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Problems with my garden :/

(14 Posts)
OrangeIsMyNewBlack Sun 19-Jul-15 17:08:46

I rent the bottom apartment of a house-turned-two-flats and outside we have an enclosed courtyard and garden. Steps to courtyard, then a four/five foot-wide irregularly shaped strip of garden with stones running through the middle, then path cutting horizontally to the back gate on the lefthand side, then the rest of the garden..... I hope that made sense...

My issue is that the whole garden has got problems with weeds and brambles, the grass is patchy, the ground is uneven and rocky, the earth is stony as fuck... And it's my responsibility to keep it maintained! I don't own a mower, but I do have a strimmer and secateurs. Been out there all damned day and barely made a dent in it!

Does anyone have any ideas on how to go about sorting this? Do I just try and dig it all up, replace the dirt and then re-sod everything?! Or can I get it sorted if I do it bit by bit?

I'm a massive newbie to gardening, so I'm very overwhelmed! Any advice would be great!

Notgrumpyjustquiet Sun 19-Jul-15 17:18:47

Depends if it was like that when you moved in, or if it was tidy when you moved in and you've let it get like that through neglect. If it was like that when you moved in I'd recommend that you speak to your landlord. Say it's too much for you to tackle alone and ask him/ her to tidy it up so that you can maintain it going forward, or claim some sort of bad back type affliction and say you're unfortunately not able to do anything about it. Gardens in rented properties are generally the responsibility of the tenant but you can't be expected to shell out to get it into a maintainable condition if it was completely overgrown to start with.

OrangeIsMyNewBlack Sun 19-Jul-15 17:26:18

It was worse when I moved in...! There was builders rubble in bags everywhere, everything was ten times more overgrown, the grass was even more sparse... They slashed everything back, removed the rubble, chucked some grass-seed about and went "there you go darlin'! On you pop!"

Qwebec Mon 20-Jul-15 00:59:08

I'd say if you like to garden, take in on. Divide the garden in portions and attack on sections at a time. If you dont like to garden maintain it to the level you are comfortable with, as long as you hand it back in the state you got it I don't see how the landlord can complain.

shovetheholly Mon 20-Jul-15 08:28:03

How do you get on with your neighbours? If you have a reasonable relationship, I would suggest having a 'community gardening day' where you take the plot and you turn it into a productive fruit and herb garden for the whole block!

It could be lovely - a few dwarf fruit trees, some herbs, strawberries, raspberries, loads of flowers.

You could ask your landlord to pay for the cost of the plants - £50 would go a very long way shopping at Aldi and Lidl for plants. It would be a 'selling point' for the flats too.

OrangeIsMyNewBlack Tue 21-Jul-15 17:06:15

It's just me and one other flat, and that flat is vacant! Have more or less decided to tackle it on my onesie, however this is gonna take a looong time!

ChilliAndMint Tue 21-Jul-15 17:34:47

This is so lovely OM..most of the gardens where I live are just full of discarded mattresses.

Once you've rid the lawn of weeds , I'd dig it over, perhaps adding some cheapo compost to improve the soil structure

Then I would cover it with landscape fabric, you can buy it by the metre, it's used for driveways.

Then order some gravel...the cheapest possible and 20 mm stuff( much cheaper at builders merchants) or it will be used as a litter tray.You'll need quite a lot so tell them the dimensions and they will calculate how much you need.

A few slabs dotted about to create a sort of path would break up the monotony.

Once this is down I'd plant up with perennial plants that are suitable for the conditions ( light /shade ). Make a cross in the fabric work in a bit of blood fish and bone and plant into soil then cover it back over with gravel.

A few slabs dotted about to create a sort of path would break up the monotony.

I'd recommend going to a proper nursery as they sell quality plants for a lot less than say B & Q.

You need some foliage to " frame" your garden..small shrubs, climbing plants, whatever.

You could utilise old pots and pans, willies etc as planters for herbs , bedding plants, strawberries or bulbs.

A few solar light would be nice too...Poundland or Hone Bargains are a good source for these.

Also consider plants that flower at different times for all year round interest.

Remember you'll want somewhere to sit to enjoy your new garden.

Lastly it is important to read the labels to see what height and width your plants will grow to dont want all the tall stuff at the front or placed to close together.


EmNetta Sat 25-Jul-15 13:31:56

Good ideas here, Chilli, but good luck finding the "old willies" for planting herbs (or anything else really).

ChilliAndMint Sat 25-Jul-15 13:34:16

OMG how funny is that!

Notgrumpyjustquiet Tue 28-Jul-15 20:29:00

Yes, brilliant advice and after you've spent a small fortune doing it up and you (or your landlord) decide it's time to stroll on, you'll get to leave it all behind. Get him to sort it or go to the park!

ChilliAndMint Tue 28-Jul-15 23:01:27

That's the problem with people thinking " it's only rented" gets my goat. You rent your "home" , not a place to doss.
Silly me forgot what century I am living I..

shovetheholly Wed 29-Jul-15 08:27:10

Yeah, a lot of people rent long term now, and it would be a shame if they didn't garden just because of that. I did my first garden in a rented house!

Even if money is very tight (which is not necessarily the case for all those who rent), you can make a place surprisingly nice with a compost bin made out of pallets, cheap plants from Poundland and the discounters, and a lot of imagination. Even if you do move (as I eventually did), you take the skills you've learnt with you. I like to think that in the future those skills will be needed, too - in another 20 years, we will have to green up a lot more space and grow a lot more of our own food too.

Notgrumpyjustquiet Thu 30-Jul-15 00:49:10

I agree with all of that, yes look after your rented property and be a good tenant, and I rented for 25 (yes) years before getting a mortgage but I was just trying to point out to the OP that she shouldn't feel any obligation to remediate the problems her landlord doesn't seem to want to resolve particularly when, under housing law, he need only give her 2 months notice to quit regardless of how lovely she has made the garden at her own expense.

shovetheholly Thu 30-Jul-15 08:45:40

Notgrumpy - yes, of course you are right and being very prudent in your advice! I feel bad that we have tenancies that are so precarious, for precisely this kind of reason - particularly as more and more people find themselves completely locked out of the housing ladder and renting for a very long time. sad

One thing I suggested on another thread with someone in a similar position was that a renter grows fruit and veg. You can get manure to improve the soil for free, and with a bit of clever purchasing, you can get seeds and fruit bushes very inexpensively from places like Aldi. Because you get crops quite quickly, the work can make a financial contribution to the household, so you're not just pouring money into something that you ultimately have to leave. The downside is that veg gardening is a bit more tricky than flowers so can be a bit discouraging at the start for a complete beginner.

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