Help me make over my garden..please, i haven't got a clue!(13 Posts)
we moved into our house last summer. It needed loads of work so the garden had to take a back seat. It's about 70ft and is nearly completely gravelled apart from a few overgrown beds. We've had some quotes which are too much so have decided to tackle it ourselves.We have two small dds so want mainly lawn so have decided to get shovels and start shovelling up the gravel this weekend. Question is, what's the process of turfing? is it easy to do yourself? Also has anyone got any advice as to what to do with the beds. We have a TINY budget but want to plant something that looks ok but needs very little work. As I said we haven't got a clue about gardening but just want it to look half decent Any advice would be gratefully received. (oh, I know it's probably the wrong time of year to be gardening, but we really want to get it done so the kids can play out)
I'm no gardener but can recommend a couple of things:
Put your gravel on freecycle so you don't have to get rid of it yourselves. Someone will want it!
There's a good book called "Gardening from Scratch" by Gay Search - it's a BBC book which accompanied a series a few years ago. Straightforward, good advice and one of the gardens they feature sounds very much like yours (or what you want yours to end up like IYKWIM). Your library mught have it.
thanks for that, Zog. originally we were going to get a skip to get rid of the gravel, then I thought why don't we bag it up and advertise it for free, but wasn't sure where to advertise. What's freecycle??
My dh turfed out lawn and I have to say, it didnt look too hard and he did it very well. Loads of companies who sell turf also have advice on how to lay it like this one
For the beds, if you dont mind waiting why not buy some bulbs? they are much cheaper than buying grown plants and dc's can help plant them. Try to choose hardy perenials so you wont have to worry about them in frost, and they will come back year after year.
Evergreen shrubs are also good for beds, maybe some flowering ones so you have a bit of colour in the summer.
I swear by alan titchmarsh how to be a gardner for a good book to get you started.
thanks for the advice, that website will definately come in handy. I think a trip to the library for some books might be a good idea!
You can join as many groups as you like near to where you live - I belong to 3.
Also, I've seen people offering plants on freecycle, so this could also be a way of filling your beds cheaply.
Grass seed doesn't take long to establish.
Have a look at what plants you already have in your boarders. It maybe that they just need a good cutting back.
What about some hanging baskets a bit later in the year dotted around.
Okay - I would suggest that you first decide on a basic plan for your garden. The idea is that you don't do it all at once, but as time and money allows.
Watch where the sun goes and decide whether you want to sit in the sun or shade.
Your seating area could be left as gravel at least for this year. You could pave it in the future when you've got more money available.
Then decide where and how big you want your lawn and flowerbeds.
If you've got flowerbeds in the sun you can grow annuals - the kids could scatter the seeds. Annuals are great - sow and forget. If there are cats around, put trimmings of prickly hedges on them or small twigs stuck in the ground to discourage the cats from digging where the annuals have been sown.
Avalon is right - you need a plan. What do you want the garden to be/do/for? Don't leap into the trap of lawn in the middle and beds round the edges - it's rarely the best solution. Get a good book, and I agree Alan T is the place to start.
But some more random thoughts
- if you want the girls to play outside you need to keep their play area near the house when they are little. I wish i'd stretched the credit card or touched the grandparents and invested in a really nice wendy house when mine were tiny and put it right by the back door like a friend did.
- beds need work and can be astonishingly expensive to fill up unless you have a handy supply of friends who can give you bits of theirs - there is no law to say you have to have lots of flower beds, keep them minimal
- what's wrong with the gravel? do you really need turf?
choose palnts that tolerate little water. Laveneder in nice and needs minimal attention. Just a haircut once a year! Use lots of the same plant to get impact
Don't forget that grass needs lots of maintenance, gravel or paving much less.
Take a look at the Crocus website. I think they are a mumsnet shopping partner and there's a link somewhere on the site. Their plants are quite pricey but they have lots of good ideas for planting schemes tailored to specific budgets etc that you could borrow.
When you take up the gravel you may find you need to do some digging underneath. If the ground is very hard and dry and compacted, you won't be able to just lay turf on top of it, you'll need to loosen it up and probably spread some compost and topsoil on it first. You could also sow grass seed, since spring is a good time to do it, and it's a lot cheaper than turf.
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