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Garden help, how to change?

Hello everyone,
We moved to our house 2 years ago, and the garden was very overgrown. Every time I go and try to do some work I find it really overwhelming and so it just gets left. I have taken some pictures of what can be seen from my living room, any suggestions would be very much appreciated. I want it to be as low maintenance as possible but I am also on a very tight budget, so there is only me and my husband to do the work. The very back of the garden is full of brambles which I want rid of but the very bottom of them is between 2 fences so I can't get to them to cut them. I hope someone can help. Thank you.


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    edited September 2018
    The garden as it is has a nice structure already. If you want to keep it very much like it is, and allow more space, don't be afraid to lop off huge branches to create more space and light.

    To keep it low maintenance, you could just dot some planters/terracotta pots around and under the shrubs to create some instant colour against all the green. You will be amazed what that can do for the areas. It immediately lifts the backdrop and highlights your gravel, especially if you use terracotta pots.

    In regards to the pruning, you don't need to be too careful at this stage. Many plants can be 'thinned' out, which means, cutting down near to the base. Whilst others can be shortened.

    If you like a loose and more natural look, you should just thin out branches and shorten other branches. If you want it more neater and controlled, then you will need prune and shear to the Box shrubs at least once a year in late spring. Do a little at a time, there is no need to feel you have to tackle it in one go. It's a lovely space already.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    I'm going to disagree totally - sorry Borderline!  :D
    If that was mine, I'd find it very claustrophobic, and I can understand why you feel it's too challenging to attempt to sort it all out. 
    Is most of the greenery hedging, or are there individual shrubs/trees in there? If the latter, it might be worth getting 'a man in' just to remove them, and then see where you are. Overgrown hedging can be hacked back with loppers/hedgetrimmers, and a bit of brute force, so that can be tackled by yourselves, as Borderline has indicated, but again - it might be worth getting someone to come in and hack it all back for you, as it'll keep you motivated. 
    It doesn't look like a big space, but if you can get it to a point where you have a cleared space, with a defined boundary, it'll seem a bit more spacious, and you can then start to build on that with some shrubs and other planting which are all easier to maintain. You'll get plenty of help with ideas for that. You will also need to address the new areas of ground - adding to the existing gravel would be the simplest choice, to give a uniform look, and that also helps to make the space look bigger and less closed in. 
    You'll still have plenty of privacy, from what I can see, and could add, and enjoy, a little seating area if that's what you'd like. If you need additional privacy, some trellis and easy climbers will sort that without too much issue  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Fairygirl, the more opinions the better. I don't usually like all the high boundaries if I'm honest, but I actually like the structure there already. Not sure why, but it might be to do with the fact that I have never inherited a garden with mature structure/plants which I tend to value more and more nowadays. 
  • There are individual trees in there, I will get a picture of the back tomorrow. At the back there is a monkey puzzle tree, and corkscrew hazel (I think that's right). I don't want to keep the monkey puzzle as I have 3 young children and it is very prickly but I don't know how to remove.
    I do like the garden, and I really appreciate the effort that must have gone into it at one time, but for me personally I would like it as low maintenance as possible. 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,743
    Might it be possible to get a higher viewpoint? maybe an upstairs window, or even from the top of some step ladders?
    It's hard to get a proper feel for the space.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    I like structure too Borderline. My own garden is quite structural, and give lots of year round interest. Useful when you're looking at it from inside the house for many months!   ;)
    The garden has to work for you and your needs nrw, so I can understand why you want to get it to a manageable space, and not be spending lots of time and money keeping it nice.
    I'd agree with Hosta though - a higher viewpoint would really help  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,179
    Normally l would say just deal with the bit you can see from the window and deal with the rest later, but l can see how you would find it dispiriting to look at it all winter. As Hostafan says, a view from above would be helpful. How would you feel if you cleared as much as possible yourself, got someone in to clear the rest, and started with a blank canvas? I appreciate you are on a tight budget but if you have friends and/or relatives who are willing to help in exchange for a few beers and some food, that can be a big help. As you say, it was once a cared for garden, but now it's yours to put your own stamp on .  :)
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    I’m aching to pop round and attack that lot with my hedge trimmer! :smiley:

    I just bought one, and had a lot of fun earlier in the week tidying up some conifers. I say, get a trimmer, and get stuck in!  

    Itll grow back anyway, so no worries about mistakes.
  • Hi dear the garden looks over grown  and badly need pruning etc and with children it would be more practical  to to get someone to help  to get it sorted  take as anni suggestion get friends and/or relatives  to help in exchange for a few beers and some food 
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    At the moment it is very low maintenance ie no maintenance. Before you start throwing in the flame throwers or letting anyone rip with hedge trimmers and/or chain saws, I would do 5 things:
    1. Work out what you want from the garden.
    2. Work out what you are willing to spend on it - either in time or money.
    3. Decide realistically, just how much time you can spare in your week to garden.
    4. Really look at the garden and decide what bits/plants you really like.
    5. Find a neighbour/friend/workmate/relative that knows about plants who can tell you if something can/cannot be pruned/removed.
    Then, and only then, should you start to renovate/tidy/remove etc. 
    Gardens are not made in a day or week or month - look on this as a long term plan, say 1-2 years. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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