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How do I fix this garden? Total newbie here.

(10 Posts)
LookingUpAtTheStars Fri 06-Nov-15 09:27:29

Front garden, doesn't get any sun at all until the late evening as it's in the shadow of the house, the grass is mossy and it can get quite waterlogged. There's also the huge ditch (I think it was supposed to be a plant border) around the edge.

I'm not looking to make it a show stopper (yet grin), but I would like it to be less of an embarrassment and much more normal looking.

But where do I start?

GreenSand Fri 06-Nov-15 09:56:17

What have your neighbours done?

Trim the hedge, pull out the weeds/ saplings sprouting near the front, cut the grass, and depending on how cold it is, apply an autumn feed and weed product.

Then find someone on here who knows about plants to see what would grow.

shovetheholly Fri 06-Nov-15 09:58:46

OK, this can be a beautiful space with a bit of work!

First things first... when we get a dry day, give the lawn a mow. If it gets waterlogged, I suggest a hover mower rather than a push one! Don't cut it too close first time around (there will be a lot of dead grass at the bottom - you want to have the mower on the highest setting. Get a garden fork and put a load of holes into it, much as you would fork over pastry for baking. In spring, once the grass starts regrowing, give it some lawn feed and mow weekly working to a progressively shorter cut. In a year, it will be much, much neater.

Get yourself a lawn edging tool (it looks like a half circle on a stick) and neaten up the edges of the lawn, chucking away the extra bits of grass. (Use a piece of string tied to two sticks to make sure you get a straight edge). Combined with a cut, you won't believe how much neater this will make it look.

Give the borders a good weed and perhaps think about widening them a bit - it's hard to tell from the picture, but they look quite narrow. You'll get a better result if they're 2-3 feet deep as you'll be able to plant some wider shrubs or even double plants up. Then get bags of cheap compost and put them over any bare earth. You want to cover it to a good depth - at least 2-3 inches. This will stop weeds regrowing until the spring and will really do the earth underneath loads and loads of good. If it is very waterlogged, you might want to add a bag of horticultural grit to the mix. This will create air pockets in the soil, making it less claggy. If it's really heavy clay, you can also add a bit of gypsum (often sold as a product called 'Claybreaker' in garden centres).

Personally, I'd think about adding another border in front of your low wall at the back of the picture (next to the street), as a bit of greenery there would look really pretty. Just dig out the turf, and put on some compost, as before.

You can think about adding evergreen shrubs now to get you through the winter - things like Mahonia or viburnum tinus will give you some structure and greenery to look at over the winter. When you plant them, make sure you dig a really, really big hole and add loads of compost. But I'd leave most of the planting until the spring now. Have a look at my shade gardening thread - there are lots of recommendations for plants that thrive in dark, wet conditions on there.

Good luck!

80sWaistcoat Fri 06-Nov-15 09:59:46

As above and also use a spade to cut into the edges and make neat. If anything is growing well in neighbours gardens then copy!

Google RHS and plants for damp shade.

LookingUpAtTheStars Fri 06-Nov-15 10:11:45

The neighbours have paved over their entire front garden to make the driveway bigger. If I owned the house I'd be inclined to do similar for ease but as I don't, I would like to make the best of it.

Looks like I have a lot of work to do!

funnyperson Fri 06-Nov-15 10:11:57

Masses of potential. Will be very pretty. Lovely size front garden.
I would probably start by mowing the lawn. Then rake it, aerate it and feed it.

You could then dig a bed by the side of the path about a foot wide. Spread a layer of horse poo and compost at least 2 ins thick. Plant snowdrops daffodils tulips wallflowers primroses and forget about it till spring. You will find out your soil type when you dig. Then you can decide what to sow for summer next year. Frothy is a modern look. Lavender is nice. Cosmos is pretty.

Dig a bed by the side of the little wall about 2 foot wide. Spread a layer of horse poo and compost. Order plant and seed catalogues and enjoy thinking about what you want to plant there (roses, fruit cordons, hollyhocks are some possibilities) and forget about it till spring.Plant it up in spring.

Trim back the hedge a bit

If those are roses in the middle of the garden, you could move them to the wall side to give room for the children to play.

LookingUpAtTheStars Fri 06-Nov-15 10:22:34

You've made me all excited now... but wait until you see the back garden, that is the big job! shock grin

shovetheholly Fri 06-Nov-15 10:30:09

grin You'll be surprised what you can achieve in a couple of hours each week!! A small but really consistent effort is all you need to create a lovely garden. (A lot of people make the mistake of doing loads of work one weekend and then leaving it for months. It doesn't work! Little and often, however, will yield results!).

funnyperson Fri 06-Nov-15 10:39:51

It is nice to start with the front garden.

On the RHS plant finder website tick the option for 'low maintenance' to get ideas. AGM plants are the best. Hardy plants will survive cold spells.

lidl aldi poundland and sales counters are perfectly good places to get plants. Bulbs and fruit trees are better got from reliable firms such as J Parker

funnyperson Fri 06-Nov-15 12:01:38

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