TOTAL gardening novices - where shall we start?(13 Posts)
DH and I moved into a house last year with an 87ft x 18ft garden.
The only things we managed to do in it last year were take down a shed and greenhouse and have seven trees removed. We are left with a pear tree, an apple tree and some privet.
The garden has never had a lawn but instead is full of brambles and bulbs - hyacinths, daffs, tulips, bluebells etc all just randomly placed around the garden.
Anyone able to help us shape it into something liveable? Where do we start? We were going to hire a rotovator and some kind of digger to take out the concrete foundations of the greenhouse, which was halfway down the garden right in the middle.
Pics attached of the random flowers!
And some more flowers. The garden looks a right mess.
We have a few hundred pounds to sort it out and can get a shed for tools.
I'd like to pull out any remaining brambles and plant a lawn, and move some of these bulbs to borders.
I'd also like a patio area where we can BBQ and play with DD. There is also a yard I was thinking of putting slate chips in and some scented planters but it doesn't get much sun.
Although daunting, this is quite an exciting project. I'd have a look on pinintrest to get some ideas of the general style of garden that you want. Then plan it out, bearing in mind the aspect and areas of sun at different times of the day.
The plants in the pictures are bluebells, tulips and honesty, which will come up every year and you might want to save.
Instead of digging up the concrete ( which is expensive) you could turn it into a paved or gravel area.
You have a huge task, but doable take it step by step.
Draw a plan. Honestly, it might sound boring, but its a lot less expensive than trying things out on the ground!
Try and get it to scale, and note which parts get sun and when. You can cut out shapes to represent trees, bushes etc and place them in different positions - try and imagine what they would look like in 3D - what shadows will they cast?
Yes, I second the idea of making a plan on paper. Work out your conditions - soil, aspect, shade in detail - one part of a garden can be very different from another. Then work with them. It will take you about 10,000 goes to get it right, but this is absolutely a necessary part of not wasting time and money making costly mistakes! Judging by those pictures, it looks like you might have a fair bit of shade??
I actually think it's good to go in with a belt-and-braces approach to really sorting out any problems you have, even if that means being a bit patient. So many gardens are wrecked by the fact that there's a big job that just needs doing that hasn't been tackled. I'm not saying you should level everything and start at ground zero, but being willing to tackle problems like concrete or rubble, or sorting out walls, makes a huge difference in the long run.
This is great advice, thank you!!
The greenhouse was literally plonked in the middle of the garden so I think the base may have to be removed. There is also an old fox den underneath it which needs to be filled. Some budget has chopped down lots of the old brambles but not cleared them, so there are lots of brambly twigs amidst the bulbs. Step one is going to have to be:
1) clear the earth
2) maybe level the ground?
3) put some fertiliser down?
Before planting grass seed.
Of course, step -1 will be the plan - I'll share it as I go!
Best advice I can give is work out which way the sun comes. I've spent the last few years picking the right plants for the garden. I'm north east facing, East anglia so not much rain really and some bits of wet shade and some dry shade.
Agree plan is the way to start and see what plants are flourishing and you xan rescue.
It's difficult to tell without seeing your garden, but from your pictures, you have some nice things growing in places, and it would be a shame to remove those from places where you want to have borders, rather than grass. This depends a bit on how bad the bramble infestation is, however. If it's not so awful, I think I would be tempted to enrich the soil with a mulch and keep eradicating the brambles where they come up, digging right down to the roots. It takes constant attention (like all gardening) but you will win this way. However, if there's a major amount of these difficult weeds, or a great deal of earth-levelling to be done, then you might have to take it right back to the absolute basics.
Don't plant grass seed anywhere you don't want a lawn - it's a nightmare to get rid of.
I'll draw a plan and take some better shots of the garden to show what it looks like - we spent three days last year pulling out brambles and waist-high green alkonite (sp?).
My plan is a kind of 'English country garden theme' with scattered bulbs in the side beds and a grassy bit in the middle. I'd like a high fence too to give a bit of privacy as we're in a built-up area.
My tip is to get something to stick in the ground to mark the bulbs you want to move, otherwise you might have no idea where the daffodils were by the time you want to dig them up!
Puffin that is a good idea - something like those lolly stick things ?
I am assuming the concrete pad gets a lot of sun as it used to have a greenhouse on it. Can you turn it into a patio area with a bistro style table & chairs? This would be better than digging it up. You could have a gazebo type structure and train climbers up it. Also plant shrubs around it and make a feature of it.
Yes could you put an arch or pergola over it and have lawns above and below? I have mostly lawn with borders around the edges. I'm considering putting an arch partway up connected to the beds either side. That way you begin to create 'rooms' in your garden
If you go this route I'd have a mixture of deciduous and evergreen climbers so that you're not looking at a bare arch all winter!
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