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Garden ideas please

Hi I am new to the forum. Hoping for some low maintenance garden design ideas for the front of my house.

I am a novice or rather no idea gardener. I have been putting off this garden project for months partly because of lack of expertise and ideas. Now I have desided to take the plunge and actually do somethong about this and hopefuly get ton the food books with my wife, result!!!!! I have attached a photo of the area I am hoping to work on. I would appreciate any input from the members and any idea contributions will be greatly appreciated. imageimage



  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Do you know the aspect from window looking outwards? Doghouse Riley mentions access and it might be a good ideal to think about laying gravel on that section or even create a gravel garden. Looks like a nice area for that style of planting.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Doghouse suggested fuchsia, I'd second that. They are low maintenance in that they don't need deadheading. The flowers drop off of their own accord as soon as they are past their best, so they don't spoil the look of the plants.  Make sure you choose hardy varieties.

    For ground cover, hardy geraniums take some beating.

    I wouldn't rule out annuals entirely.  Some are so easy, you can sow the seeds once and then they'll self seed year after year.  I'm thinking of pot marigolds, poppies, nasturtiums, aquilegia.

    A lot of bulbs will flower year after year and gradually increase.  Daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, grape hyacinth, anemones and crocosmia are all very reliable.

  • I do appreciate all the input. I better get on with it I suppose.

    I do like the idear of a grevel garden. Would I need to plant in pots though?

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  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    If you do go down the annual seed route, you would have to wait until spring to sow them an the garden would be bare every winter. As it is your front garden I would assume you want it tidy and interesting all through the year. 

    A gravel garden would be tidy. Dig it all over removing all weeds and then spread out a thick layer of gravel. If you go to a builders yard you will see a huge range of different gravels. The jury is still out regarding putting a weed suppressing membrane down under the gravel. You then plant throu the gravel and membrane. Use plants that will give all year round interest. Less is more. A couple of groups of plants together, some groups of large cobbles, perhaps a huge empty pot to give height........

    track down a copy of Beth chatto's gravel garden book to give you ideas. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    What they have planted next door looks lovely and low maintenance.  You could get some inspiration from them along with maybe some hardy geraniums (Rozanne has really long flowering period) underplant with some bulbs for spring / winter interest. Some good ideas on here, repetition of a few plants will keep it clean and simple.  Good luck.  Look forward to seeing some progress photo's.

  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    This jury member is very much of the 'put down weed suppressing membrane under gravel' persuasion. The gravel that my ex and I put down in largish quantities when we moved here was on bare soil and, 25 years later is a complete pain to try and remove / renovate - especially as I am now 25 years older and creakier!

  • Ah you lot are wonderful. I have now purchased all that I think I will need. I shall load some progress photos.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,416

    I would plant a box hedge and a small japanese maple or something like that - maybe in a large container? And just gravel it. Nice and simple.

  • I have an enormous gravel garden which I have been working on for the past year. I hate lawns for what are they but one plant repeated over a million plus times - boring Y-A-W-N! I covered mine with 20 tons of gravel. Makes a lovely sound when walking on it.

    Advantages of pots. You can have them on top of the gravel - thus superb drainage. You can have different plants in pots - some like ericaceous soil and some prefer neutral. You can easily grow climbers if you have a large enough pot in which you can mount a trellis. 

    You can also sink black florists buckets into the ground. The sort you get for free at the supermarket. Just drill some holes in the bottom.

    You can move pots to suit sun or shade lovers.

    20mm is the best size gravel. Best bought as a bulk bag. Use the bag as a weed supressant. They are usually porous but you can easily add extra holes with a fork.

    If you want to restrict weeds don't dig in plants underneath the gravel. Instead get a drain pipe, cut it in half, drill some holes and lay it in the gravel. Add soil and them disguise the edges with the gravel.

    Don't worry too much about how high plants grow. If kept in pots this will restrict their growth. 

    Think about what you would like as a mulch on top of the pots. Don't use wood chip or bark. It absorbs too much water and will deprive the plants of water. Use something like 10mm gravel or horticultural grit. Maybe add some nice contrasting pebbles on the top of the gravel/grit. If possible, if using pots use a weed suppressant. Cut to suit. Where I am we are swamped with rose bay willow herb. It will take over the smallest bit of soil it can find. I cover all my pots with sharp gravel - keeps the slugs out!

    If you want some tall plants get some giant or large alium bulbs. When finished flowering some have an incredible architecture. Again, little trouble or maintenance.

    My top recommendation for a shrub is Osmanthus heterophyllus Goshiki. Also known as 'false holly'. It is evergreen with beautiful foliage and doesn't spike you like a real holly. Easy to grow and needs little care. I have one in a pot that is fifteen years old. Have bought it a mate today for £6.50 

    Finally you MUST get an Acer. See my other posts for the different types there are. Go for a coloured Acer such as Acer Palmatum Beni Schichihenge. Terrific colours.

    Dont get ripped off! Check around for good prices both on gravel, pots and plants.

    Good Luck. I hope I've been of some help.


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