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Help with my blank canvas of a garden!


My garden is approx 13ft x 52ft, one section is 33ft, then 10ft, then 9ft.

It was filled with a giant shed filled with rubbish that took about 15 van loads to empty and about 2 weeks to dismantle!

I have terraced the bottom section with sleepers to make it more use able, but really its a blank canvas now! (the french is a slate/railings colour now)

Really I would like a nice area for a patio and maybe some additional statement plants, I'm thinking maybe 1 or two clumping bamboo? Maybe a little 7 x 7 shed for storage. Just a bit lost and while I'm OK with DIY I'm new to gardening. Any ideas or inspiration please!


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 16,773

    It all depends on several things! What do you want from your garden? Flowers? Veg? Play area, children?, lawn?, paving? low maintenance? Is it in sun or shade? What is the soil like? Acid? Alkali?

    As it isn't very wide I wouldn't put anything like a straight path or thin straight borders along the edges. Better with curves or a design that goes from side to side or different shapes.

    Have a look at some of these

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • steven_playfordsteven_playford Posts: 19
    edited May 2019
    The section nearest gates are sunnier as less shade from trees and the bottom bit i've terraced is sunny too.

    I've no idea as to acids and alkalinity, its near a river and I don't think NI has much chalk soil? 

    No children, not interested in a lawn. Thinking some paving, some gravel and some nice low maintenance statement plants like bamboo and some lighting for night? 

    I don't want a sea of paving and fencing though. I'm pretty unsure of planting I think is the problem. Maybe planting for fencing along the bottom.

    Maybe beachy/coastal, with a bit of bamboo tropical thrown in?

    I'll look through your link now. Thank you for taking time to respond, much appreciated.

    Would you start with saw a theme? I'll maybe try and draw out the garden with shade and sunshine areas/tree cover if that would help?

  • First idea, I have tried to show sunny/shaded sections, basically the centre where the patio is, has tree branches over it so more shaded. The dots are gravel. V. V. rough but starting point!
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 16,773
    Has anyone else got any ideas? Just boosting this back to the top.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • HouseFinchHouseFinch British Columbia, Canada (Zone 5)Posts: 327
    One thing you should know off the bat is bamboo is highly invasive. So it will grow and spread and be very difficult to remove-Most people recommend to keep it in planters, or contained with paving stones.
  • HouseFinchHouseFinch British Columbia, Canada (Zone 5)Posts: 327
    edited June 2019
    Circular gravel area in the center of the firewood stack area, for seating, with a fire pit in the middle. Low maintenance plants around it-smaller varieties in front and more towering ones at the back. A meandering gravel path from there through the rest of the garden with planting along either side.
    Did you want a water feature? Do you have a chimnea, or existing outdoor patio furniture? What colours would you prefer? and what zone are you in?
  • fizzwhizzfizzwhizz Posts: 94
    Oooh i love a blank canvas and i love the woodlandy feel you have, it is lovely. My ideas off the bat are - you could go with woodland type theme and look for plants that like those conditions - ferns etc - this will make it lower maintenance as everything will work together in a more natural environment. Things like bluebells / aquilegias self seed and fit those conditions I think. There is lots of advice online about woodland plants or you could create a new thread. Because its a smaller garden - try and find shrubs / plants that give you more than one thing - for example spring flowers, autumn colour, berries, rather than just one thing like only flowering in May or something. Due to the fences, climbers are your friends - for example hydrangea petiolaris for shade, clematis montana for big stretches of fence (no pruning so less maintenance). Both of these options can get quite big though. I would also consider a curved arch set off to one side to further divide the garden if there is space - this adds a nice curve to offset the long straight lines. Ditto round furniture and firepit all will help add contrast visually. Lastly white flowers are good for a garden you plan to use at night as they sort of glow in the darkness and a lot are night-scented... that garden would look amazing lit up by fairylights strung up in the trees - magical :-)
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Posts: 2,054
    @fizzwhizz.  I love your ideas!😊  well done!
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • oooftoooft Posts: 191
    That loggy bit would be a great chicken area. Ever thought about getting some chooks? Free eggs, fertiliser and soundtrack when you're gardening. Your plans look great, I'm sure your garden will be beautiful 
  • I like the idea of ferns and some kind of fire pit ( not in same section) 

    The bamboo im thinking of would be of the clumping type rather than invasive running type. 

    Liking the idea of a kind of lush green theme and patio planters to break that up a bit.

    My gf would love chickens but I have visions of the local riverbank foxes also enjoying them in quite a different manner. 

    Thanks for taking the the time to reply folks!
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