New build & new to gardening - I've had a go, but any help and advice welcome!
Hi everyone! I’ve spent a long time trawling the forums for ideas (as well as gardening books and Pinterest) and thought it’d be good to get some ideas from more experienced humans! I’ve really tried to give lots of information and my own ideas, but I really have no experience in gardening, so any help is much appreciated, and I’ll update you when we get some bits done this year (hopefully!)
I’ve got a new build garden in Leicestershire, but we’ve been in for 5 years now, so I feel it’s time to start adding some plants – I’ve never done any gardening before and finding it quite daunting, it’s taken 5 years to put in some trees and a patio, and I just got myself a little trug to play with in lockdown. The garden’s north-west facing, but does get very sunny in the summer as we have the neighbours’ gardens either side and nothing blocks the sun other than the left hand side fence. Where the trug is at the moment gets sun most of the day.
The pictures are from a mix of different years, but just to show the light the garden gets.
July – 6pm
September – 4pm
We’ve done the “hard landscaping” ourselves, put a patio at the back and also put some pleached liquidambar in to distract from a neighbour’s drive, garage, trampoline, and large motorhome that gets parked there for quite a while. We extended the patio outside the patio doors and have put in a pergola that has an optional canopy, and we’ve got a long narrow shed down the side of the house, so don’t need any more storage. We added the patio at the back as this gets a bit of shade, and felt like it would mean we weren’t looking out onto other houses.
View from the patio at the back
The garden isn’t square (this is my to-scale model, the white tree isn’t there, nor is the hydrangea) and I think this is confusing me about what to do with borders.
Current pictures (this morning – January 9am):
We dug down quite a bit before the trees came to check the soil, there were lots of worms (which I hear is a good sign) and didn’t come across anything that looked like clay or sandy, so it looks like it might be normal.
My ideas so far:
I’m going to paint the patio outside the patio doors with masonry paint– they are cheap builders’ slabs, and we thought we’d matched them but didn’t quite and I don’t have the budget for another patio alongside all the planting. There is a big table on this patio which covers most of it.
I’d like to have a few veg throughout the garden if possible, mixed with some flowers and evergreens. I really like lots of white and green, but I have a huge phobia of bees and wasps (I scream and run and everyone laughs at me), so as strange as it sounds, I don’t want anything right next to the patios that is going to attract lots, where I can’t relax and end up going back inside. I’d also like it to be as easy maintenance as possible and still have some interest in autumn and winter.
I’d like a bird bath to go somewhere – we get quite a few birds going for the worms, and would like to encourage them without feeding.
I was thinking some white hydrangea (like Annabelle) down the left, maybe some hostas? Would it be sunny enough for them there? What could go with this as evergreen? Would the hydrangeas also work on the right in a sunnier spot for some continuity?
I’ve seen something called Shrubby Veronica that looks like it might make a nice neat edge? Maybe some Hellebores?
This was my attempt at a border plan:
I love peonies, but not sure if they are too difficult?!
So my key questions:
- How would you shape the borders? Everything looks very angular and odd to me at the moment and I’m not sure how to combine the two seating areas or maybe shield one a bit more?
- How would you make it so that it doesn’t look like the garden is split into two with the plants? As the left gets more shade than the right.
- Would you put a small tree in front of the patio to try to break up the garden?
- Would you plant anything around the patios?
- How could I get some height up the fences? I’m thinking some runnerbeans on the right hand side?
- Do you think it’d be better to add in some soft pinks/purples to break up the white?!
And any other ideas, help or advice you can offer.
Thank you for any help or guidance you can give – and sorry this is such a long one!