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Gardening rookie

Hi Guys,
I've bought this house and really struggling with the garden. I've always lived in flats so have no experience in this and the wife doesn't help lol

I would have much preferred lawn but a friend said it wont be cheap to change so I'm going to have to stick to this for now. Can someone please tell me what tools i need n how i can control this? How often do i need to work on this?

Any help would be appreciated. 



  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,995
    If you want a lawn.. build a lawn.  No sense having a garden you don't enjoy.  Spend the next few weekends measuring and designing, and come up with a plan for your dream space.  Taking up gravel and brick is hard work, and will probably take you all summer.  That's okay, because autumn is the perfect time for sowing grass.  You might consider offering the slate chips and bricks that you don't want on Freecycle.. someone can show up in your garden and do the hard work digging it up and carting it away.  
    Utah, USA.
  • I agree with @Blue Onion , if you want lawn go for lawn.

    When I first moved into my home the previous owners had cornered and sectioned off 60% of the garden with paving and stones! I got shot of all that and have slowly been replacing it over the last few years.

    I've used seed, turf and even FREE TURF from Homebase I think it was. It was around October time and they had about 10 rolls of turf where the grass had gone yellow and they gave it away. Took it home, watered it and its as good as new.

    Creating lawn is actually really cheap to do, it's the time and preparation that's the hard part.

    Good luck.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,715
    Which way does it face, you dont wont a very shady lawn.Tools, basics, fork,spade,trowel,hand fork. I would say spring is the best time to lay a lawn, but you have missed that for this year.  I expect you could sell your hard surface material, that will pay for your turf, OK going to Homebase for a roll, but look for turf suppliers, sell the hard stuff it will pay for your lawn.  Yes the prep is hard work, sure there is a link on here to show you exactly what to do, seed is cheaper but you have to keep the birds off the cats, and everyone, turf gives you instant results, oh and then you will need a mower, edging sheers, at the very least.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,511
    Looks like the bit with gravel and random paving stones had already starting a lawn for you - you could start with that and leave the slate chipping area alone for now as it looks ok. You could put a large planter on the latter with a small flowering tree or shrub for instant effect.

    As a relatively new gardener, forum members recommended I watch Alan Titchmarsh’s How to be a Gardener (search for the post ‘Good book on growing perennials’ and you will find the links to the videos). It’s brilliant and really inspiring. He tells you the basic tools you need, all about laying lawns, creating borders, and how to look after everything.

    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FireFire Posts: 18,934
    How to be a Gardener (eight parts)
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Think about what use you want to make of the garden.  Do you want to grow stuff you can eat?  Do you want it to look pretty?  Will it be a play area for children or pets? Do you want to use it for lounging and entertaining?  Your question, How often do I need to work on this? As often as you like! Work out which way it faces because that will determine how much sun it gets and at what time of day which in turn will determine which plants will be easiest to grow.  You also need to know what type of soil you have, is it clay or sandy, acid or alkaline?  And have a look at neighbours' gardens and see what they are growing.  A local landscape gardener may be happy to relieve you of the stones and gravel.  
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    As a new gardener, you do not want to take on more than you can manage or have the time for.
    My advice is to live with what you have got for the next few years. Spend the time now in digging over the raised borders and removing all the weeds. Then plant them up with whatever you like. Have a read of some books on basic gardening and creating borders. 

    Find a relative/friend/bloke in the pub who could come for an hour or so and show you what are weeds and what could be plants in your borders. You can then set to and start to clear the weeds out. Hopefully there will be some plants. Beg or borrow spare plants from friends/relatives/bloke in the pub to get you going. 

    Keep your borders weed free from then on. A gentle hoe will do it - don't wait until the weeds are at flowering point before removing them. 

    Kill any weeds in the gravel/slate bit with weedkiller (Pathclear is a good one). You may need to spray twice a year if it is really weedy.

    Minimum tools - spade, rake, hoe, trowel, sprayer and/or watering can. 
    At the end of your first year as a gardener you can decide if it is for you and then take it from there. But don't rush into doing expensive work until you have decided or not. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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