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*PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden
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plantingandpotting · 30/08/2020 14:20

I've moved into a new home with a really uninspiring green rectangle for a garden, and I just don't know where to begin.
Help from more experienced gardeners would be very appreciated!

Here's the shopping list:

  • I'd hope to mostly screen the back houses (for their privacy as much as ours)
  • I'm cautious of planting any larger trees that would overhang into the neighbour's garden
  • On the left hand side I'd like to plant anything tall that doesn't need a trellis (so as to add some privacy)

    Things to note...
    It's south facing.
    I'm inexperienced but very committed to maintenance.
    I have a toddler so need to keep a bit of space for play gear
    Happy to spend a fair amount to get there

    I've added a few photos, one as it is now and a couple with my doodled ideas. The shape still feels boring and uninspired - I just don't know how to bring any flair.
*PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden *PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden *PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden
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ScribblingMilly · 30/08/2020 14:34

You could ask on your local Facebook group for recommendations for gardeners who work to an hourly rate and are good with planning & planting schemes. I finally did this after years of faffing around not knowing what I was doing and am delighted with the result. And now I have a lovely garden that I maintain myself - having kept a list of everything planted and looking up exactly how to care for it all. I really wish I'd done it right at the start when I had a fab blank canvas like you do.

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sycamorecottage · 30/08/2020 14:35

Stop thinking about a long narrow rectangle and start thinking in circles and serpentines (or even triangles). At the moment, your eye is drawn down the path in a straight line towards a focal point - ie the very view you want to disguise.

Play about with your doodles and move the path so it isn't in a completely straight line, but meanders down the garden instead.

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ALLIS0N · 30/08/2020 14:43

You need a shed for storage of play equipment / bikes / trikes / garden chairs/ paddling pool / Garden tools / BBQ / sandpit and the vast amount of plastic crap that children generate.

Where are your bins to go ?

Are you planning a swing / trampoline etc ?

Think carefully where these things go so they are not an eyesore.

YY to screening as one of the most important things. You need shrubs, small garden trees, higher fences and climbers. Remember good fences make good neighbours, esp if you have young children.

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StillGardening · 30/08/2020 14:49

You’ve got a really standard shape and sized garden, which is great because you can copy a design from online. Just google rectangular garden design etc , pile through the images and find one you like. Friend of mine copied theirs from an Alan Titchmarsh makeover show and it’s really lovely.

In terms of what to plant, check what is growing well in gardens around you. Look at garden on a roll or equivalent if you want someone else to decide planting for you !

New gardens are great

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titchy · 30/08/2020 14:54

The curved bed doodle is good but what jumps out is the straight path! It needs to follow the curves! I'd also have deep beds on the right hand side, losing a bit of lawn so you can add some large plants for structure.

Some sort of bamboo at the back for privacy?

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steakhousesally · 30/08/2020 14:55

Shed at the far end for storage and then make different areas with height, have little seating areas and have a space for your toddler at the front to the right of the path and a seating area to the left.

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ALLIS0N · 30/08/2020 15:04

In a small garden, grass Is high Maintenance and boring - I’d have as little as you can get away with. Obviously you need some with a young child.

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barkingmadmother · 30/08/2020 17:01

You don't need to go mad with shrubs - choose things for the first half of the garden on either size. Thru also don't have to be that big for you to get some privacy. I'd focus on the first half first and then see how you feel. Don't go for fast growing leylandi whatever you do!!!!

Hedges direct are brill and you xAn buy shrubs slightly bigger. I adore white Annabelle hydrangeas which you can plant in sequence on either side and will flower huge white blossoms throughout summer and are evergreen and will grow to a decent height to shield your neighbours. I'd also plant lots of fig trees as they get big and a fruit tree in the middle at the bottom. What about a pergola support with a rambling rose?

Lovely enjoy 😊

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plantingandpotting · 30/08/2020 18:31

Oh my goodness. Thank you so much everyone, I have a lot more inspiration and ideas to draw from now.

There is actually a decent sized shed at the back - it's on the right hand side hiding behind that tree. We also have seating and a bbq on the patio (where I stood to take the pic).
Our bins are on the drive so no problem there.

Really interesting that a few people noted the straight paving stones, as I'd not considered moving or removing them at all.

I'm really intimidated by the bed digging and landscaping element, so I think I will seek out a few quotes.

But I've realised today that I am very interested in the choosing-what-to-plant part, so I'll tuck into Google tonight!

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plantingandpotting · 30/08/2020 18:43

@barkingmadmother Also just googled fast growing leylandi and have vivid memories of a huge row of these in my childhood garden.
The neighbours were not fans Blush

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ALLIS0N · 30/08/2020 18:48

Bed digging isn’t technically hard, but it can be hard work depending on your soil type.

You need a plan before you can get quotes. Otherwise you will end up with what they want rather than what you want.

I’m afraid the path right up the middle is the one thing that HAS to go. It’s the biggest mistake in a long thin garden.

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Beebumble2 · 30/08/2020 19:04

Please do not plant Leyllandi, they are a real nuisance and suck the soil dry. Laurel grow quickly and are easily pruned each year, there are variegated varieties for interest.

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chocciechocface · 31/08/2020 09:51

I would consider a small tree on the left hallway up the garden. That will screen the back but not overhang the neighbours. Agree with others to not keep it as a long rectangle and to change the oath to something that meanders through. I also agree on the leylandii: they grow very fast and huge but are actually quite boring to look at. Choose something that has year round interest.

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chocciechocface · 31/08/2020 09:56

Also - don't be too hung up on how fast a tree grows. We bought fairly decent sized trees to plant to screen (against advice because they apparently can sometimes not do well from big sizes). But we looked after them and four years on we have what looks like a well established tree scape screen. We bought a mix of confirs, spruce, beech, birch and white beam.

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onlinelinda · 02/09/2020 08:31

Do nothing until you ha e looked at a few garden design books. They offer a lot of inspiration about how to divide and shape a plot, and create a plan.

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GolightlyMrsGolightly · 02/09/2020 10:15

Bed digging isn't hard at all when you get into it. And it's easy to change if it goes wrong or you don't like it!

Go for some curvy shapes in the beds - there's lots of ideas on line. Don't try and do it all at once. Look carefully at what size plants/shrubs grow to when they are mature and plot that on a bit of paper.

Think about if you want to grow some veg or fruit or herbs? I love veg growing and you just need a relatively small space. Fruit trees are grafted on small rootstock - so you could have cherries or apples or plums.

With putting privacy in you don't need to have a big hedge, but wafty trees like rowans or a silver birch will give a focal point for you to look at and your neighbours to look at too.

Google trees for small gardens.

Ask friends who are gardeners for cuttings or spare plants when you have a bed cut.

Think about if you want bee friendly or wildlife friendly.

A pond is great and can be made safe for kids.

*PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden
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GolightlyMrsGolightly · 02/09/2020 10:16

There's an Alan Titmarsh Design your Garden Book and another one on Perennials that are really worth the money.

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Atalune · 02/09/2020 10:26

Don’t plant bamboo it will take over. Unless you plant it in a sunken bath to “contain” it.

I would
Put a circular patio at the end of your garden on the left then on the right I would put one horizontal fence panel about 3/4 way down to screen your shed etc. I’d plant a climbing road infront of that.
The patio can circles without fragrant lavender and thyme. I would also plant maybe a smoke Bush in front on the panel for contrast.

I’d remove the path altogether. And god for a curved wooden slat path in stone that leads you to the fence panel. Behind the fence panel I will have lots of media flows and grass and mow a path to the patio.

I would do repeats of structural things on your borders in 3s/triangles so things like...
Boxus
Cat mint
Lavender
Thyme
Euphorbia
Iris’s after they flower they keep their tall structure

I’d the plant a couple of show off things like a peony, a rose, hydrangea and repeat those too. Then in between I would stick in things like
Geums
Cosmos
Oregano (so pretty and frangrant)
Geraniums (perennials)
Scabacious (flower and flower and flower)
Verbina
Salvias- flower like mad, and are really easy to take care of

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Atalune · 02/09/2020 10:30

To keep beds smart and a nice shape you can get this stuff called Everedge which is a metal long flat thing that you hammer into the ground to make edges. Great if you want to create curved shapes and make the garden look very smart.

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plantingandpotting · 22/01/2021 14:19

Thanks for all of the advice! I realise it's been a while but I thought I'd post a progress update...there's a plan!

Someone on my local Facebook group was giving away dual variety plum and pear trees (but wasn't sure about the root stock). I've planted one on either side.

I'm so glad I took your advice on the straight path and had that replaced by a curving reclaimed brick path. The gaps between the bricks are quite large and deep, so I planned on adding in some moss, which will hopefully help it look more natural/less new. Does this sound daft?

To the left of the path is a large bed for planting, and I'm still toying with the idea of adding a trellis to the left hand fence for some privacy.

From where the path stops and turns into stepping stones, the plan is to have a garden arch easing the transition, and then that whole back section covered in wood chips with veg beds on the left and some tree stump seats under the blossom tree for my daughter. I'm optimistically aiming for enchanted woodland vibes!

To the right of the path dividing the lawn area / wood chip area, there will hopefully be a large raised planter spanning the width.

Now that these initial bits have been done I feel completely energised and ready to take a run at it, even if it's a game of trial and error. Luckily I like the squiffy wild look over clean lines and perfection Grin

*PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden *PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden *PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden
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plantingandpotting · 22/01/2021 14:19

Thanks for all of the advice! I realise it's been a while but I thought I'd post a progress update...there's a plan!

Someone on my local Facebook group was giving away dual variety plum and pear trees (but wasn't sure about the root stock). I've planted one on either side.

I'm so glad I took your advice on the straight path and had that replaced by a curving reclaimed brick path. The gaps between the bricks are quite large and deep, so I planned on adding in some moss, which will hopefully help it look more natural/less new. Does this sound daft?

To the left of the path is a large bed for planting, and I'm still toying with the idea of adding a trellis to the left hand fence for some privacy.

From where the path stops and turns into stepping stones, the plan is to have a garden arch easing the transition, and then that whole back section covered in wood chips with veg beds on the left and some tree stump seats under the blossom tree for my daughter. I'm optimistically aiming for enchanted woodland vibes!

To the right of the path dividing the lawn area / wood chip area, there will hopefully be a large raised planter spanning the width.

Now that these initial bits have been done I feel completely energised and ready to take a run at it, even if it's a game of trial and error. Luckily I like the squiffy wild look over clean lines and perfection Grin

*PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden *PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden *PICS* Complete novice with a blank slate garden
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Throughhistory · 22/01/2021 14:24

@Beebumble2

Please do not plant Leyllandi, they are a real nuisance and suck the soil dry. Laurel grow quickly and are easily pruned each year, there are variegated varieties for interest.

I was going to suggest laurel. They grow quickly and look good.
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Throughhistory · 22/01/2021 14:30

Oops, missed OPs update Blush

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PinkyParrot · 23/01/2021 06:35

Wow, great plan. Love the brick path.
With gardening everything is trial and error in my view - some things like the soil/ light and grow like mad, some things never get going, some things get too big, some things produce few flowers etc etc . That's part of the fun, you never sit back and think it's done as it's always changing.

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