a year or two. Redoing the whole garden is a big project so maybe focusing on one or two element for this first year is the way forward. The cheap 2 ltr plastic fizzy drinks bottles make great cloches. You just chop off the bottom and bury them a little into the ground over your vulnerable plant, minus the lid for ventilation. Great for young tomato plants and keeping slugs off your lettuce.
If the shed is still functional put it on future years list. This year use pots/ growbags for veg and maybe focus on salad crops. Just start with a few tomatoes, a cucumber and cut and come again lettuce. You can still get grow bags for 99p and no doubt could fit four or more on that little patio area at the end of the garden. The grow bags will make a good soil contribution for your veg beds when they happen.
If the path is functional and its your main route in/ out it would seam practical to keep it. Have you thought about painting sections of it with any odds of gloss paint you have?
You could have hopscotch, kids hand/ foot prints - I'm sure pinterest has lots of ideas. Even snakes and ladders/ draughts etc. the DC could paint pebbles to be the draughts pieces.
Another low cost thing to start that will save you money long term and reap rewards is a compost heap. Sometimes local councils do really heavily subsidised compost bins. Ours used to do them for £11.
In the bed next to the decking is that a striking red robin? They're meant to be quite easy to propagate and make nice colourful evergreen border shrubs see RHS website for taking softwood cuttings to propagate. If you take twice the number of cuttings you want for yourself theres always the possibility of doing plant swaps at some point in the future.
On the subject of propagation have you thought about asking family/ friends if you can take small cuttings from anything/ everything you like in their gardens? Most people throw away bin loads of prunings that you could be converting into new plants.
Pinterest is great for creating a wish list of ideas. Lots of people post great budget ideas like raised beds made of old tyres. Cheaper and in many ways more practical than making from decking boards.
If your deck is your main seating area for enjoying your garden in summer, I would plant around it. Is there lights in the deck? This will make a nice effect on the plants.
Sounds like you're planning on keeping the decking? I think i would move the decking (or have a patio area) at the house end of the garden, but offset to reflect the angles at the other end. I'd have some raised beds at the far end, again following the same offset (as long as it gets plenty of sun down there. I would keep lawn in the middle and replace the path with individual slabs, so it is less linear - the garden seems quite narrow so it would make sense to try to accentuate the width.
If you are going to replace the shed and would ideally like a greenhouse, maybe think about a potting shed? I'd probably keep it where it is to save having to build a new base and remove the old.
Plant-wise, i'd go for a low maintenance mix of shrubs for structure, climbers to soften the structural parts, and bulbs and hardy perennials for interest. I'd also avoid having long borders down the sides as that again will make the garden look narrow.
Any help? Difficult without really seeing the garden and knowing budget etc, so this may be a bit more than you have in mind.
That is all really helpful everyone, thank you!
I'd love a potting shed.
My garden is a forever project (pics on profile) and I am trying to make an all year round interest with plants that are ever green (Fatso Japonica, Jasmine, and grasses), winter flowering (like Cammelias and cherry blossom and Anemones) and spring interest, so bulbs like tulips, daffodils and muscati are a big part of it.
If you want to make it easy, you could just go with lavender surrounding your deck, would give you a lovely scent in summer. Or a mix of evergreen varieties.
But, what is your budget?
This is a good offer for 'cottage garden' plants for this year
you will have to pot up the seedlings before you put them in your flower beds.
I think it would be nice to have a bit of trellis above the fence to give your garden height at either side. Then dig a little flower bed the length of the garden next to the fence. Plant climbers such as honey suckle, jasmine, clematis and roses and at their base this year plant the perennials, in the autumn you can plant your spring bulbs.
Your veg patch is more likely to do well if it is a raised bed I think, and a it is quite small divide it into 4, for crop rotation and to get perhaps one section for fruit, one for herbs, one for tomatoes and marigolds and onions and one for whatever else.
Bespoke garden sheds are expensive and there are lots of special offers on existing sheds. You could get an octagonal shed or a hexagonal one?
I'm not keen on artificial grass. Perhaps you could have a camomile lawn next to the decking?
other good shed website
other good shed website
would something like this shed fit that space?(the price includes installation)
If you are trying to keep things simple and cheap, then I agree that once you have replaced the fence and shed, a narrow bed with low-maintenance year-round interest shrubs and climbers might be best. Honeysuckle and jasmine offer scent too. You could have some big planters for colourful annuals and veg on or near the deck.
Personally I'd ditch the idea of a veg patch for the next year or so, until you've more time. It will take an amount of soil prep, weeding, watering etc, which likely you'll not have the appetite for. You could always put a raised bed in the space where veg will eventually go, but instead of soil/compost use it as a sandpit, or else add a bird feeding station/bug hotel/etc in the "gap" in the meantime.
I'd be tempted to add a deeper shrub border around the boundaries, as shrubs are generally lower maintenance and you can choose them to get something in flower over a long period, then a nice backdrop the rest of the time.
Good ground-cover plants will help - Pulmonaria, Ajuga, geraniums, etc - smother out the weeds but need little care themselves. You can then get rid of them and add choicer specimens when you've more time. If too expensive then weed fabric with bark chips on top will keep weeds at bay. If it's sunny enough then nasturtiums are a good, low maintenance annual easy to grow from seed in the gaps whilst shrubs are getting established.
Pretty up the deck area with pots - get large ones and add water-retaining gel crystals and slow release fertilizer so they need less attention. Where you put the deck for me would depend on when you will use it and where the sun will be at that time - if for evening relaxation then putting it where there's evening sun is a good idea!
Hope all goes well with your DS.
Thanks for all the replies!
I don't know what plants are already there, except a rose at the left hand side of the grass, closest to the house.
This used to be my Mum's home several years ago and she loved roses so that is staying because it was special to her but I don't think I want to keep anything else.
I do want some veg/salad leaves even if it is just salad. We grow veg every year and the kids love picking their dinner so it's important to us that even if they're all in pots, we have something.
I love the idea of painting the patio in bright colours for the kids to enjoy, like they have on playgrounds, I'll do the path too, I can't move it, it leads directly to the back gate which we use as our main entrance.
The decking is the main entertaining area, it has little lights built into it. The plants in the brick beds by the current shed are herbs currently but I'd like to put come lovely colourful flowers in.
I'm getting a lot more confident and happier about it all again now, I think I can do it, even on a smaller budget. I'm not sure what the budget is yet, it will depend on what the hospital say in regards to the time we have to spend away in the year.
Thank you all again,
You're very welcome. All the very best for the year ahead.
I'm place marking, lots of excellent ideas here.
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