What can i do with this space ??(24 Posts)
Excuse the drawing but what the f*ck can I do with my stupid shaped back garden??
I'm just at work and planning the bank holiday weekend and I think it's time to tackle this garden.
Right now we have a block of concrete slabs outside the French doors, they then go towards the back gate.
The whole thing is sort of L shaped but for some reason the fence on the left and the back fence are on about a 110 degree angle so it's hard to draw straight neat lines from it and any pathway I think will always look wonky.
There's a little shed in the corner.
The gardens about 9m at it's longest and 6 at its widest.
I need to keep some sort of pathway to the gate.
And we may need to add in a bit of bike storage, just a box or something as we don't have a garage - but I'm trying to talk OH out of this.
I'd love if there's a place to sit and a place to put a BBQ.
At a push, if there's place for kids to play when they visit (or if we ever have any of our own whilst we still live here!)
At an extreme push if there's somewhere with some pretty flowers or herbs or fruit trees.
We don't have a ton of money and moving the boundaries/gate/fence isn't an option
But there must be something we can do to make it's layout a bit nicer??
I've never had a garden before having always lived in inner city flats, so I don't even know where to begin.
Literally any advice would be helpful .
This could be a great garden. Can you post a picture?
What direction does your garden face?
What kind of soil do you have: both of these are fairly important if you want to plant in the ground rather than containers.
If you could lift the concrete slabs and turf over, do you want to?
A photo would be better!
Can you move the shed? Have the shed and potential bike box nearer to the gate leaving the the area outside of the French windows more open and then no need for the path going in both directions?
If you want somewhere to sit in the sun, work out where the sun is, in the morning and the afternoon and put your seats there.
Put the bike storage in a bit that faces north if there is one, as that will always be a bit colder and sunless. It’s Harder to grow flowers there.
Also, think about what you will see when you look out of your French windows from inside (5 months of the year) A view of maybe a winter flowering tree and some shrubs or flowers is better than a view of bike storage and a barbecue.
It looks a good size though and an interesting shape
Thanks everyone. I feel totally clueless. Pinterest 'small gardens' seems completely unobtainable and a bit unmanageable for us and I think I've never bothered looking at other people's gardens before now! Is there anywhere you'd recommend getting some inspiration?
I'm fairly sure we're South Easterly garden I think.
I was at work today and didn't get home till it was dark so couldn't take a photo, will have to take one tomorrow
Can you work some curves and circles in? That would soften the angular shape.
I'm wondering if a curved path from the bottom left to the gate would work, so it intersects with the slabs outside the French door. Depends how much effort you want to go to really! I might feel differently once you've added the photo
What condition are the slabs in? They often benefit from a pressure wash for a spruce up. If they're truly awful I've seen people covering them in decking or those Ikea decking tiles to really good effect.
Could you move the shed/bike storage to the corner above the gate?
I've installed a couple of wooden arches I bought from ebay. They draw the eye upwards and I have evergreen honeysuckle, climbing roses and clematis on them. One is around my gate.
It's just so awful, I'm actually embarrassed of it at the moment
6months ago I had never thought twice about a garden space and now I have my on I suddenly really care haha
Any outdoor space is bonus! Do you need the path that wide? Does it get a lot of traffic? If not I'd be tempted to slim that down or make it spaced out single slabs of more natural looking stone and gain some more grass or plantable space. Also once you get some greenery covering the fence it'll look so different. Can you have the shed down the far end? There's a gate down there too I know. Is there enough space to put the shed down the far end facing either direction but still with access to it and possibly put trellis or similar in front of it so it disappear a bit behind something green. The main space outside the french windows will feel way more open and the shed then won't be the view looking down the path.
That straight path would look a whole lot better as a curve. At the moment all it does is to accentuate both the narrowness and odd angle of the side fence.
I'd be tempted to move the shed down to the far corner, and disguise it with some trellis on the side and some climbers. Then take up and re-lay the path so that it has a bend or two in it. If you can't figure out the best layout, use a hosepipe or string laid on the ground and look out of the windows (upstairs as well as down) until it looks natural.
We do use the gate a lot, I was originally tempted to get rid of the path all together but I think we need it!
Curves seems like a good idea, I was thinking of making a little gravel pathway potentially.
I'm desperate for a trellis somewhere, they're so cute, so I like the idea of hiding the shed
I'd re-lay the path from the corner of the patio round to the gate, but only one slab wide. I'd move the shed, and build a pergola/arch across the bit where the corner of the neighbour's (?) fence hits your garden path, so you could grow roses and honeysuckle. Maybe some herbs beyond it... Climbers are your friends to give you height and to cover the fence.
It's an oddly-shaped garden... How long is it, from house to the top of the L?
Ok I think everyone right about a thinner path, maybe curved
The idea of an arch I really like, will draw away a bit from the weird angles!
Basically climbers and trellis on everything
An arch will break up your odd-shaped plot, so you can't see the whole of the garden in one go. If you put a 'thing' against the fence (a pot, feature plant, bird bath or whatever) so you can see it through the arch when standing near the house, it will draw the eye and make the garden look longer.
Climbers are ace! They won't like competing with the grass near the fence so I'd create some slim flowerbeds in front of the fences. You may want to edge these beds with sleepers, cobbles or lawn edging on a roll to create a clear division for mowing and stop grass and weeds creeping in.
I'd be tempted to lay some weed membrane, top the beds up with topsoil or compost if required (if you're using sleepers for example) and maybe apply a bark chip or slate mulch. Sorry it sounds like a lot of work - I wish I'd done mine this way instead of cutting corners!
Is it possible to move the shed and/or bike storage up behind the gate or is it too small a space? If it fits you could assess how much grass remains to the left of the new curving path:
If it's an awkward shape/amount you could do away with all the grass to the left of the path and create a gravel/slate/barkchip garden (line with membrane) with a few evergreen shrubs and climbers at the fence.
Excess slabs could be arranged to the left of the french doors to extend your patio a bit and tidy up the far left corner (you can always have planters or leave a gap in the slabs for planting).
If you decide to have planters on the fences track how much sun each section receives. There are some excellent climbers for shade but you'll have trouble if you put sunny/partial sun climber in a shady spot. I'd also recommend a selection of evergreen climbers/shrubs for winter interest or you'll be looking at bare fences for 4-6month of the year
Obviously it depends on what colours you like plant wise but this can be a really good speedy climber with a bit of structure to it. It should get up to the height of your fence and doesn't get offended it you need to chop it back. It comes in other colours but this particular one doesn't have any spines. It blooms quite early so will add some interest early (mine's been in full flower since the end of Feb - last year was still going strong into June). The summer fruit (quince) are edible and butterflies, bees and birds also like the plant.
All fab ideas above. Another thing that jumps out at me is that the fences are so orange. If you paint them a soft green colour e.g. Cuprinol Garden Shades in Willow, that will knock the colour back instantly then anything you plant will already have a green backdrop.
100% agree about moving the shed down to that back bit to really open up and make the most of the area near the house (trellis, seating, planters, even a mirror on that back fence with planting round it to open up the space, candles in storm lanterns on the table etc). Small but beautiful!
Thanks so much everyone, i got a bit over whelmed by the task this weekend, but I've been around lots of garden stores and feeling a bit more hopeful!
I'm definitely going to have an arch! And lots of things to distract away from the fences like climbers etc
And I love the soft green fence idea
Are there any flowers you guys recommend that are fairly easy upkeep for someone with absolutely not green fingers..
Recently managed to keep a plant alive for two months and it's my PB so I'm really starting from scratch here..
Don’t make the borders too skinny. Even climbers need to be planted a good foot out from a fence..try honeysuckle and jasmine on the fences.. think about getting some larger plants in. Small gardens often look better with bigger plants, otherwise it’s bitty..I would put in a lavatera( mallow) and buddleja. They grow quick and flower profusely but aren’t expensive and are easy to care for. Then rosemary, lavender, sage.. I would buy marigold and sunflower seeds and scatter then around.. I also love roses. They flower for 6 months and look magnificent. . Go to a charity shop and find a book on small garden gardening.
If you had the money , it would be worth getting a garden designer in. They really aren’t just for the rich.
Some don’t even charge. They provide the plants, instead.
I'm just randomnly putting this here as I think ( experts pse advise ) this is quick and easy .But not perrenial ,but might sort of spur you on if you saw a quick result .
Pse excuse spelling !
This is my favourite low maintenance plant, I do nothing to it and it comes back in perfect blue clumps every year. Slugs and snails leave it alone too.
I also have bleeding heart plants which come back perfectly without fail every year. They're often called Dicentra instead. Snails not interested in these either.
I also agree about the bigger plant thing that 3dogs2cat said and plants with just much bigger leaves rather than overall size also work. A lot of tropical looking plants grow fine in the UK and are great for impact and are instant space fillers.
Saw these recommended in Guardian so thought I'd mention them .
beardsworths.co.uk/product/hebe-salicifolia/ maybe too bushy for your space ?
pittosporum illicioides - seems too rare to find! but this came up and looks lovely
My favourite climbers are roses and clematis. For the best roses get a David Austin catalogue. It will be overwhelming at first! But look at his English Rose Climbers bit and just pick ones that repeat flower, are disease resistant and ( if you want it) are strongly scented. And obviously that you love the look of.
It’s a myth that roses are high maintenance, they need to be pruned and fed in the winter and fed gain in the summer. RHS did trials of pruning with a chainsaw V meticulous Victorian style pruning, and it made no difference.
For clematis go for Taylor’s catalogue, and again choose ones that will fill the right amount of space, and flower all summer, or successively.
Apart from the really rampant ones, most need pruning in the winter, but it’s really a case of cutting them back to 18 inches. Not complicated and takes me 30 minutes to do the 3 I’ve got.
Good luck with it
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