Planting plan ideas

Any advice and ideas would be great on how to finish / fill out my back garden (clay soil) and help screen and gain some much needed privacy where very overlooked on both sides - please see pix. I've also got a small front garden, a blank canvas so not sure which plants I already have might be better suited to back garden or front (front is south west facing so gets a lot of sun).

Am planning to paint fence dark grey but not sure if painting all of fence, as there's a lot, will be too much grey. The back is north-easterly facing, so the patio right by the house gets the sun first thing for the morning, then is in the shade, whereas the back half gets sun by the afternoon up to the end of the day. The back's still a work in progress with the beds looking bare and in need of some more planting, shrubs or climbers - but which ones should I consider to add some height next to the fences and privacy where overlooked?

So far on the right border fence (which is more in the shade than left side) the shrubs are photina, buddleia, hydrangea and another one (red stems) I've forgotten the name for. There's the cherry blossom tree but I wanted to plant two more trees on the left side - at the back possibly a crabapple tree, or maybe something like an elaeagnus quicksilver or an Amelanchier? Something that would also give some privacy for what will eventually be a patio seating area behind it at the back and which is overlooked by neighbour's upstairs' window. Any suggestions?

For the front left bed I was planning to plant an Acer/ Japanese maple I already have but am thinking of keeping it as a potted plant so I can move it about (and possibly keep if we move!) Is an Acer a good choice for this location? Or is there any thing else which would give some much needed screening in that spot and/or should I plant a tall growing shrub by the fence there to aid privacy? I also have a small magnolia and small cherry laurel which could go there instead or at the back instead of crab apple or somewhere along the fence? (Otherwise can save for front garden). 

I've already got some salvias, hebes, astilbe and veronica for bedding to continue a purple / pink colour scheme but am not sure in which part of the beds to plant them exactly. I'm up for other colours too. Also should I aim for height by planting some taller flowering plants around the edge of the circular lawn?

I've got other shrubs to plant, including a rhododendron, pyracantha, escalonia and the magnolia and cherry laurel as already mentioned, but am not sure where to plant these in the back (or perhaps save for the front garden which is waiting to be planned!)

I've got some golden bamboo which I was going to put in containers as a screen for the patio area up to the house right next to the neighbour's house along the patio wall and fence. But how wide and deep should the containers be for bamboo?

So what other plants are worth considering to fill out the garden and help provide more privacy?


  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,047
    edited June 2019
    First of all, you have a lovely garden. I like the circular lawn. Is that a railway line at the back?
    Painting the fence grey is a great idea. If you think it’s going to be too grey, isn’t it currently too brown?! Grey will be a nice modern update and go well with that cream/white wall at the back. Could paint the shed to match the wall, will make it look bigger and brighter up there. It might take ages with a brush, maybe you could get one of the sprayer things.
    Your buddleia is a good choice for the fence there as it will grow quickly. How about a cornus florida rubra or cornus kousa somewhere? I'd also look for something evergreen, maybe a eunomymus, choisya ternata, or cistus. Personally I like adding plants with red/dark foliage.
    For filling out the borders, any heuchera would be a good choice, pretty flowers in spring, a wide range of colours and you can divide them up and create more, maybe to put in the front garden. Alse evergreen so your garden wouldn't look barren in the winter. If you're waiting for shrubs to getting bigger, there are lots of cheap annuals (£1.50) out and about just now so those would provide some interest until everything else filled out.
    For the front garden, maybe put big statement shrub in the middle to screen your window from the street? I'd be wanting something low maintenance. Cotinus coggygria? They are too lovely to have in the front though, I'd want it in the back!
    I don't know too much about the clay soil re: the suggested plants. My last garden had clay soil and the buddleia thrived, as did a gooseberry bush.

    Here are some ideas: tree in this part of the border to act as privacy for back patio area.

    It looks like you've already got a tree here (what is it?) but it'll take a while to grow, so maybe a trellis installed like this with a climber grown up it for privacy when you're sat down behind it?

    For your bamboo, I'd chop this one up into 4 pieces through the root ball. Plant each section in the same sized pot as this one, or maybe a long trough along the wall.

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 1,589
    edited June 2019
    You've a good design there.  If you're worried about a grey fence being too dark, maybe try a medium-dark shade rather than a really dark one.
    I can't really make plant recommendations (I have the opposite kind of soil, light sand) but I'm sure it'll look even better in future years, whatever you choose.
    PS love the cat! Master of all he/she surveys!
    Edit: just noticed there are two cats! Maybe plant a patch of catnip (Nepeta) for them?
  • suzejfsuzejf Posts: 11
    Thanks Orchidia and Jenny for your comments! I will definitely have a good look - I like the look of the cornus, choisya, heuchera and cotinus suggestions. 

    Yes at the back is a train line which is well hidden in the summer. The shed is pretty dilapidated so will be replaced eventually with one on the right hand side of the patio and hopefully can double as a "summer room", leaving the current shed spot free as a seating area / hideaway, so I like the idea of some kind of trellis with climbers to give a bit of seclusion while shrubs  / trees grow. The tree on the right is a cherry blossom type, not sure the exact name, but had a brief flurry of pink-reddish blossoms.

    Yes I am thinking of dividing up bamboo into one or two troughs but need to find not too expensive trough planters that are deep or wide enough first. Any pointers where to look for cheapish ones?

    Any advice on the type of trees I've mentioned or suggestions? I've added a pic of the acer I've got and location, but not sure whether to go for it there or somewhere else or keep it as a potted small tree for time being. 

    I think I could add another buddleia on left side somewhere along fence to add privacy as it's a fast grower and/or go for one or two of the other shrubs Orchidia suggested.

    I've got some salvias and hebes I want to add in between or near the lavender or around the other beds further away from the house. But not sure where to place and how much space in between they need. 

    Yes, the cats definitely like the new improved garden and especially the wilder bit in the centre of the lawn. And have been meaning to get some cat nip too! Was thinking of creating a wild meadow section either there or somewhere, but not sure how it would fit in or blend in or if would look out of place. I suppose as everything matures it will look more blended in and 'wilder' anyway. Don't want the garden to look too formal.

    Any suggestions for good spots where I could place any of these - rhododendron, pyracantha, escalonia and the small magnolia and cherry laurel? I can always save one or two for the front if they don't fit in the back.

    I've got a few questions about devising a planting scheme for the front but put these up in a separate post.

    Thanks for all your suggestions so far!
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,047
    edited June 2019
    Places like Home Bargains or BM Bargains have cheaper stuff, plus Aldi or Lidl usually have some cheap garden stuff.
    That one is sold out online, maybe your local store would have them in stock. There's also a wooden one for £12.99. If you're handy you could make one out of old pallets if you can find them for free.
    I have an escallonia which isn't thriving in a shady spot, so make sure it's somewhere with full sun and well drained soil (difficult with the clay, perhaps!). I'd put the magnolia in the middle of the lawn. Cherry laurel is good as a hedging plant so I'd use that along the front to screen the street.
  • suzejfsuzejf Posts: 11
    Great advice, thanks Orchidia. No doubt will be back with more questions!!
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,047
    We’ll be looking forward to progress photos! :smile:
  • suzejfsuzejf Posts: 11
    Yes will post some pix as I go along!
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