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New garden planting design - advice please

(12 Posts)
silversixpence Sun 20-Mar-16 13:16:41

Our new garden is about 25x10m and was recently levelled and turfed by the previous owners. They also had two rows of long raised beds made down the left side of the garden.

I want to plant the raised beds with a cottage garden border eg echinacea purpura, lavender irises, rudbeckia, helenium etc but add some structure with shrubs. So far I have chosen choisya, hebe philadelphus and hydrangea. Does this sound like it would work? Any other suggestions for shrubs?

silversixpence Sun 20-Mar-16 13:20:26

I also thought it might be good to have a shrub border along the right side to balance it out more and would like to have a small veg garden at the back with a low fence and arch. This would be about 8m from the back of the garden - is it likely to make the garden feel smaller? i do have an allotment so it's not strictly necessary.

silversixpence Mon 21-Mar-16 11:46:07

Bump smile

Kr1stina Mon 21-Mar-16 14:35:57

Please tell me about how sunny it is , soil type and draining . And where ( roughly ) you live . Because I think that some of the plants you have listed like different conditions from each other .

silversixpence Mon 21-Mar-16 15:05:04

Thanks for replying - it is a west facing garden and we are in South London. I'm not sure about the soil but seems in quite good condition and not heavy or too wet.

shovetheholly Mon 21-Mar-16 17:18:16

Wow, lovely space. i'm very envious! My guess would be you're on London clay, but that is just a guess!

Several of the plants you mention like it hot and well-drained. So if you are on clay, you may need to dig in considerably quantities of horticultural grit to achieve the best effect with echinacea, lavender, irises (provided you're talking about the mediterranean irises that like to be baked and not the pool-side ones). Helenium like full sun but manage in slightly heavier soil.

Hydrangeas, rudbeckia, philadelphus, choisya are more tolerant of heavier clay however. Rudbeckia positively relish a bit of dampness and struggle in a very freely draining soil.

This is suggesting to me the possibility of two main beds - one of which is freer-draining and in the sunniest part of the garden where you do a kind of dry/prairie planting - this will also save on water in the summer. This would use a lot of repeat plants in drifts, particularly grasses to give texture. It will look fabulous in the summer, but barer in the winter. You can always add suitably architectural shrubs behind to give some winter structure. (Have a look at Beth Chatto's dry garden).

The other could be slightly shadier where you add lots of organic matter but less grit and be more of a year-round bed with evergreens mixed with sun/partial shade perennials.

silversixpence Tue 22-Mar-16 08:59:05

Thank you shovetheholly smile

We tend to compare the garden to our neighbours which is twice as big (an L shape which goes behind our garden) so its nice to remember it's still a good size!

It's a lovely day today and I've received a box of plants from Peter Nyssen so will be tackling the raised beds. Not sure whether to just remove the weed suppressing membrane or if this will just make more work long term?

silversixpence Sat 02-Apr-16 10:34:00

So I planted a few things and discovered we have very heavy clay under all the bark chippings and weed suppressing membrane! I have asked for some quotes for getting the garden cleared properly and may also ask a garden designer to do some initial plans but am a bit worried the costs will skyrocket.

Kr1stina Sat 02-Apr-16 15:02:51

If your are thinking of using a garden designer , ask three to visit and give you a quote .

Kr1stina Sat 02-Apr-16 15:04:39

Though I'm not sure what you mean by " getting the garden cleared properly " ? Don't you like the existing layout ? I thought it had just been done by the previous owners .

silversixpence Sat 02-Apr-16 17:47:26

Yes it is just that along the back and one side there is a lot of rubble (I think from an old patio) and brambles which need clearing. There may even be a fox den at the back according to someone who visited.

Kr1stina Sun 03-Apr-16 11:35:24

If you just need some land cleared you don't need a garden designer. Unless you really want one of course grin

You need a couple of strong lads with wheelbarrows and a skip

If your garden is heavy clay, all you can do is improve it ( by adding organic matter by the ton ) and work with it . There are plenty lovely plants that tolerate clay - see Holly's excellent , and prescient, post above .

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