Front and Back Ideas for Saturday, please!


I live in a place where we have clay soil. It's not great. Squidgy in winter and hard in summer. My wife passed away just under 2 years ago and I work long hours and now have decided to make some changes (less maintenance for me). My neighbours have chipped over their whole gardens but I'm not sure. 

At my back, we have a patio and a garden room. The grass to the left of the garden room is never used. Neither is the grass right at the back of the garden, next to the fence (see pics) - the garden slopes down toward the fence at the back and the soil there is squidgy. I created a flower bed but I'm ok to get rid of it. I need ideas for low maintenance but must admit I like the grass right next to the patio - it edges it out well with some colour. 

Ideally I was thinking about some  more patio at the bottom but oh the cost and we'd never be down there. Or maybe just some solid ground so we could put our bins behind the garden room. But forgetting that, I was thinking of chipping it to the left of the garden room, and perhaps along the entire back fence, maybe with a contour. Then I could put some pots down or something. 

The front.. it's the only house with grass left at the front. I did an S-shaped flower bed as tribute to my wife and have a few pots there. Simple. Don't know if I should consider chipping it. 

We have a guy coming round Saturday and I'd like to put a definite idea forward. I don't have to get rid of all the grass - I've decided to pay a gardener to cut it every now and then. 

here are links to the pics (and yes, the grass needs cut!). THANK YOU for your suggestions!!


  • Forgot to say, because the garden slopes down toward the back, I thought about maybe even making it two-level... so the chipped bit at the back would be lower than the front bit. 
  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 601
    I think you should receive an award for being the only person in the street not to have chipped your front garden!  You are a wildlife saviour!   Personally I think the front looks fine (with a little grass cutting from time to time).

    The back garden looks a bit bland to me. But if you have no time to garden then rather pointless to get too complex.  But please don’t chip - birds and bees need somewhere green. And pots need lots of maintenance to stay looking nice.     What about getting rid of the small shrub bed, and planting a single small/tiny tree or shrub that will give year round interest to look at without needing much care once (after initial establishment). Put some bulbs round it for spring interest.  And maybe a climber for the fence. And leave it at that. 

    Crab apples, a rose arch, holly, evergreen cotoneaster, or even a Japanese maple can grow well on clay.
  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 8,061
    I think Helix makes some good points but I think perhaps you would be best to take more time to think about your options.
    If you can keep on top of things for the next few months, you will then have all Winter to consider what you want from the garden.  
    You don't say whether the chap you have coming on Saturday is a Garden designer,a landscaper,  an odd job man or WHY. 
    If you put photos on here with a list of your Wants and Must Haves together with orientation, etc. you will hopefully get plenty of advice and suggestions which you could then mull over and get going in the Spring.  Just a thought :)   
  • The guy on Saturday did the chipping for the neighbours, does paving etc. 
    True that there's no rush. 

    I'm just so tired after a long day at work and a long commute. The back soil is so sludgy... I really am thinking about chipping all along the back (see the pic links in first page) and along the left next to the garden room (but keeping grass edging the patio). And then put maybe a few tall pots along the back to add dimension.

    It seems the simple solution, will get around the sludgy soil problem and section of grass I just never use. I can keep the font as grass and just pay a gardener. 

    Please let me know if the links don't work!
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 5,864
    I found myself wondering if it's the right house for you now - with a lot to take of. Just a thought.
  • It was the house my wife wanted before she passed away - my two stepdaughters are here - we wont be moving any time soon :)
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 2,359
    Rather than wood chip how about laying membrane and covering with slate chips. A little more expensive to start with, but cuts out weeding, lasts a long time, and wont need replacing/ topping up like wood chips. You could still plant a tree or grow up the fence and put planters where you wanted.
  • Just to note I meant stone chips. Is slate even better for preventing weeds?
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 2,359
    Not better just easier to walk on and less likely to spread where you dont want them
  • That's a good consideration, thank you!
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