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What to do with this garden? (Pic)

(12 Posts)
PonderLand Tue 14-Mar-17 17:47:22

We moved into our house recently and I'm in need of some ideas!

The garden is in shade most of the day due to 20ft+ conifers from next door.
I think we'll be putting in a workshop/cabin type shed that covers the width of the garden at the bottom. Other than that I don't have a clue what to do with it! I've never had a garden before and now I feel overwhelmed by this! Any ideas for a beginner would be greatly appreciated, also any idea on how much it would cost us to get the conifers cut down to a more manageable height. We like the privacy they give but it's not worth the sacrifice of sunshine.

shovetheholly Tue 14-Mar-17 18:09:17

Ok, my (somewhat belt and braces!!) approach would be to get rid of a lot of those shrubs, which seem a bit big for the space - they're making a long, narrow garden seem even narrower than it really is. What do you have behind them - fence? Wall? I'd maybe let some of it show (covered with something much narrower like climbers).

I am not a big fan of gardens with all the planting at the periphery, so I'd get rid of the path and make a more arcing journey up it, with a deep bed on the RHS side near the house, and something absolutely sensational (a small tree) towards the middle of the LHS about 2/3 of the way down. The grass could stay as a replacement path.

AgathaF Tue 14-Mar-17 18:22:06

Those huge shrubs and tree definitely need at the least thinning out and lowering, and possibly some removing completely. I'd take the path up too but you may not want to. After that, I think I'd create some smaller beds against the edges and plant with cottage garden type flowers, smaller flowering shrubs, climbers to go up fences etc. Once the big stuff is down you'll see where the sun is for most of the day, then you could maybe put in a hard seating area with table and chairs.

Try not to get too daunted by it all. Do it in stages, then you'll see more easily what the next stage should be.

PonderLand Tue 14-Mar-17 18:24:19

Yes that sounds like a good idea, we're going to try tackle some of the bigger shrubs this weekend. We've thought about putting something on the left hand side to kind of break up the garden a bit so it isn't a straight path down, although I'm not sure what. Possibly a seating area and trellising with climbers? What plants would be best for that if they'll be shaded by those trees for 90% of the time?

PonderLand Tue 14-Mar-17 18:26:32

We'll definitely be getting rid of the path, another thing that we're not sure of pricing just yet. We'll be getting the outbuilding knocked down (bottom left) so will try get them done at the same time!

ChuckDaffodils Tue 14-Mar-17 18:29:00

Ok. Not what people want to hear when they move into a new house, but I'd just spend the first year getting to know it, taking out plants that are in the wrong place, and doing some careful planning. The reason most plants end up in the wrong place is that they were just popped in to fill a gap.

I always ask how you are going to use the space first, and from that you can work out what it is you actually want.

Me, I like forest gardens so I'd remove everything I didn't love, use the grass to make a windy path and then put trees in all over and mulch. Two hand made wooden benches for taking it all in. Lovely.

PonderLand Tue 14-Mar-17 18:34:25

The grass is incredibly mossy, how would I get rid of that? I did rake it at the end of the summer but there's so much of it

AgathaF Tue 14-Mar-17 19:00:08

It's probbly mossy because it's in shade so much, and possibly doesn't dry out. Taking a lot of the trees down and opening up the garden to the sun will sort that in time.

Which direction does the garden face?

GingerKitCat Tue 14-Mar-17 19:15:32

Agree with the light issue improving the lawn so make shrub removal/ pruning your first job.

Controversial but I use something like Evergreen 4in1 (or Wilko own equivalent) before it's due to rain - the rain washes it in for you. Use sparingly as per the instructions and it will kill the moss, not your lawn. Rake out the dead moss and reseed the bare patches. Wilko do big barrels of weigh it yourself seed.
When mowing start on a high blade to take the top off the grass and progress to a lower blade as the lawn thickens up and grows more uniformly.

I try to be as organic/ wildlife friendly as I can but I do like a nice green lawn blush

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Fri 17-Mar-17 13:16:51

I think before you talk about cutting next door's trees down, you should get to know next door! If they aren't amenable there's no point making plans for a moss-free garden, you'll just have to work with what you've got. It might be an idea to wait a bit before mentioning it. Our first introduction to our new neighbour was when they asked if we could cut our trees down. It didn't endear them to us, and actually it turns out that they're lovely people...

We did recently cut down some conifers (not the ones the neighbour wanted us to cut though grin) - shortening them wouldn't have been much less than cutting them down completely as they were felled. Reducing the height would have meant more work, and much longer up the tree, though less wood and brush to dispose of. Cost us about £1800 for 3 massive trees.

Don't do anything to the shrubs this weekend, it's nesting season. It's an offence to disturb the nest whilst in use or being built
www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/our-positions-and-campaigns/positions/wildbirdslaw/birdsandlaw/wca/

You,re going to have to wait till late Autumn, realistically, but I'd recommend waiting anyway, you get to know the garden much better. We took lots of photos of all parts of the garden each month, to record how the sun moved around, where spaces were when, etc, and waited till winter frosts to take the conifers out so that the ground was hard (less damage from being driven over) and no nesting.

PonderLand Fri 17-Mar-17 13:40:43

Sorry I should of said Jeffrey we have got to know next door, we moved in here April 2016 and had a baby in June so just starting to tackle stuff now. The neighbour is an elderly woman (early 80's) and she cares for her adult son who is severely disabled, the council won't cut them down for her because her husband planted the trees in the 80's, he died in the 90's and she understandably didn't have much time to maintain them.
We emailed the council on her behalf but they won't do a thing, they just demanded that she cuts them to 6ft as per council tenancy rules. She doesn't have much money which is why we have decided to undertake the work. She may have some money to offer us once we do them but we aren't expecting it. £1800 isn't too bad if that's what it's going to cost, we may be able to get rid of the branches etc ourselves if we can get a friend with a van. Another summer without sun is awaiting us it seems.

PonderLand Fri 17-Mar-17 13:44:09

Also we have a cat that spent most of last year chasing birds so there is no longer nests in any of the small shrubs/trees. We won't be cutting down the conifers until next winter though.

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