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Help! Seeking New Build Garden Advice :)

I’ve just moved into my first house (first garden) and just don’t know where to start! The soil is dry, rocky and I think currently not suitable to plant on. If anyone has an advice or suggestions on how to get the soil grass ready and plant bed ready we’d greatly appreciate the guidance,
Any links to videos or just ideas also welcome :) 
Many Thanks


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,175
    Hello @roseanna.hart welcome to the forum  :)
    You have a typical new build garden there ! I am willing to bet there is some builder's rubbish under that topsoil.
    Okay, a few questions for you. Do you know which way it faces, North,South etc. There is an app that will tell you l believe. Is it sunny?
    When you say you want flowers, what sort of thing do you want, traditional cottage garden look, or something more contemporary? 
    There are many sites such as Pinterest that can give you ideas, but the most important thing is to get the preparation done first, it will pay in the long run.
    There will be others along with advice l am sure, there are quite a few on here with new build gardens ! 
  • Hi @AnniD thank you for your message  :)

    I’ve spotted some rubbish and large rocks indeed! I’ve even spotted some cigarette butts 😔

    We are East facing - so we get the suns mornings/afternoons - were quite unshadowed too so areas of the garden get some great sunlight.

    Yes I definitely would like a more cottage feel, perhaps even a bit wild flowery in places!

    The preparation part is where I’m currently lacking understanding - we just don’t know where to start unfortunately. Do you have any tips for how to best prepare the land?

    Many Thanks,
  • AchtungAchtung Posts: 159
    Hi Roseanna. I would start by having a dig to find out what's under the garden and remove it if it's builders mess. Then get some topsoil or manure, or both and dig it in. Always good to prep the soil before you spend money on plants. HTH. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,175
    edited May 2019
    As Achtung says, start digging and see what you have underneath, and get rid of any rubble, cable drums, bits of metal etc. (It may be 30 years since I did that, but I remember what it's like!). 
    Then you need to decide the layout. Mark it out using bits of hosepipe (if you want curves) or string (for straight lines). When you have it how you think you'd like it, look down on it from the upstairs window and tweak it as necessary. Now you know where your flower beds are going to be, you can start by digging them over and adding compost, manure (well rotted) and getting them prepared for planting. As for the lawn area, that requires different preparation and you need to decide whether to use turf for an instant effect, or seed. You won't need manure for that.
    I would also add, assuming you're going to have a patio/seating area, you may want to have more than one. Not just outside the back/patio doors, but if you have a particular sunny spot, you may want to consider having one there as well. Again, when they're marked out, that'll be different preparation required. 
    I envy you your blank canvas ! :)
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,181
    If the builders are still working on the site then have a word and get them to help you sort it out. Even if you have to pay for good quality topsoil then they could do the decent thing and scrape back the existing stuff so you don't have to raise the ground level.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • ForTheBeesForTheBees Posts: 168
    Make some holes in the fence to allow hedgehogs access. They will repay you by eating your slugs and snails.
  • AndyDeanAndyDean Posts: 157
    I have a new build garden which hadn't had anything done to it since built, just turf laid down.

    The strip at the front/side of the house is very shallow soil over hardcore/rubble, and having small children and a full time job I didn't have the time to dig it up properly. Instead, I put in a couple of raised beds to grow some veg, and with the rest added organic matter/topsoil as I could without raising it too much, and have focused on plants which like sunny, dry, poor soil. I'm getting good results with ornamental grasses, alliums, salvias, echium, verbena, lavender, Mediterranean herbs, that sort of thing.

    The back garden had maybe a foot of decent topsoil over sand. I made the mistake of digging too deeply when preparing beds, and now have very sandy soil! Still, things are growing, and I'm adding plenty of organic matter to improve the situation.

    I would suggest at least one tree for your garden - crab apple, amelanchier, birch are all suitable for small gardens, attractive, and with good wildlife value. I've actually planted a few fruit trees on M9/M26 (I think) rootstock as well as a small birch in my small back garden, but I do love trees. Choose the site for it as part of your initial plan, then you can work round it.
  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 651
    Hi Roseanne, don't forget to allow for the practical things like washing line and wheelie bins, it's a lot easier to hide them if you think about those sort of things when planning a layout. You may also want to provide an area for a barbecue and entertaining which you may prefer to site in partial shade. I'm sure you will get lots of suggestions for design from forum members and there are always books on garden design in the library. 
  • Thanks for everyone’s tips, we went out and bought a rake & shovel to start today! How deep shall we dig to get an idea of soil?
    We would love a tree!
    We also have a friend who’s an avid gardener popping over who also does sketches who’s going to help us plan the garden 😀 
    I like the idea of more than one seating area too so will watch out for the sun traps at the end of the garden,
    Many Thanks 

  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 5,228
    Maybe a curved shape might be nice. Continue the paving from the shed curving to touch the right side fence ( good place to put the bins behind the shed) then curving across the right corner giving room for that swing I see the frame of. The left hand back corner could have a similar curve and be a bed big enough for that tree. This would make a round lawn. Then near the house by the patio you could have another bed of flowers on the curve of the lawn. Your first suggestion of many I'm sure enjoy the process.😁
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