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Roses (or new design) bring life to a very dull pavior drive/garden front

Hands up, we were one of those who ripped up their inherited concrete drive and plain grass front and stuck at great expense, Blockleys paviors over the entire surface! Practical (at the time), tasteless now and bad for the environment .... yes I know better now :wink:

However we are largely stuck with it and wish to so something better.

In reality it could be as easy as lifting small pairs of the bricks themselves and I'm thinking put climbers and ramblers in?

Roses seem to like our soil out back and grow and flower like mad. A real success. And out front we have full sun all day from all angles past 6.00am.

This is our horror show err blank canvas.....the rear and inside is an improvement



The plants either side of the bay window are Pyracanthas and do well if in too small a pot (being fixed before next year) We are trying encourage them across the bottom bay and up the sides but think has outgrown the pot and growing materials. There is a large boston Ivy on the garage roof that's also developing well. Out front ..... absolutely nothing as you can see.

I am entirely open minded but I'm thinking to lift small combinations of the bricks along the front & RHS wall and put quality climbers & ramblers to encourage into growing into the brick openings. Maybe adding some decent clematis in parallel? Maybe similar on the LHS.

But open to ideas and suggestions to make it look less like the drop off area at T5 and more like a .... well a house.

Colour will be a factor and fragrance and environment.

Pots are an option but in ground better as it's not unheard of for folks to try steal them out front.

Oh and it is a busy road but none of the gardens on it seem to suffer as a result.

Lifting bricks to a limited extent is ok.

And it would be great cover those awful bins to some extent. Must be a plant/design that could work for us?

I'm even wandering now could we actually grow a hedge into those openings but from the drive level? Odd? Workable?

Interested in plant ideas, roses, clematis, others, ... designs and ideas that could help reinvent this. Many thanks in advance
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  • TackTack Central South UKPosts: 231
    Hi. My first thoughts are to worry about the soil quality/amount and drainage. Does rainwater get into the ground at all? Just taking up a very few bricks will not make digging a  hole easy and roses need a pretty big hole. Watering would be constant. My understanding also is that the paving would be compromised by some bricks being removed. What would you be growing the climbers and ramblers up onto? Large rectangular wooden planters where there are the wall gaps with shrub roses which can be used as hedging would be a lot easier and cheaper I reckon. Watering is still going to be an issue if you cannot set up irrigation.
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 54
    Hi there and thanks for the quick reply. 

    Drainage below bricks is very good .... drains to open lawn on RHS property, also is a full manhole (gravelled over) below other side of front all. Also the run off is very positive onto road ... a road which is conversely a hill with a lot of water run down but but breaking pathline.

    You surprise me a little on the roses and holes. Yes awkward to get in but to date, I don't recall any of our bought requiring such a difficult diameter. The sand/soil below brick is very good. I think the most difficult will be lifting the compressed bricks out.

    You are right, taking too many out would be a mistake but the edge is stretchered on long edge and selectively moving some of these and re-edging I don't imagine to be a problem.

    Wooden planters I'm not hugely keen on cosmetically but for sure would be a very practical solution. I wandered if we could grow hedge material up from deck level into those voids but very tightly bound up to it. not even sure that possible.

    Irrigation wise we do indeed have a full throttle Claber system (with top and bottom feed and three double timers) at the rear of the property which does extend to those to plants left and right of the window and is easily extended outwards from there. So watering should not be any issue. Ironically the problem is the plants either side of the window ... the house over hang keeps them dry so irrigation essential.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 1,447
    Such a shame when you had it paved you didn't specify a planting area against the dividing wall. In my view the only way to sort out the unsatisfactory result is to bring back the professionals to create a bed and edge properly the existing paving. Taking out odd bricks will look ridiculous and the plants will be difficult to care for properly. Also there must be lots of mechanically compacted material underneath, digging by hand will be tortuous. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 3,864
    Please think again... you are doing your frontage an injustice describing it as a horror show.. I think it's gorgeous, I love paved driveways, and it suits your property...but I'm probably a lot older than you and appreciate low maintenance driveways..
    ... I agree with the above, that whilst you can plant roses in surprisingly small holes, less than a foot square and as little as 4-6 inches deep by root pruning at planting time.. or using own root roses, it would look ridiculous and spoil the look of your driveway.. also remember, roses shed petals all over the place, and black spotty leaves... your neighbours would get a fair sprinkling of those all over their front gardens when the wind blows..

    All I would do is try and make those bins disappear into the garage, and that barrow or whatever it is on the right... then simply have about 4 cheap containers, 2 each side, and fill with summer annuals like Petunias to brighten things up...

    I feel you may be in danger of making a total mess of what could be an attractive frontage with minimal effort.. 
  • TackTack Central South UKPosts: 231
    edited 13 September
    Sounds like you have considered the pitfalls so I would always advocate  going for it though in your position what I would do is get professionals in or to reduce the paved area, re edge to stabilise the paving and you get the opportunity to prepare beds.

    When it comes to the rose hole I always dig a huge hole to put compost etc in so the rose gets an improved soil, perhaps as you say it is awkward rather than impossible to do that through a small aperture.

    You can grow hedges from below the level of a short wall  but you would need to remove quite a lot of paving bricks for all the plants imo. I got these images from internet but I have seen such things. All advice I've seen on this forum advocates planting away from the wall because of the rain shadow problem, maybe irrigation overrides this. I admit I have planted a large climbing rose into a hole chipped through a concrete slab and keeping fingers crossed the soil beyond my excavation is adequate. But I do water a lot and the rose has a 10ft structure to climb into. But all I have to lose is the plant.Good luck

    Edit; Do you know how wide the wall footings are? You would obviously have to consider not being physically able to dig near the wall.

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 6,844
    I would say if you're going to go for planting or planters, then do it big style.  Little pots or planters will look lost and more like an afterthought. 
    I agree about getting professionals in to do any work to sort out edges etc. Obviously it depends how much room you require for vehicles but l would cover at least the area of the trailer
  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 1,282
    I am with you, I couldn't live with a front garden like that. I would, as a minimum, want a big deep border on the left, with mixed shrubs and perennials (and roses too). And maybe a tree, there's never enough trees.
    You could remove the pavers and re-edge yourself but you would need to: order a skip (to throw away the unwanted pavers and hardcore), buy some edging, sand, cement, topsoil and compost/manure for the bed... a lot of things and a lot of work. If you enjoy similar types of projects, go for it, but if you don't, it would be much easier to have it done by professionals and only focus on designing the planting.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 2,517
    If you don't need all the space for parking, I would remove a wide strip of paving on the side where the bay window is, along the side wall, and have new edging done to stabilise the paving.
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 54
    Such a shame when you had it paved you didn't specify a planting area against the dividing wall. In my view the only way to sort out the unsatisfactory result is to bring back the professionals to create a bed and edge properly the existing paving. Taking out odd bricks will look ridiculous and the plants will be difficult to care for properly. Also there must be lots of mechanically compacted material underneath, digging by hand will be tortuous. 
    It is but was another life with kids, careers, cars and busy lives. Still insane busy lives but 5 kids is now no kids ... all Uni processed, in careers and the drive is now empty and I'd like it stay that way !  :)

    The focus will still only be on the outer parameters but maybe with some ability to accomodate a tree.

    You have a point, a re-engineered border line could be a solid way forward. The materials underneath are 100% predictable. It was grass on good soil and the base we saw installed ... a simple layering of aggregates and sand but yes compacted. We have lifted this for retro fit of gas pipes and is not so challenging in effort terms.

    Thanks for the thinking
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 54
    Marlorena said:
    Please think again... you are doing your frontage an injustice describing it as a horror show.. I think it's gorgeous, I love paved driveways, and it suits your property...but I'm probably a lot older than you and appreciate low maintenance driveways..
    ... I agree with the above, that whilst you can plant roses in surprisingly small holes, less than a foot square and as little as 4-6 inches deep by root pruning at planting time.. or using own root roses, it would look ridiculous and spoil the look of your driveway.. also remember, roses shed petals all over the place, and black spotty leaves... your neighbours would get a fair sprinkling of those all over their front gardens when the wind blows..

    All I would do is try and make those bins disappear into the garage, and that barrow or whatever it is on the right... then simply have about 4 cheap containers, 2 each side, and fill with summer annuals like Petunias to brighten things up...

    I feel you may be in danger of making a total mess of what could be an attractive frontage with minimal effort.. 
    Ok is an interesting approach. Yes roses at the ear do insanely well ... climbers and ramblers that is and from tiny deck and gravel opening have grown huge up and across and with amazing flower density.

    Interesting on the maintenance side. Had not considered that. We have all the normal leaf blowers, vacuums, etc and water and power plumbed to the front so managable in the purest sense but if can avoid then of course better again.

    Yes the trailer is just a timing victim of the Google camera car .... as are the pillows out of the window (although that is a daily thing as well). Trailer is gone :-)

    The bins are awful but have defied thinking to get rid of them in a meaningful way. Oh and the garage is a gym and sauna in reality so not easy put the bins there and indeed no easy access to rear of property. So we are restricted to a solution masking them out from but they could swap to middle if a cosmetic solution can be found/designed. So far all we have come up with is wraps, dividers or shed type structures .... I suspect some clever merge of all three might be the way forward but struggling come up with a design that does not loos too twee or rural. 

    Thanks for the ideas, these replies and posts are definitely shaping the thinking


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