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Please help!! Novice designing front garden.

Hi! I'm looking for a bit of guidance really. I've finally got round to weeding and laying some membrane down in my front garden. I plan to put down plum slate but would like to put some plants in too. It's about 5x5 metres, and slopes downwards towards the house. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding which plants (probably evergreens) to plant and where? Thanks in advance! 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 70,321
    What's the soil like and which way does the garden face?  Does it get a lot of shade or shadow?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Hi! It's north facing. I have no idea regarding the soil, my novice answer is that it seems a bit sandy and dense haha. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,555
    Whereabouts are you Caroline? That might give us a bit of a clue as to what kind of soil you have. It looks like a pine tree at the top so I would guess at an acidic soil possibly. Are there any rhododendrons or camellias nearby? I would suggest that you put another layer of the mulch fabric down (which looks rather like fleece? rather than the usual black fabric) in order to keep the weeds down. With the pine tree and your plum slate, how about going for a slightly Oriental theme  with 3 or 4 smallish, interestingly looking conifers at different angles and maybe a statue. Are you thinking of a hedge at the top in front of the wall to give you some privacy?
  • Hi Lizzy, 
    When I was getting rid of the weeds the soil did have a bit of an acidic smell, if that is possible? I live in Lancashire :) 
    I was thinking of maybe putting some dwarf conifers at the top. I really like the tree in the corner. I Googled it and it said it could possibly be a Larch. I'd like to make it the feature of the garden, so everything kind of draws your eye to the tree. But unsure how to go about it. 
    I like the idea of an oriental theme. Do you have any particular shrubs in mind? 
    Thanks for your input :) 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 10,147
    To my knowledge dark, opaque membrane / plastic is usually used to stop light getting to anything underneath and so stop them growing. Can light get through your covering?
  • Hi Fire,

    This crossed my mind too. The sheeting was given to me by my neighbour who's a groundsworker. I might just put another layer on and hope for the best! 

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,555
    Hi Caroline, If you want to make a feature of the tree, think triangular from left to right, with the wide part at the bottom of the slope and the top pointing towards the tree. Perhaps place your sculpture, Buddha, lantern etc underneath the tree so your attention is drawn upwards. If you think theft might be a problem, substitute a pile of interesting stones, balanced on one another. Small spreading acers in different colours would fit in with the Oriental theme (if they survive in Lancashire). A limey green acer would look brilliant against the purple slate. As for the conifers along the wall, again limey green ones but in a conical shape would contrast with the spreading acer(s). You wouldn't need many plants  as less is more  in oriental gardens. What fun!  I'm sure OP's might have other suggestions as well.
  • edited August 2018
    Love this idea and think I'm going to go with it, love acers too! 🎉 

    I've been doodling and have come up with this. Might use some larger slate/stones to draw the eye towards the tree

    Thanks again! 
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,916
    The tree has a lovely shape already - I think you're right to use it as a feature.  (My guess is it's a pine, not a larch... if it keeps its needles over winter it's not a larch.  Probably a good thing because larch trees are enormous...)
    Your design could look really interesting!
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Ahh thankyou! I imagine you're correct haha 😂 I just did a quick search. Always learning 😂 😉 
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