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Your ideas please: What to do with overgrown grass verge

I'm a total novice and brand new to Gardeners' World. I'm looking for ideas - I hope you can help.
In front of our fence we have an overgrown grass verge that leads straight onto the road (no path or curb). It's currently made up of grass that's gone to seed, dandelions and quite a lot of mint! It's east facing with the fence behind and large trees on the right so quite sheltered and shaded.
I need something that's very low maintenance and would love it if it looked sightly quirky. We have a mixed hedge on the house side of the hedge, some lavender in the bed outside the house and will hopefully soon have cloud-pruned potted trees (probably Japanese Holly).
It's too difficult to have lawn on the verge (getting the mower out there with very young kids in the house doesn't work).
Maybe I could have some topiary hedges next to the fence and then some creeping thyme? (the edge of the land gets some footfall from dog walkers but that strip would be worn and the rest would be fine so I think it would be ok).
Maybe I should simply use some lavender or wild flower seeds? 
It would be great to make an impact quickly and then leave it to do it's thing with just a little tlc (not mowing or watering ideally as it's an awkward spot for the mower and hose to reach).
Thank you so much in advance for your ideas - I can't wait to read them : )


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,908
    I think we need to know which way it faces (sunny all day?) and maybe have a photo to help us imagine the spot.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,853
    edited July 2020
    Is it your land? Any possibility that the council will come along and mow it if it gets tall and blocks the view of drivers?
    I think for minimum effort I would put a load of daffodils in there for spring colour and let the grass and wild plants grow the rest of the time, or maybe a suitable wildflower mix. It sounds like a place where woodland-edge plants (cow parsley, foxgloves etc) would do well if they wouldn't be too tall.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,145
    East facing and shaded @pansyface bit I agree a photo would help as well as an idea of the soil type - clay/sandy/loamy/limey/acid/neutral.

    A topiary hedge sounds labour intensive to me and also asking for vandalism.    Lavender would be good if the soil is well drained and on the alkaline side but it won't like shade.   Assuming you intend to dig out all the current growth and clear it, you will have the opportunity to add a mulch of well-rotted garden compost/manure/cheap multi-purpose compost to improve soil structure and then it would depend on budget and what you like.

    Alchemilla mollis is not fussy about soils as well as sun and shade so would make a good ground cover plant.  It will self seed with gay abandon so you just need to remove the flowers as they go over.  Euphorbias come in several forms and would also look after themselves and give a good upright contrast but do beware of the sap which can burn the skin in sunlight.  A mix of thymes would work in teh sunny parts but don't try and use them in the kitchen - dog waste and traffic pollution.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you.
    The council do cut ours down when they do work up the road because it looks very wild but all of the other houses near us have their verges left as they look after their grass and plant daff bulbs / bushes. (Officially the land closest to the fence is ours and next to the road is council.)
    So, I'm thinking that the "wild" look would probably be disappointing as the council would cut it back : ( I'll give some thought to which woodland-edge plants could work and what I can put with them to make it look like a 'looked-after' spot - thanks, JennyJ. If you have any other ideas I'll gladly take them!
    I'll snap a photo for you Pansyface. It's east-facing.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,853
    That's promising, here the council let the verges grow and then whack them down later in the summer regardless of what's growing. That's why I thought of woodland edge plants that do most of their stuff in spring and then go over.
    Even so I would go for tough stuff. Obelixx's suggestion of Alchemilla is good, and some small shrubs might be good for winter structure is you want it and can prune occasionally if they need it. Things like the smaller red berberis and variegated euonymus  would be colorful and tough, if a little bit "municipal".  Possibly also have a look at what's working for your neighbours on the same side of the road.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,908
    Sorry about that, I failed to spot the aspect.

    The easiest and most environmentally friendly thing to do would be to persuade your local authority to leave the verges uncut.

    This organisation is very active in persuading various bodies to adopt a more wild life friendly approach to their properties.

    If you read down you may find that your council already participates and they just need a gentle nudge in your case.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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