New Build - Ideas Welcome

Recently got our keys to our new house. As you can see, it's a new build with a new build size garden. :/

We've had a new build before, so I anticipate some of the problems e.g. compacted clay soil (confirmed) and rubble. I hope to improve the soil quality, especially in planting beds. 

I've a few years gardening experience, wouldn't say I'm good but I dedicate time to pruning, weeding and a nice lawn. I lack imagination and know how though - hoping I can find some here. 

West facing garden. Clay soil. Gentle slope in two directions (towards the house and left to right) 

I plan to remove all the slabs and extend the patio both ways with something nicer. Which will involve leveling atleast part of the garden. I love trees and will certainly be planting at least a silver birch (hopefully to attract birds). Lawn is lowest priority, though a small ornamental patch will likely stay. Priority is wildlife (I'll be cutting holes at the base of fencing panels) but it'll still need to look fairly organised to please the wife. 

A small out door office is unfortunately a necessity, but I'm planning to get a wildflower/meadow roof installed so I don't feel guilty for wasting precious planting space. 
 
It would be nice to have a pond but I'm mindful that I havent got a lot of space to fit everything I want in. 

I already salvaged some of my favourite plants from my previous house, potted up at my nans - japenese maples, assortment of shurbs and more lavender than is sensible. 

Open to all ideas.






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  • lovegardening77lovegardening77 Berkshire Posts: 325
    How exciting Greenbird! I think you should dig a wildlife pond, it doesn't have to be huge. 
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,056
    Congratulations on your house purchase - nice to have a project!

    Good idea to extend the patio and maybe do some proper levelling and terracing. It might be worth working out if a second seating area is a good idea to catch the morning sun at coffee time.

    Even a tiny pond is better for wildlife than no pond....

    Personally, I wouldn't plant a silver birch in a small garden. They become big trees which can be very messy. At various times of the year our bathroom and bedroom floors are covered in seeds, leaves, twigs, and other debris from a silver birch in our neighbour's garden.

    I would recommend looking at crab apples and amelanchiers as trees for smaller gardens. Crab apples in particular have beautiful blossom in the spring and gorgeous fruit which the birds tuck into all winter. 
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 3,738
    You could also look at Prunus 'Amangowa' - a small, upright flowering cherry or dwarf apple and pear trees.
  • Fair advice @Topbird

    I do like crab apple. 

    Lizzie27 said:
    You could also look at Prunus 'Amangowa' - a small, upright flowering cherry or dwarf apple and pear trees.
    I had something very similar (possibly the same) at my last house.

    But from experience I find you need something large to almost act as a beacon for passing/migrant birds. Perhaps it's because I grew up with multiple 100+ft tall Poplars in my urban garden and the interesting birds that used to come through was worth the sacrifice of sunlight.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,004
    Birds will come anyway, regardless of what trees you have @Greenbird :)
    It's more important to have all the things that are suitable for them - berrying shrubs, good cover, water source etc. A mix of evergreen and deciduous. If you get a good feeding regime going now, they'll visit too. 
    I'd echo the problems with the birches- they're quite ungainly trees too, so they don't always look right in suburban gardens, unless you have a very big one. Amelanchiers are certainly excellent.
    Rowans are also excellent - good for birds, and also make beautiful specimen trees. Plenty of choices available nowadays, although I still like the native one [Sorbus aucuparia] best.
    You can also divide the garden up with screening, rather than terrace it. That can be a physical one with climbers etc, or by using shrubs and perennials. 
    I wouldn't worry too much about the slope. It isn't particularly steep. It depends how you intend using the garden though. It's always worth doing a few rough sketches with the areas you need - washing, storage, dining etc. and doing that to scale. That's the biggest mistake most people make - 'I can put a table and 6 chairs there' and then they realise the area they have for that is actually four square feet  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 504
    I agree with @Fairygirl on making a to scale plan. We used PowerPoint to do ours, SketchUp would also work well. Find a virtual overview that you can add and take things off a useful way to plan. Plus easy to share with anyone that may advise from a distance.

    Once more it makes one wonder why developers just put a sorry lawn and call that a garden...if only they planted a couple of shrubs per house it would help hugely the local biodiversity.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • I agree with @Fairygirl on making a to scale plan. We used PowerPoint to do ours, SketchUp would also work well. Find a virtual overview that you can add and take things off a useful way to plan. Plus easy to share with anyone that may advise from a distance.

    Once more it makes one wonder why developers just put a sorry lawn and call that a garden...if only they planted a couple of shrubs per house it would help hugely the local biodiversity.
    Yes I was provided with the blueprint of my boundaries etc. so I've scanned that to do some sketches. But I don't have any imagination/or maybe too much and it'll clutter the space provided. 

    I agree regarding shrubs. They've planted my front garden, though I think I'll end up replacing alot of the plants.

    My main issue with the slight slope is any overspill from a pond would run towards the house - especially with the clay soil. Though I've never had a pond before, so the issue probably seems worse in my mind. 
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 504
    You're on your way @Greenbird just keep playing around and use the coming months to hone any design ideas that come up. Can always start with smaller borders and enlarge them as you go on. Also great to go visit any gardens that may provide inspiration. Useful to have an idea about the appearance of the whole garden be it hard landscaping or evergreen structure. And then you can embellish it with accent plants.

    Probably not a bad idea to go and get some bulbs to add some Spring cheer...they'll be quite cheap right now.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 56,674
    If you make a bog garden cent to the pond to take any overflow you’ll be able to grow a wider range of plants and provide a wider range of habitats for wildlife ... frogs/toads/newts etc need cover when they leave the pond so they can avoid predation and a little big garden is ideal. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 939
    edited 18 November
    What kind of plants did they put in your front garden?
    Oh and re: bulbs, I saw some reduced alliums in morrisons for £1 (down from £2), might be worth a look.
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