Main border plan

HexagonHexagon Posts: 963
edited May 2019 in Garden design
I'm not really happy with this area of the border. It's what you see when looking out from the house.
From left to right, there is a maple tree, some unknown spirea (autumn flowering), with ground cover ivy. Then there is a prunus laurocerasus which is growing through from next door, and there are random stones onto which I chucked the plant pots because they were crawling with ants when I went to use them/the soil in them.
After that there's a bunch of euphorbia robbiae which I've removed from most of the rest of the garden, followed by a floppy euonymus (another bit of the laurel poking through at the back) some daffodils at the front that need trimming soon, and a weigela that was outgrowing the space. To the right of that there is more euphorbia, ivy and another one of those spirea. There's a couple of bits of bramble that I'll get rid of and a few ash tree seedlings...
The only thing I enjoy looking at in this area is the maple tree. Its leaves are a lovely yellow against the evergreen.

My initial plan was to cut the weigela down enough to move, but I decided it was too big for that. Now I'm waiting (not patiently!) for it to regrow and fill the space. I don't like the gaps and I can see through to next door's trampoline which is unsightly.

I wanted to fill the space reasonably quickly by either dividing and moving other plants, or with cuttings from the rest of the garden, but this has failed (see the cuttings thread) and is taking too long.

Now I'm faced with spending way too much money on largish or fast growing shrubs to fill the space. Not to mention having nowhere to plant the cuttings when they finally get big enough.

The euonymus is too floppy for this area, and I want something more upright. I have a eunoymus japonicus aureopictus to replace it with, and then maybe underplant with the floppy one. Assuming they will survive being moved. I moved a different type of euonymus in Feb/March and it's thriving in its new spot.

The "fencing" there is a just a couple of trellis panels that I assume were put there to stop the dog from next door getting through. There is also some chicken wire. It makes sense to remove it but only if I put some decent solid plants in.

If I have to buy new plants, I don't want plants with strong fragrances, nor do I want anything that requires ericaceous compost.

I will probably try layering the prunus laucerosususus to get it to root on my side of the fence then keep cutting it back until it thickens up nicely. I'll probably leave the spirea next to the maple tree as there's a seating area/parasol on the other side that I can see.

I suppose my other option would be getting a mini shed or cold frame, but I'm not sure I'd want to sit there looking at it? It's the main border and all the plants in the side borders are much nicer to look at!


  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,965
    It's your main border. It makes sense to grow what you want to see there, rather than chucking in fast growing 'filler plants', or god forbid, a mini-shed! I would bite the bullet and buy a few decent sized, really attractive shrubs (you won't need that many surely, maybe 3 at minimum?) and some perennials. I would remove some grass at the front and straighten up the edge of the border, make a nice crisp edge.
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 963
    Yes, the grass was trampled on when I was cutting back the weigela.
    I was going to do that thing where you cut out the grass, turn it round so that the trampled bit is on the inside, then re-seed. Maybe the only problem with doing that, is that it starts to curve around to the right so I'd probably cut out the wrong shape.
  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,965
    I feel the border would benefit from being more generous in depth.
  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,965
    I forgot about the Wiegela which will come back (probably faster than you think). Well, any shrubs you plant around it will still be moveable next year. I've got to say, I would have tried to move that Wiegela, personally - they're OK shrubs but not really for centre stage in your main border. Whatever you plant in there has to be really good most of the year.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 57,654
    edited May 2019
    WillDB said:
    I feel the border would benefit from being more generous in depth.
    I was just about to say that @WillDB 🖐 

    A deeper border will allow you to plant in layers of height, resulting in a tapestry of plants which will support each other to a great extent and be more effective in screening the bare patches of hedge etc. 

    I know this is on a different scale, but it shows the principle ... there’s a big yew hedge behind that border in the first photo
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 963
    The border is around 1.1m wide. I know that people on here love wide borders! If I widen the border here, I may have to widen it all the round as it goes around the lawn on all 3 sides. Chopping off baldy grass patches is easier than re-seeding, I suppose.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 4,068
    You don't necessarily have to widen the border all the way round. Take it out a bit enough to get rid of all the bare/trampled bits and smarten up the edge then curve it round to meet the next side. Spend your money on one really lovely plant you absolutely love and which has all year round appeal and use that as your focal plant.
     That way, everytime you look at your main border, your attention will be caught on that plant and you won't notice the others so much. The weigela can be tamed by regular annual pruning after flowering and the euronymus can also just be trimmed to fit the space when you feel like it so it's not floppy. Take a look at Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Aureomarginatus'. It has holly looking leaves, in a light mix of pale green/cream/pink colouring, makes a nice round dome shape, is slow growing but could eventually reach  2 m and is easily clipped to size. 
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 963
    Well....I absolutely love acers and I would fill the garden with them if I could! A decent sized one is around £50, or I could get a much smaller one for £10.

    I paid £7.50 for a palmatum Katsura last year and I’ve kept it in a pot near the house so I can look at it up close. I love it so much that I want to take it with me when I move house! So I’m hesitant to put it anywhere in the borders.

    @Lizzie27 so the euonymus is only floppy because it hasn’t been pruned?

    The osmanthus one sounds interesting, I think I’d have to see it in person. I was thinking some with crimson red foliage, or maybe a dogwood.
  • B3B3 Posts: 10,911
    I would get a length of hose and play about with different shapes to extend at least some of the border out a bit. 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 963
    edited May 2019

    That’s a rough sketch as it is at the moment. I drew a dotted line; maybe I could cut there, but I think it looks stupid like that. 
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