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What would you do with my garden with no time and no money?

(16 Posts)
Sadik Sun 18-Sep-16 20:38:50

- or at least, not much money, and very low ongoing time committment?

The main part of the garden is 20 foot x 9 foot - in the pictures I've attached, the long fence on the right is on the South side, so loads of sunshine.

I've got land elsewhere including an acre of intensive veg + some cut flowers and 2 x 72 foot tunnels, so (a) whenever the weather is right in spring/summer I'm working, and (b) when I do have time off I'd rather be down the beach or doing something other than gardening!

Until recently the garden was half play area + half propagation/salads with a chicken run at the end, because I just had 1/2 acre rented growing land. But now the only propagation I do at home is starting toms/peppers in the greenhouse, and dd is a teenager & doesn't want swings, a football space or pet chickens grin. I've pretty much put it all back to grass, and trying to figure out what the hell to do now . . .

shovetheholly Mon 19-Sep-16 07:27:52

sadik - I am so impressed that you are managing such a lot of land. That is a HUGE amount of work you are doing.

I grinned when I heard you say your teenager no longer wants swings, football or chicken! You think like a Mum - everyone else comes first. But what about you? What would you really love from this space? It sounds to me like you have a hell of a lot on, so what about a space for YOU to relax in? What would that look like/consist of?

You're clearly an expert sower and propagator, so you could definitely do an ornamental garden from cuttings and cheap seed. You can literally beg, borrow and steal your garden!! I would maybe start by getting rid of the concrete path and use your lawn instead, perhaps with stepping stones if it gets muddy in winter? Then you can do big curvy beds little by little, improving the soil, and aiming to fill them slowly with plants that you will nurture on from tiny. For the first couple of years while they get established, you could fill gaps with annuals?

CodyKing Mon 19-Sep-16 07:32:13

Move the small green houses - and replace with pots - lots of different pots

Cut back everything on the left to creat more light and space

Add table and chairs or a relaxer ....

Palomb Mon 19-Sep-16 07:36:28

Maybe an orchard?

sentia Mon 19-Sep-16 07:46:41

I'd start with a good tidy up to get most of the equipment out of sight, it will make a big difference if you're not looking at wheelbarrows etc. Sell the slide etc on eBay if no one uses it any more. Then I would deal with the small weeds around the edges, again it will make a big difference if the grass is just grass.

Once you have a clean slate, I agree with holly perhaps whatever budget you do have should go on getting the concrete path removed - then the bones of the garden are easier to work with and less utilitarian? You can take your time finding structural elements to grow from cuttings etc - small shrubs and so on, while you do the tidying?

Sadik Mon 19-Sep-16 08:22:29

Thank you so much everyone. I agree the concrete path at the right is horrible, and long term should go, but short term needs to stay until I think of a good alternative as I've got a woodshed at the far end of the garden & have wood fired heating so need a hard path to take barrows back & forth in the wet (though it doesn't need to be there or a straight line).

Sorry, I should have said, my budget such as it is to start with is going to be for getting the small patio area by the back door re-done - the cold frames will go up to the field, then lose that concrete & have something more attractive. The wheelbarrows etc are generally away, I was having a tidyup and despairing, so thought I would ask the wisdom of MN!

holly - thankyou! I do have some paid help on the field at peak season, (and also a tractor grin ) no it's not quite as bad as it sounds, but there is always something to do . . .

shovetheholly Mon 19-Sep-16 08:42:40

Blimey, I bet there really IS always something to do!! I can't even comprehend how much hard work it must be. smile I find an allotment bad enough!!

Like you, I have wood storage at the end of the garden. It felt somehow like the logical place to put it. However, I'm starting to regret this. It means that when it is snowy and icy I have to trek all the way down and lug a basket full of logs up my sloping garden. It would actually work way better nearer my house. And cut wood isn't exactly unattractive, is it? A good log store could almost be a hard-working kind of garden partition. So I'm trying to think of ways of integrating it into the garden design, perhaps into a patio nearer the house. I wonder if a similar idea would work for you??

Lancelottie Mon 19-Sep-16 08:47:43

Could you keep the hard path, but cut the lawn into a long oval so the path broders a large bed? Having herbs and flowers down the edge of the concrete would blend it in.

Try multicoloured sage (grows like topsy for me), lavender, thyme. All things you can ignore most of the year.

I mow mine when it gets too rampant [crap gardener emoticon]

dodobookends Mon 19-Sep-16 11:43:22

Maybe divide it up into 'rooms' with curved beds, a shrub or two to create S-bends and maybe a pergola from reclaimed wood, and put in a focal point so your eye is led somewhere other than straight down the long path to the shed.

Sadik Mon 19-Sep-16 19:37:17

Lots of good ideas here smile Lancelottie I really like the idea of a curved bed with the path making a straight edge & softening plants at the edge.

Sadik Mon 19-Sep-16 21:24:13

holly - I think you're really right about figuring out exactly what I want the garden to do for me - it used to be a utilitarian space, so I'm in the habit of thinking of it as a task rather than a resource IYKWIM.

I think that I've got various things I want - firstly, that it looks pleasing out of my kitchen window, and also when I go out to hang up washing / fetch wood / tend baby plants in the greenhouse. And then secondly that I have a more enclosed/private feeling space for sitting out there, maybe with a picnic-style bench as well as the seats I've already got (which I do really like). The LH side is good in that respect with the vines & kiwi, but I need to think about making the RH side feel less open/bare.

One nice thing also is that I've been talking with a friend who may be moving into a place with not much garden, with the possibility of garden sharing (there are very few people I'd be happy to do that with, but she's definitely one) so we can look at a space probably at the end behind the greenhouse where she could have a couple of veg beds.

On a separate note, I did start off with the wood up by the house, before deciding where to build a woodshed. The disadvantage I found was that it's quite messy, in terms of the sawdust, bits of bark etc generated, and I think I'm happier taking a barrow down once a day, and having that detritus well away from the house. Also, it's just quite big - I think where people have a little log shed for a supplementary fire, it's attractive, but a winter's worth of wood for central heating is quite a lot of space to take up.

shovetheholly Tue 20-Sep-16 07:44:08

Ahhhh yes, I hear you on the mess caused by a wood pile. I hadn't thought of that. Maybe I need to reconsider my own plans!! grin I am impressed by the sound of your wood-fired CH system. It sounds SO green.

What way is your garden facing? I hear you on making it all feel more private (I have major overlooking issues too). However, am also mindful of the need not to shade your greenhouse, and I fear a solid boundary of tall shrubs along the right hand fence might well do that if the sun regularly comes from the right of the picture with the greenhouse in it. So maybe you could have some areas that are more open (the middle) and two areas that are more private and enclosed (the patio, the end). Being really brave and planting some tall things closer to the house around the patio to screen it could work? If you planted a small tree and some bushes where that tree stump? is - near your washing pole - you would have a screen for the patio and a high back of border for a (roughly fan-shaped?) bed in the middle section...

shovetheholly Tue 20-Sep-16 07:45:01

Oh, and having a friend you trust enough to garden-share with is absolutely priceless!

Hufflepuffin Tue 20-Sep-16 08:08:39

I think every garden needs a nice swing seat...

Sadik Tue 20-Sep-16 08:44:15

I think that woudl work nicely to have some shrubs just around the washing pole - I'm wondering about a curved bed (sort of quarter circle) at the near end of the lawn, with lowish shrubs in that corner, maybe 4-5 foot or so, but just to give a feeling of being a little more enclosed.
I'm lucky in that my neighbours that side are lovely, so no real overlooking problems, it's more a cosier (is that the right word?) feeling I want.
The patio bit is nicely enclosed with a higher wall, which just needs some softening climbers on it - and to be rid of the really awful cracked concrete!
Wood fired central heating is great - not just from eco POV but also cheap to run compared to gas or oil smile

shovetheholly Tue 20-Sep-16 08:51:31

Yes, I know what you mean about privacy!! And YY to the quarter-circle bed idea, that would look brilliant and really make your patio feel private! Could you move the washing line up the garden/use a rotary up there instead or is it shadier at the far end?

I wonder if you can just lay a new patio over that concrete? Is it reasonably level? If so, it could save you £££. Some strategically placed pots would transform it, too, and climbers the wall will make it feel so verdant!

Sometimes I get such a feeling of excitement about the garden projects on here! This is one of them!

Oh, and I was in Morrison's last week and they have some really good (though small) shrubs for £2-3. If there's one near you, it might be worth a check?

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