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Hello everyone

So I’ve been gardening for about 4 years (though I still feel like a beginner!) I was wondering what people think of the back garden, this was taken earlier this year. Is there any way to improve? It’s on chalky soil though has been improved somewhat.

Many thanks


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,466
    Do you mean in terms of changing the layout? 
  • Sorry, I should have a bit more specific. So the part I don’t like is the main border between the grass and the shed. It just doesn’t seem colourful and full? It’s great when the 3 astilbes are flowering but sadly astilbes don’t seem to last long. Not sure if I’m being too hard on myself here 😂 
  • I would paint the timber a darker shade, Urban Slate or black, it's all a bit orange and that's what strikes the eye IMO. A darker shade will make the planting stand out. 

  • Hi Sam. The shed isn’t really an option as such just thinking of planting ideas. I’ve only been gardening for 4 odd years and only just finding out that most of the plants should be somewhere else 😂 it’s too easy to just say “oh I like that plant I’ll take it!” But ideally that’s not often the best decision. This is a different view of the border. 
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,831
    You have some nice plants, and lots of colour, so a nice border.  For my personal tastes, I would want to add some height, some grasses to give movement, and think about how to extend the flowering season for longer colour.

    Some of the taller grasses (Calamagrostis Karl Foerster, or one of the Miscanthus such as M. Malepartus) would give you some height and movement, and even look good in Winter.  Some of the taller perennials, such as Rudbeckia Herbstonne, Crocosmia Lucifer, etc would give you later season colour too.

    At the moment, the short height of your plants is leaving a lot of your shed exposed.  Using these taller plants at the back of the border would soften the shed.  Don't be afraid to use large clumps of smaller varieties of plant.  This is more effective than putting in lots of individual plants.  Echinacea and Heleniums, for example, look great in large swathes.  Geraniums are another way of filling a border with long lasting colour.

    Finally, that archway is crying out for some climbers, perhaps a Clematis or two, or some variegated ivy.  You have a nice backdrop of trees, which frame your garden, don't be too hard on yourself.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,466
    I agree, we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to criticism !  
    I also agree with the idea of adding some height, the grasses would do that without being too solid. Great suggestions from @KeenOnGreen
  • All this "paint it black" trend is so boring. If that was my shed it'd be a stone or jasmine white colour. But anyway...since that's not the matter at hand. I'd agree that you need more height, some darker leaved shrubs would be great to frame and ground the bed. A loropetalum or a pittosporum would look great there and then built up a couple of drifts of plants to add homogeneity as @KeenOnGreen said some echinaceas would look brilliant or maybe three dahlias of the same variety to settle the eye. I suppose you have to agree what colour palette you're going to pursuit and go for it. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Wow guys thank you all so much for the information and help! Unfortunately when it comes to gardening I’m VERY hard on myself which seems to in turn frustrate me with the gardening. As for heigh I have actually got a penstemon stapleford gem growing and will try some foxgloves, it does get very hot in his border.

    as for the archway you’re correct that climbers would be nice, sadly though the framework is quite old and does rock a bit. 

    Many thanks guys

    PS, how did you all learn about gardening? I’ve only been doing it for 4 years but only really feel like I’ve started to learn in the last 2 years.
  • Nobody ever knows everything there is to know about gardening which makes it a great leveller @margaret005 as you keep growing you learn from successes and failures and get a fee for the growing conditions. But great to share suggestions and ideas with total strangers on here ;)  
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,327
    Trial and error and error😉
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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