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Tiny North facing yard.


I'm looking for some advise.  We bought our first house in June last year and have a little Northfacing back yard.  Originally this was fully decked over in rotten decking which drained down above the damproof course - we spent half of last summer ripping up the decking.  I've spent the last two weekends stripping bamboo netting and rotten trellising from the walls. 

There is one flowerbed against the left hand wall and I think I will be able to create another on the right hand side when I pull up some random bricks.  

My ideal would be to create a nature and bee/butterfly/bird friendly space with lots of colour and smell but I worry I might be asking to much from a north facing yard in greater manchester.  

The soil in the flower beds has been covered for 10+ years by decking so I'm also not sure how to improve the quality of it?  should I dump in some compost before I start?   The local cats are currently loving the bare earth so anything that offers cat resistance and a decent amount of ground cover would also be good.  

Any ideas for what to plant/ advise on what to do to make this a nice space when the sun eventually makes an appearance on the back wall in April?  It gets 'surprisingly sunny' in summer but nothing in winter. 

Any advise or ideas would be much welcome! 





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  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,956

    Hi Meg,

    My first thought was hardy geraniums for ground cover, you can get ones that are quite happy in a North facing position. I should think some soil improver such as compost wouldn't be a bad thing. You have the makings of a nice little garden there - I love it when neglected spaces are brought back to life image

  • Monty Don featured a tiny yard like yours in 'Big Dreams, Small Spaces' recently. If you are lucky it might still be on iplayer. Lots of ideas in it.

  • Foxgloves will be very happy there and the bees will love them. image

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

  • There is a lot that can be done to make the place more inviting and intresting. Something I would do is to take ot more of the tiles and add gravel in front of the flowerbeds,  like this:

    The tilees look like they could use a scrub, and then why not change some of them to mosaic ones? Like this: Then you get more colours in your garden. You can even make the mosaic ones yourself.  

  • meg.emeg.e Posts: 2

    Thanks all for your input everyone! Really helpful!   Looking forward to getting to work on it 

  • A couple of years ago a poster showed us this before and after of her yard. I'm not sure of the aspect but I was very impressed with the transformation. image



  • Looks lovely but too minimal for me ....... and I'm not so sure about the advisability of timber decking a north-facing yard ... the amount of slippery algae that can form over a wet winter is phenomenal.  image

    Last edited: 19 February 2018 10:46:23

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

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,581

    It's certainly "minimal" but it might have suited the poster's needs? Maybe out at work long hours, just wants somewhere to sit and have a  coffee at the weekend or a glass of wine at night. Maybe doesn't go out there in winter, lots of folk don't. 

    Too minimal for me though. I'd go "jungle": lose the boundaries altogether and the overlooking windows.

    I think my first concern with THIS poster would be the windows/ frames.

  • Oh yes, very practical for some people's needs .......... but our last place had a tiny northfacing yard just like that one ............ we put in a circular paved area, a shed in the corner, a small round lily pond, trellis up every wall and grew climbing roses, honeysuckle, clematis, runner beans, ferns, pulmonarias, lily of the valley, foxgloves, herbs, (including 8' tall lovage - spectacular) and all sorts of little ground covering plants.  We put a holder for a rotary washing line in the middle of the circular paving and had a garden bench under the climbing roses ... we both worked full time image

    You're either a compulsive gardener or you're not image

    Last edited: 19 February 2018 11:34:38

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

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