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South Facing Garden - Ideas/Suggestions/Recommendations

Hi All,

Firstly I just want to say I’m truly envious of the experts on here.  Your all incredible and hope one day I can try to emulate your knowledge and creativity.

Recently purchased a property in Surrey and have a beautiful 100ft south facing garden.I have a blank canvas but I really don’t know where to start as winter is fast approaching.

I’ve provided a couple of pictures but my immediate observations:

* Back of the garden has heavy weeds rather than grass as high as my ankle. It’s been unloved for many years and don't know how to tackle cleaning up

* The level of the lawn is uneven and it needs to be leveled. Left hand side is about 2 inches lower than right hand.


What I want to try and do: 

* Level out lawn space

* Add trees to create C shape in middle of garden

* Add stepping stones to left hand side 

* Add a vegetable garden in the back on a bed of gravel/rock

* Add a shed with woodpile 

I would be interested in your thoughts/suggestions and ideas as I'm yet to start! 


Thanks so much!image


  • You seem to have made a good start with the planning. You may be thinking of stepping stones for economy reasons but if you can I would go for a continuous path, it will be easier to manage / live with in the long term.  I would also move the path to the right a bit & put a proper planting bed in to the left. I would investigate at the margin of where the lawn level changes. When I came to my present house we had a similar thing & found there was a brick edged bed that had just been grassed over

    As you will be removing quite a bit of lawn to put in your hard landscaping features it may be worth hiring a turf cutter to help you strip off the old grass. Weather you decide to restore the existing lawn or start again will be only something you can decide, sometimes you can mess about with an old weed ridden patch for years without much success when staring again may not be as drastic as it may seem at first. Make any planting beds generous at least 2M wide sounds big but that really is what you need especially for permanent trees and shrubs. You will get suggestions for plants from others if you need them just ask.

    AB Still learning

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,397

    Lucky you to have a good sized south facing garden. I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry if I were you. When you have just taken over a new garden, it's a good idea not to go in full force digging. Wait and see what is there first and that generally means most of the growing season. But if the end really is mostly weeds you could start by tackling the proposed veg garden.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • I would just like to add that you should put the long veg bed at the left hand side or at the back - it is going to irritate you like mad having to walk round it to get to and from one of the other beds!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,214

    I'd swap that round. Path at the right hand side leading to shed/veg beds. Tree 'circle' on the left. Paths need to be where they will be most useful, otherwise people will take the most direct route. 

    You can still screen off the shed a bit, or swap the shed with the corner bed of shrubs.

    It also depends whether you're doing the  work yourself, or getting someone 'in', and what budget you have. Plan carefully before starting. Hard landscaping first then planting areas. Path, shed base etc.

    If you have a lot of weeds down the far end, that's a good place to start though, especially if it's where you want your veg. Raised beds are often the easiest way forward  image 

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DYLDYL Posts: 67

    I personally wouldn't bother with a path and certainly not stepping stones. If you grow a good healthy lawn that you look after then I think it can handle walking over it no problem. Just my opinion though.

    I would have another planted border where you have the stepping stones.

    You could also consider moving the vegetable path to the left corner and having some planting/trees at the back fence.

  • Ditto.. agree...lose the path. start propagating plants now.. You will save a fortune versus buying them all. Also look for a cercis canadensis "lavender twist" tree which can be quite small... stick it where the bench is right now. Let it grow for five years and then sell your house to me ..!image

  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783

    I have a similar garden, just starting on it myself.

    I'm putting a seating area in one back corner, composting bins and a bike shed in the back/middle, then a play area for kids in the other corner.

    Our shed is in front of the patio, prexisting. Not sure it's ideal, but having it there makes it more accessible and frees up he back of the garden.

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