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New to gardening and New garden

Hi all
In the last couple of months I moved into a house with a front and back garden!  I am  a complete novice to gardening and my old patio yard had three planters, a couple of chairs, cafe table and chimnea thing.

As you can see from the photos, the house is three years old and the previous owners did nothing with the garden.

Ive managed to pull all the weeds from the stones and between the slabs and thats as far as i got this weekend as I did the front garden as well (I have that one in the bag as its fiarly small).  I have several problems / thoughts and after reading this forum to do the front to hopefully good success, I wondered if anyone had any hints and tips for the rear. 

> Put decking in the top corner to sit a square table and 4 chairs.  Go along two fence panels and down one panel.

> Dig out all the grass in the bottom coner after the retaining wall ends and etend the bottom patio up into the grass and extend the retaining wall

> The moss - The water runs down the garden and is boggy as a result leaving loads of moss growing. 

> Its not rained for days and we have had sun and its still sucking in the water from the noise coming from the garden.  Under the 'grass' it is pure clay.  No topsoil from what I can see.  Due to it being so boggy it also means that its still too wet to cut, despite some areas being in real need. 

> The grass by the bottom step is waterlogged and full of weeds so will hinder any growth and the grass that grows is very weedy and not real grass

> I have two man holes I cant cover up - one just behind the retaining wall and one in the grass. Unfortunately I havent opened them to see what way these run through the garden yet but limits our options as to what we can do obviously as access will be required

> What type of plants can I have in here with the plans we have come up with as its kind of limiting me to potted plants or the very top of the garden next to the decking in my head as I need some grass for the animals to play / toilet on

what are your wise words of wisdom?

I have to get rid of the moss - Probably dig / rake it out
More than likely I will need to totally re-grass the grass laid down as its terrible



  • ThankthecatThankthecat Posts: 421
    Manhole covers in the middle of the garden?!! Who planned THAT? I'm nowhere near experienced enough to give you advice, but just wanted to say I really feel for you with the clay and... those flippin' manhole covers!
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Which way is your garden facing? I'm just trying to work out why you want a decking area right at the top left side of your garden. Also, it's hard with scale since the pictures make the garden look small and two patio type areas would seem quite busy and cluttered. Could be wrong, but since you are having problems with some drainage issues, further flat spaces for water to run off may not help the water pooling near the areas closest to your house.
  • Pauline 7Pauline 7 Posts: 2,217
    edited April 2018
    I have a man hole cover in the middle of my grass and painted it green and have put an ornamental planter on it. I  put potted plants in it. 

    West Yorkshire
  • Pauline 7Pauline 7 Posts: 2,217
    The planter. ...not the manhole! 
    West Yorkshire
  • @Thankthecat - Tell me about it.  They were very hidden when we viewed as it was approaching dusk and he grass was fairly long.

    @Borderline - the decking in the top left was because this is where the sun is strongest from about midday to 3pm so it makes sense to have the bit where you would sit up there.  I agree about the two flat areas.  Its not a large garden at all, probably about 20m long x 15m wide.  I was thinking about extending the bottom patio so there was somwhere to sit out of the view of the neighbours or be in the sahde if we just wanted to sit out there, but point taken about it possibly looking clunky.  Also a good point about the drainage issues.

    I think this is going to take a lot of working out in my head and maybe get in a landscaping professional who will be able to design around all the drainage, sloping garden and manhole issues and then think about plants and stuff like that afterwards once the garden has settled in
  • ThankthecatThankthecat Posts: 421
    Seeing as you're 'from the shires' maybe you could just burrow into the slope and make a hobbit hole  :p
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    The size seems very big. Do you mean feet rather than meters? Think about the type of plants you want and the look  and feel of the garden. The more shrubs you plant along the lower section or near the top, it will help to suck up excess moisture. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,672
    You have the makings of what could be a very nice garden there - lovely brick wall and what looks like good solid fencing.  I would go for a square at the top left, but you need plenty of room for a table and 4 chairs. Check what room you need by looking at your dining room set - if you have one. You will need room to pull each chair out and for people to walk round the back.  If you can afford it, I would suggest the same paving as you have already, (rather than decking) to tie the hard landscaping together. Then put substantial trellising around the 2 open sides to create a secret "dining" arbour and help hide you from the neighbours. In the bottom part by the lowest step, as you say, take up all the grass, extend the paving (or put down a good depth of gravel to counteract the sogginess). Then, where the retaining wall ends and in line with the manhole, I suggest a line of paving stones (you can get manhole covers in which a paving slab can sit) (make a virtue out of a necessity) going diagonally up the garden to the top sitting area as that is the walk line everyone will take. 
    As for planting, you can do a border behind the retaining walls, and around the top sitting place. You could also put a narrow bed alongside the stepped path and anywhere else you fancy. Have fun!
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 595
    I would agree with Borderline re the decking. I would hold off, at least for now, from creating any more flat areas - not just from point of view of run-off and consequent drainage problems but also aesthetically. 
    1. You have a large 'flat' unbroken green area of grass which looks healthy enough to do well after a bit of 'Weed and Feed' treatment.
    2. You could break up the flat appearance of the grassed area with flower borders eg next to the fence (a bit traditional, I know!)
    3. The general slope of the garden creates drainage towards the house so it might be a good idea to see if you can use the fact to your advantage
    4. The retaining wall could become a one side of a raised bed which could be tended standing up from the patio side. The other side would be at the level of the lawn (a friend of mine has done just that but with heavy railway sleepers). 
    5. The only consideration with (4) may be: is the wall is strong enough to hold back the extra soil you'd need to bring it up to a level you could reach from the patio?
    6. If you like the idea of (4) you could extend the patio to full width for all of its length... and then...
    7. Also extend the retaining wall (or use sleepers) to extend the new raised bed as far as the terraced steps. 
    Because the garden has so far had little done to it you have a blank canvas which is great for your own ideas to be introduced as you think of them.
  • The size seems very big. Do you mean feet rather than meters? Think about the type of plants you want and the look  and feel of the garden. The more shrubs you plant along the lower section or near the top, it will help to suck up excess moisture. 
    @Borderline -I've just done the accurate measurements now I'm home and it's 12m by 15m give or take. The photos do make it look exceptionally small I guess. Good shout on the shrubs soaking up the moisture. 

    @Birdy13 - great ideas. I was thinking flower beds around the edge and using the retaining wall as a raised bed. It should hold the extra weight of soil as it's pretty much to the base of the topping bricks anyway. With Borderlines suggestion as well about the extra greenery soaking up the moisture, I think that's a deffo to begin with. I just need to get the husband tied down to discuss the excellent ideas put forward.
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