Forum home Garden design

TINY front garden area ideas...please

Hi all,

My girlfriend and I have finished renovating our house, but the last thing remaining is this piece of space at the front. It was overgrown with weeds when we first moved in, which we ripped out and gravelled to temporarily tidy it up. Now it needs sorting...Any creative ideas? I currently plan on laying realistic looking artificial grass and potting plants that will look good all year. I have zero plant knowledge...


Any help would be greatly appreciated! We live a few miles from the Cornish coast to give you an idea of climate (mild, wet and sheltered from the worst of the wind). The front of the house pictured faces SE.




  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,077

    Hello bdjones1985

    I cannot see 100% clearly from the picture , but is that chalk you've laid ?

    If so this will severely limit your planting choice as the pH of the soil beneath will be slowly turning calcareous after every rainfall due to leaching . Ericaceous plants are definitely 'out'.

    Don't be put off though , as I'm only surmising on the gravel ; a wide range of plants are still 'growable' .

    Have a look at this ; see what you both think !

  • Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the reply. No it's not chalk, just a beige coloured gravel from the Range, I think. This is layed on top of a layer of weed membrane (for now).

    Thanks though!

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,077

    Should've gone to Specsavers shouldn't I ? image

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    I think you would probably just be better off keeping the gravel and just putting some nice pots on it. You could put one under the window and another one in the pointy bit. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,751

    I was going to say the same as hogweed. Depends what you like the look of. You could have colourful annuals in summer and pansies or violas in winter. You would have to change the display each season. Or you could plant something more permanant like a camelia (which needs an acid compost) or something contemporary like grasses. There are many books and garden magazines with ideas for pots. Or go to your garden centre and see what you like.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • CFCCFC Posts: 71

    Hydrangea. Long lasting flowers. Make a pllanting hole in the gravel and membrane. You can run the artifical grass right up to it. Cornwall also screams camellias to me. Evergreen and beautiful flowers. Mine manage in a quite sunny spot.

    Pots for bedding plants. Empty them out at the end of the year and replant them every spring. Then you can ring the changes.

    Or pots full off daffodils and tulip bulbs, with added lily bulbs or something else that flowers in the summer.

    Just depends what you like really :)

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,199

    I'm going to disagree and say don't plant a Camellia there. They get very big and, that close to the windows, you'll have to keep pruning it or you'll be sitting in the dark even in summer. Same with hydrangeas. Keep the planting low in front of the door especially. You need decent access too, for cleaning and maintenace of the property. 

    Low growing simple groundcover would be ideal if you don't have a lot of knowledge, and they won't need a lot of looking after - ideal in a front garden. There are loads to choose from - hardy geraniums for some colour, evergreen grasses (carexes especially) for all year round colour and structure, dianthus for colour and evergreen foliage, some of the smaller hebes will do the same, seaside plants like thrift with their airy little flowers, and spring and summer bulbs for seasonal interest. Alliums, for instance,  will give height in summer, but are airy and don't block light. Most of those will be suitable for the bit at the front door in particular. There will be a rain shadow under the window, so you may not be able to plant much there - it will need to be further forward, otherwise you'll be constantly watering. 

    A large container on the other side of the door would also be a good idea, assuming it wouldn't block any access to the side of the house or your path. You could have something taller there, or have seasonal planting. Whichever you prefer. image

    You could get away with something a bit bigger as one specimen shrub - probably in the section between the door and the windows -  but be careful what you choose. Something slow growing and compact, but would take pruning if necessary. Pieris possibly. They grow well in that aspect, and you get bright new foliage in spring. Do a little bit  of reserach on the heights and spread of plants too - it isn't a big area, and if plants like the conditions, they'll grow and spread quickly, so you don't want to be removing things a year after you plant them!

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,979

    If I lived in Cornwall I would grow Aeonium arborium 'Swartzkopff' in containers there.  

    Maybe just those, maybe a mixture of other succulents which aren't hardy enough to be grown outside up here ... they'd look wonderful.



    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653

    I saw them by the coast in Devon too, a real showstopper. 

Sign In or Register to comment.