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New garden, ideas needed!

I have a new garden and its a completely blank slate except for 4 giant apple trees which I would love to stay if possible and a stoney bank at the end with a lot of trees.

I have young children so would like to have a large area of lawn out the back of the house and then an area of flowers with an allotment at the bottom and somewhere for a table and bbq.

This is an east facing garden, but at around 100m long it's not something I am too worried about. And around 9m wide past the garage. 
The soil is sandy loam and neutral (my partner thought I was mad when I cracked out a testing kit when viewing the place!) 

Does anyone have something of a similar scale they can show me for inspiration? Basically I am winging it and have no idea how to make it not feel really long.


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,454
    My first thought was that oldie but goodie of dividing it up into rooms. I did find an old thread on the subject
    and a quick Google of "dividing a garden" brings up a whole load of ideas.
    I'm sure those who have done it will be able to give you some practical advice.  :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,762
    I'd agree with @AnniD. There's a good reason why splitting up a long garden is often advised - it's because it works well  :)
    The divisions can be simple or complicated, depending on budget and time. Planting, or walls, or fences with climbers etc. It looks like you don't have much privacy either side, so you may want to think about screening that too, whether it's with hedging or fencing [climbers] or shrubs. 
    If you have children and want some grass, that's probably the best place to start. You've made a start anyway, as you know you want a table/seating and somewhere for a BBQ  :)
    Work out the best places for your seating - if you mainly use the garden at night, you'll  probably want a sunny spot, so find the best area for that. If you use it more in daytime, find a sunny spot, but perhaps with the option of shade. You may want both  :)

    Some experimenting with rope/washing line/hose to mark out areas and view them from different angles is worth doing , especially to get sizes of those areas. Some basic measurements taken, and then some sketches is also worth doing. It doesn't have to be a perfect scale drawing, just enough to give you some ideas of what room you have, and where various things will go, like washing lines and storage/work spaces etc .  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Pauline 7Pauline 7 Posts: 2,238
    Depending on the ages of your children you might want to have their play area in view of the house. 
    West Yorkshire
  • I had to laugh when I read your post as I have just been buying a house myself and actually packed a soil testing kit when I went to see it, but in the end I bottled :)

    Your garden looks wonderful. I hope you have lots of pleasure with it. AnniD has a good idea in pointing you towards the garden rooms idea. It solves several problems: you can have a beautiful well-tended area and screen it from another area which is the children's own where they can mess about (kids also often like things like veg growing, so perhaps that bit can do double duty?!)

    Treating it as a small garden with a series of 'compartments' will help you figure out the overall layout and design--there are some excellent books for small garden design out there, for example those by Noel Kingsbury, John Brookes and the RHS. When I was first reading about garden design my local library was incredibly these pandemic times you might find second-hand copies though.

    The thing you want to do is decide where the boundaries between the compartments need to be, for example at the ends of buildings. Then you mark those boundaries with something tall, such as an arch, so that you can still see through to the end of the garden but the interruptions to your line of sight make it seem wider. 

    Another way to do that is also to put focal points (like large pots or specimen shrubs/small trees or garden seats) off to the diagonal corner of your compartment, so you emphasise the width rather than the length.

    One of your most useful first steps might be to decide if you want to put in a hedge along the boundary areas where there are gaps between the trees, and if so, whether you want it to be formal (clipped) or informal (for example some flowering shrubs). You could even use the very end as a fruit garden and plant raspberries and so on. One or two small ornamental trees would work to conceal any less-than-beautiful views in a short time. My 'instinct' says that the garden would benefit from more evergreen planting, too, which will stop it looking bare in winter. All sorts of amazing shrubs would help here, including hollies, winter jasmine, some viburnums and camellias if you have acid soil.

    The main thing you need to work out is what purpose each section of the garden will serve, and then finding the right style for that section is easier. You can then work on each 'room' separately until you feel happy with it, and it's no longer so overwhelming!
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,854
    I consider that children need space for playing. We have a boy and a girl, and we often meet with friends that also have children. Indeed, having your own yard where children can poop and play is a great solution. You can make a gazebo and barbecue at the end of the yard to organize a lounge area and spend time there in the summer. It can be connected to the house or made separately with the same siding finishing. At the exact moment, for me, security is essential, and I think that it is necessary to make a reliable and high-quality fence. You can divide an extended area visually using flower beds and paths.
    I'd love you come round and give me a quote please. 
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