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Totally clueless. Ideas/help needed please.

(14 Posts)
Alfabetibisgetti Thu 15-Oct-15 09:17:12

I have my house on the market. I feel we need more kerb appeal but I haven't a clue what I can do, esp as its now heading into winter.
Our garden space is tiny but I want to make it as attractive and look as usable as I can. It has a patch of grass, very stony border and is on a fairly busy road.
What can I do to add some greenery/colour/screening?
As we're hoping to move I'd like to spend as little as possible or, if I can use containers, get things we can take with us.
It's north facing.
About 15' square.
Thanks for any ideas.

Nonnainglese Thu 15-Oct-15 09:22:12

I think I'd buy pansies and polyanthus and put them in pots (cheap ones from B&Q or similar. You can get tryas of plants there too, use potting compost.
Mow the lawn and line the pots up along the border. Screening is more difficult, bamboos will do that but they're expensive to buy and won't be growing quickly at this time of year. They could go in pots.

Just tidying it up might be sufficient, no weeds, grass cut, no litter etc?

HeyMacWey Thu 15-Oct-15 09:22:51

Planters with pansies will brighten things up - perhaps some box to add greenery?
What about a standard bay by the front door- pinterest is good for ideas.
What age is your house?

shovetheholly Thu 15-Oct-15 09:47:07

Do you have a house lined up? If so, I would think about this in terms of THAT house, and get things that you can take with you.

Topiary gives you an instant facelift and worked really well in symmetrical configurations- I'm thinking things like box balls in either terracotta pots (for a more traditional look) or metal containers (for a more modern one). Clipped lollipop bay trees are also lovely. Plants can be purchased at discounters (check Aldi, Lidl, B&M etc) for relatively small amounts of money - think £10-15 each. The bay won't like the north-facing environment, but will tough it out for as long as you need to sell the house (it should then go on a south-facing side!). The box is tough and will be fine in shade.

I'd definitely think about accentuating the path to the front door and the front door itself. You can do a lot to lead the eye away from problem areas by repeat planting along that line. Your problem is that there's not going to be much growing between now and next spring - and you need to be very careful not to buy things like herbaceous perennials that will actually just vanish into the earth at the time you need them!

Invest a bit in slightly larger, evergreen plants that you take with you may make all the difference - I would recommend looking at Erysmium 'Bowles Mauve' because this flowers all winter for me, and looks lovely with bright purple flowers and silver foliage. Also, hardy phormiums, fatsia, viburnum tinus, hellebores, evergreen ferns will give you winter interest in a north-facing garden.

herderofcats Thu 15-Oct-15 10:01:53

Last week my Lidl had box balls in - might be some left near you?

If you have a look in a garden centre, they'll probably already have some winter tubs planted up.

Otherwise as a pp said, pansies are very jolly. You might like ornamental cauliflowers too - sturdy plants with a good blob of colour.

Alfabetibisgetti Thu 15-Oct-15 10:10:14

This is great!

I had thought about bamboo but assumed it wouldn't go in a pot, so that's something I can look at as I would like some height esp towards the front to screen the road.

We don't have a house to go to. We're going to take a while to sell, mainly due to teeny garden sad
But will take a trip to b&q for some containers and look at everything you've suggested so far.
Thank you flowers

Another quick question if I may?
I had some fuchsia in pots and they've obviously died back. Are they done or will the come back next year? Do I need to prune/trim them back?
Sorry, I really am clueless blush

Hornydilemma Thu 15-Oct-15 10:12:07

My experience of fuschia is that it's VERY hard to kill, so it should come back OK. Don't know about pruning though - if they look v untidy I'm sure a bit of a trim won't hurt them!

shovetheholly Thu 15-Oct-15 10:19:05

Don't you dare apologise! Everyone starts somewhere with gardening. smile

Fuschias - some are hardy, which means they will survive the winter. Cut them back by a half to two thirds either now or in spring and give them a good dollop of compost on the bit where the stems meet the ground, as this will protect them from frost. (If in pots, you might want to bubble wrap the pot because it is far more likely to freeze through than the ground).

Non-hardy fuschias hate the cold and will need to be put in a greenhouse or shed to survive (or a cool windowsill in a porch or something - 5-10 degrees C is about what you're looking for).

Keep them dampish, but not waterlogged.

This reminds me that I have a load of non-hardy plants that I need to get protected!!

gingeroots Thu 15-Oct-15 11:43:46

shovethe holly - always such great suggestions ,liking your wallflower and viburnum suggestions as I too have frontage in dire need of brightening up .

My own twopennyworth is that B&Q have some nice largeish cyclamens ( 3 for £5 ) and they flower all winter ( I think ) in pots .

I got some blue planters from poundstretcher some blue "feet" from 99p shop
Of course I'd rather have terracotta ,but needs must sometimes .I got these both in blue and they honestly don't look too bad .Just remember that you need good drainage so poke holes and raise pots on feet in winter ( replace with saucers in summer ) off ground .

Oh and fuschia's seem fairly easy and good value .

Please correct mistakes as neccessary knowledegable ones smile

shovetheholly Thu 15-Oct-15 13:02:50

Thanks ginger!! I tried to select stuff that would do well on a north-facing front, so if yours is a different aspect let me know and I'll have a think. (The viburnum is tough and will cope with any conditions - the perennial wallflowers are supposed to like sun, but they do just fine in my north-facing, shady back garden - I think provided it's not absolutely deepest, darkest shade and they have a bit of grit dug in around the roots, they cope. I've had mine 3 years and, cross my heart and hope to die, they have never stopped flowering in all that time).

Smashing idea on the cyclamens - you're dead right, they're lovely all winter! Those pots are good value too.

gingeroots Thu 15-Oct-15 17:45:42

I'm someone who is very newly converted to gardening and overwhelmed with zeal .But lack knowledge ,experience and patience !

I'm currently working on my backgarden ,my front forecourt is a whole other thing .I've put some pots on it but have plans to plant along each side .

One side has a sturdy and ugly fence and the other has a collapsing fence .I'm thinking growing something rambling over the sturdy fence - ? jasmine and creating a hedge with various plants on the other .

Was thinking different plants for " hedge " fuschia ,hydrangea ,and ... I'd like lush ,slightly overgrown effect .I'm not one for clipped ,neat lines ( tho do love the look of cloud pruning ) to soften our very hard frontage and house .

The forecourt faces north west ,more west than north I think .The fences are about 20foot long .

But forecourt will be a major undertaking I think - need to remove some little paving stones ,improve the soil etc first . So bit nervous ,gearing myself up .
Plus it will be expensive I think .

shovetheholly Fri 16-Oct-15 08:30:23

ginger - the zeal is what is important, everything else will come surprisingly quickly!! grin Honestly, a lot of it is confidence - I had a real light bulb moment when I realised that even much greater and more experienced gardeners than I will ever be have failures!!

First of all, that's a lovely big space to play with out your front. You will be able to do something brilliant! Second of all, I'm always on thin ice telling people that "Gardening needn't be expensive" because I can never resist buying a nice plant I don't have. It is an addiction! But for those with greater self-control and willpower than I have, it honestly need not be that £££. There are a lot of places that sell very, very cheap plants - decent stuff, too, not just naff carpet bedding - if you're in the UK, then Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons are all well worth keeping an eye on. And growing from seed is easier than you might think for most plants, and saves a fortune in those cases where you need a big ole clump of something and not just a little bit.

I love your idea of starting with the peripheries, and working in! For your sturdy fence, I guess 20ft is quite a bit of space, and that you can potentially get a few climbers along it should you want to. To fill it quickly, you could either repeat plant with the same climber, which will give you a cleaner, more modern look or mix it up more traditionally, with some evergreen for year-round interest (clematis armandii, tracylospermum jasminoides, the rather amazing winter-flowering Garrya Elliptica 'James Roof' - the latter two need a slightly more sheltered spot if you have one!). I always mean to do contemporary, and faithfully promise DH that I will be restrained, but then my love of different plants takes over and I end up choosing climbers with different flowering seasons because I can't resist the variety! (While I haven't seen those aforementioned climbers cheap, Aldi regularly have climbers on offer for around £1.80, and there are usually jasmines, solanum, passiflora, and various kinds of deciduous clematis).

Hedging on the other side - there are sort of two options that I can see and it depends a bit on how much space you have and how it's configured and how much screening you need from whatever is the other side. Firstly, you could plant something amazing along the boundary (my current favourite suggestion is hornbeam) and then put shrubs in front to soften. Secondly, you could simply use the shrubs themselves as the boundary. The advantage of the former is that it keeps the boundary very clear, gives you a stable and uniform visual backdrop, and offers more privacy with a complete screen - you can control the height. The advantage of the latter is that there is no hedge cutting!! (Again, Aldi just had a range of shrubs in - again, for around £1.80 each - including some rather attractive hollies! I think many stores may have some left over).

A mix of evergreens and deciduous shrubs will give you year-round cover, and if you plan it right, you should be able to ensure you have something colourful pretty much all year. Talking of colour - think about your scheme, too, because you can get suitable things in such a huge range of leaf colours from silver to zingy green to copper! Do you have space for a mix of heights? If so you could even punctuate it with a small tree.

Gosh, I think I'd better stop before I start recommending long, long lists of plants and waxing lyrical about manure and compost mixes. It is such an exciting project, though! grin

gingeroots Sun 18-Oct-15 20:23:02

Thanks so much holly that's great .

I love hornbeam ,there's the most beautiful tree near me ,it's on a site which is due to be developed and I'm hoping to get it listed to stop it being chopped .Tho realistcally they'll allow it to be chopped in return for planting something else .

But I think a shrub hedge will fit better so have added your lovely suggestions to my list .

Saw this in the park today ( v proud that I managed to identify it by googling ) and wonder how suitable that might be .Maybe better in my garden .

shovetheholly Mon 19-Oct-15 15:45:27

I have a leycesteria in my garden - they are very pretty but they self-seed all over the place! (Which is actually nice because you can give them away, but you do need to dig them up!). They are also quite loose for a hedge - it depends a bit whether you're looking for a sort of half-see-through shrub or more of an opaque screen. I have mine next to a fargesia bamboo and then a big ole leaved Fatsia, which is nice big-leaf-small-leaf contrast!

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