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Help! What would you suggest for this space?

Hello there,

I'm new to the forum and this is my first post so please be gentle...

I'm looking for ideas and suggestions of what to do with this space - I've lived in my house for two years and this is a focal point from both kitchen and living room. 

Space is underneath a row of conifers and soil is quite dry (other soil in garden is clay) - I know from reading other forums that conifers have a bad reputation but these are fantastic for privacy and the view from the houses behind so would not consider removing them.
We also have lots of birds that live in them!

We have plenty of barrel style planters (as in the picture) but think a row of these would look odd so looking for suggestions of any shrubs that might grow in between and what would look nice visually - especially in the centre as a focal point.
You can see that the row of of yew shrubs have survived on one side but not the other! Barrels in the middle have become bird feeders which the birds love!

Any suggestions for containers and plants/shrubs would be much appreciated.

Thanks :) 


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,989
    As you say,the soil underneath the conifers will always be dry and impoverished, so I would suggest a wooden arbour in front of them, painted a colour of your choice and perhaps some nice cushions when it's warm enough to sit aside. You could then use your barrel planters each side with the colourful plants in them to give you something nice to look at from your windows.
    One word of warning, although you may like your conifirs, they do not stop growing! You should really give us thought to keeping them trimmed professionally on a regular basis.  Also, the legal limit for a leylandi hedge is 2 metre, so your neighbours behind could force you to get them cut to that level. 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • FireFire Posts: 18,097
    That is one enormous hedge.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,432
    I wouldn't plant anything in front of that hedge, it would struggle to survive and just wouldn't look right for me.  I would also remove those dying yews on the right, and also the ones on the left, they're out of place...  leaving the conifer bases exposed.

    You need permanent and easy access to a hedge like that, so I wouldn't want to block it.  What I would do, as you have birds nesting, is to treat myself to a nice ornamental bird bath, and put it right in the middle where those two pots are.  It would also act as a kind of statuary..
    East Anglia, England
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,165
    The soil in front of the conifers would act as an enormous "drain" and suck moisture from the soil, so if you wanted to plant anything in the ground, you would need to dig out a fair distance away from them. Using pots or barrels would be a lot easier but l think they would have to be fairly large to be in proportion to the hedge, or they would just "disappear" into it. The idea of a birdbath as a focal point is a good one especially as birds already use the area. 
    If you wanted a seating area, a pergola maybe with a seat, or just as a feature that you could hang bird feeders from ?
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    Fantastic hedge. ......I'd place a seat and large birdbath in front of it 
  • autumngloryautumnglory Posts: 255
    edited April 2018
    I'd build (or get my other half to build  ;)) some huge planters out of decking or old scaffold boards and put some of those in front of it. 

    The arbour and bird bath are good ideas too!
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  • FireFire Posts: 18,097
    You could put a large summer house in front (with hedge access)?
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