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How can I manage my garden better?

JaneyJaney Posts: 9
edited September 2018 in Problem solving
  Can anyone help me or give me advice please? I have love my garden, and spent many happy long hours completely lost in its company and beauty. I now need help on how I can make the garden more managable. I have had cancer since 2000, and although I still go out and do battle with plants and weeds, it does need the borders reducing, a total makeover really. Does anyone know of a group of gardeners in the North Buckinghamshire area that would be prepared to plan it all and get it going with me? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Janey
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  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,578
    Sorry to hear of your health problems Janey.

    I can't help you with specific recommendations because I live a long way from your area. Others may also be unable to recommend businesses by name because there is a (fairly) strict 'no unpaid advertising' policy on this website.

    As a general plan you could ask around to see if anybody can recommend a local garden designer. They often make an initial visit free of charge to discuss general ideas but then charge to draw up detailed plans. If you don't know of any contractors to do the work the designer will usually have their own contacts.

    You could also consider going directly to a garden landscaper & chatting to them. The chap I use has been doing it for years and often comes up with good ideas for my garden based on work he's done elsewhere. He gets paid to do the landscaping - the good ideas come for free! I originally got his name from our local Parish Magazine and employed him initially to come and do a very small job. I liked him, his working style and the finished job - and I've been using him ever since. He's also been a useful source of contacts for other work that needed doing including a garden maintenance guy who has just done a great job keeping on top of the garden while we were away for 5 weeks.

    If you / friends don't know of any designers or contractors - a local garden club, garden centre or nursery may be able to put you in touch with somebody - but you'll probably want to check out the quality of their work before doing business.

    If all this sounds a bit too expensive you might need to think about drawing up some plans yourself (some of the members on here can help you if necessary).

    Some local volunteer centres have a list of people prepared to help elderly, disabled or incapacitated people manage their gardens - but there will be a limit on how much 'heavy' labour they'll do. That sort of service is more aimed at keeping on top of grass and hedge cutting, weeding and pruning - not re-landscaping the garden.

    Good luck - hope you can sort something out😊

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • What a lovely reply, thank you so much. I think maybe drawing up some plans would be the way to go. I will be sad to change it, but I want a garden I can still work in and love, just smaller.  I will get drawing this weekend, and, thanks again. Kind regards Janey
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,053
    Try the Yellow pages. There certainly are a good half dozen designers in my small area so you should find lots. I had a look and if you are anywhere near Bedford, there are loads listed. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • As a point of first contact try your local voluntary services like Age Concern, Mc Millan. If they do not have the service they should know of local sources. 
  • What helpful replies I am getting, thank you ZeroZero1 and Hogweed, my impossible task is not seeming so hard now. One of my plans today is taking photos of the garden and re-scheming the whole thing, I was dreading it as it seems to sad to make it smaller, but with all your suggestions I am feeling much more positive about the whole event. Thankfully my cancer is (hopefully, hopefully) under control, it is the drugs that are making me tired and having less energy, I am so thankful for that, but I think a garden can only be enjoyed if it is under control too. So, here it starts - my mini Kew!!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,972
    Hi Janey - it's hard to make such a big change to your garden, but it's more important to look after yourself, and have a space which you can manage without it feeling like a huge chore. I can't help with finding landscapers/designers, but the others have given you some great ideas to start you off.  :)
    If you have some photos you can put on here, that will help with lots of ideas and advice, but here are my suggestions, for what it's worth.
    I'd suggest keeping the bulk of the garden very simple - grass and hedging can be maintained by a gardener coming in now and again, and wouldn't be too expensive. Some easy shrubs in the borders,which need minimal maintenance and give year round interest, and then some plants you love nearer the house, which you can potter around with when you feel able.  Pots of bulbs for spring colour is a great way to boost your mood when winter drags on and on, and it's an ideal time to do those. Somewhere to sit near those plants is really useful, and makes a nice little feature, but also means you can potter and rest as and when you need to. 
    Try and avoid too many high maintenance climbers, and big blousy perennials which need staking, deadheading and splitting regularly. It's easy for any bare ground to become full of weeds too, so a good mulch will help avoid too much weeding. If you have some help with grass cutting, I'm sure mulch could be applied at the same time when needed. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Janey, any garden can be enjoyed - put out a bird feeder! Appreciate the weeds! 
  • 3 bird baths, 4 feeders, lovely to watch, but those old weeds keep bugging me... note to self, must teach birds to weed while they feed!  Just been out thanks to Fairy girl and sorted out lots of plants that can be taken out once the frost starts, that will make space and will enable me to see the garden, once this has been done later in the autumn I can then take photos and will have a better idea of layouts.  Lovely ideas FG, thank you!
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,998
    Janey, l have a friend who is a keen gardener in a similar position to yourself. Fairygirl makes some good points in her post above, (as do others !) . She rang me yesterday having watched Garden Rescue, where they had built large raised beds with wide seats, that's the kind of thing she's after. Usually you see raised beds with quite wide edges to be used as seating, but these had a defined seat where you could put cushions, cup of coffee, tools etc. Guess what we'll be doing next week! As you say, it's sad to have to change what you love, but she is trying very hard to look on it as a "new design opportunity". I wish you every success.  :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,972
    Janey - if you use the 'no mess' bird food, it cuts down enormously on the weeds from the food   :)
    It can be a bit more expensive, but it's better in the long run as the birds eat everything.
    Glad I was of some use to you  ;)
    Anni  - you're right about raised beds. One or two of a decent length gives plenty of scope, and cuts down on watering compared to individual pots. Make sure they're at the right height for you Janey - they're often too low and hurt your back when working at them.  Not too deep [front to back] to make it easy to reach plants etc.
    Timber, rendered concrete block, brick or stone - depending on your budget. Perfect, and if properly done, they look good all year round. A built in seat should be easy for someone to put in, and gives a nice alternative to a bench.
    I don't have built in seats in mine, but I do often perch on the edge and contemplate things with a cuppa  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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