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Help with new design

Hi guys 

So I’ve decided on my garden design but I’d love some feedback on any potential improvements. 

Sorry for the child like drawing. Not to scale 

Things to know

  • Mid Terrace house 
  • My neighbour on the right had a summer house built that is an another 2 meters above our 6ft fence 
  • Behind the bottom fence are tall trees but they don’t cause sun blocking by 9am in summer based on aspect. 
  • Soil is thick clay. Hence why I am putting in another patio at the bottom right. As I write this, part of that bed has large puddles which is drowning the garlic I put there!! 

So my plans 

  • moving the path from the south facing aspect to the north facing side 
  • Building in a north facing garden bed and I am thinking 2m? 
  • South facing side will be no dig raised garden beds. Beds will be 1 m x 1 m square. There will be grass surrounding these beds. 
  • Plastic greenhouse is positioned so it’s facing south east the same as the potting bench on the patio next to the house.  On the other side that is in deep shade is my compost bin and  garden storage unit
  • The patio is at the bottom will be on two different levels and at the very back before the fence, I’ve got two garden beds for planting. 
  • Thinking of a rose bed that runs lengthways across the garden separating the patios from the GYO area and having an arch for a climbing rose over the path. 

I’ve gone for two patios at the bottom because one already exists on the left hand side which is an absolute sun trap. 

Had to do the second one on the right hand side because of how much clay soil is there. Here a photo of the area and how I planted last year on the bit that was workable

growing in pots is one of my true pleasures so most of these patio areas will be covered in pots anyway. 

Anything you’d change around? Anything you think is a design flaw? 




  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,427
    Bumping this up in the hope you get some feedback  :)
    You've got some good ideas there, l would definitely make more use of the sunnier aspect by moving the path. Hope you don't mind, I've included your photos in my post to help people visualise things. Good luck with it! 

  • Looking at the photo of your existing patio and makes me wonder if you have the room needed for all your raised beds? Remember you need space to easily move a mower between if having grass paths. You will also need space to easily work the beds soallow sufficient space for crouching/kneeling down etc (if low beds). If you put the ‘rear’ beds up against the fence this will reduce the paths which need mowing and might be better use of the space? Ditto the outer beds could butt up against the path.

    Also for a rose bed/hedge you probably need to allow a width of at least 4ft if going for small varieties or hybrid teas. If you know which roses you want might be worth checking their sizes (voice of experience having created a path in my last garden which was always unusable in Summer when it disappeared under my roses and Lavendar 🤣)

    Do take the time to draw it to scale or to mark out on the grass (using flour to mark the lines is an easy trick as the lines can be tweaked as needed and will wash away). It’s worth it as you can then refine your plan and it helps visualise what it will look like in situ.

    Clay soil does improve over time but you have my sympathies. We had a garden with really heavy clay soil and for the first few years it was a nightmare trying to plant anything. I think raised beds, specially the size you are thinking if can look so attractive and give some structure - even during the quieter growing months.
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,081
    A scale drawing is really needed, as already said.
    Without that, it makes it very difficult to get good advice for the spaces you have. Many people think they have room for all sorts of things, and then realise the space they thought would be fine for a table and chairs is only big enough for a chair ;)
    A small garden is always harder to get good results with, and every space has to earn it's keep. If you can't do a scale drawing, take some time to mark out a few necessary areas with string/rope/canes - anything you can physically put on the ground. Then take a few photos and that will help with better advice for the space you have  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...

  • Thanks for all the help so far. More photos to show the full garden. Hopefully this will help with my drawing. 

    Within the rose bed I was thinking it needs to be min 2 meters to accommodate my plans I think. 

    Good rule of thumb 2 meters or large for beds

    From the photos you’ll see I’ll be able to fit 1m x 1m beds and they won’t be static like built in sleepers 

  • SophieKSophieK Posts: 242
    Overall, I would add some curves to soften the design.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,833
    My first thought is, I would find it a right pain to be mowing and edging the grass around the raised beds, but maybe it's a job you enjoy? If not, maybe have fewer larger beds, or use maybe gravel or bark for the paths between them.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,322
    I am sorry but your drawing is incredibly confusing. I would really recommend drawing it to scale, it looks smaller in your photos than in the drawing and with small gardens, every centimeter counts.
    Also, the directions don't make sense. If the south is on the left side, your bed next to the path on the right side is south-facing, not north-facing.
    The last thing, consider moving and maintenance around your raised beds. Most probably, the grass between them will get too damaged by you walking on it and the grass right next to the raised beds will grow and will need to be cut with shears or some edging tool, which is an awful lot of work.
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Sorry @RoseyNose can't help with the design but why is it I read runnynose instead of rosey? 😁 
  • Thanks for the feedback guys. Trying to soften with curves sounds like a great idea. 

    Will be getting the work done soon as I’ll post a finished product photo when done. 

    Re: grass. I don’t mind as I find it relaxing personally but long term gravel/ bark or something might be better. Have a soft kneeling pad for work anyhow. 
  • edited January 2021
    I have been asked to design my friend's garden recently and found this post really interesting. I love gardening and only have experience with my own garden but a few things have stood out for me when reading this post and thinking about my friend's garden (she has just moved into a new build so it's a blank canvas):
    1) Make sure you have measured accurately and marking out your design is an excellent idea as it is difficult to imagine the size of things
    2) Include some vertical interest such as a tree or two
    3) Unless you plan on getting completely new fence (which is costly) then think about growing some climbers on trellis attached to fence panels
    4) If you don't have enough room for the rose bed then consider climbing roses especially along where the path will go as the scent will be lovely to walk through
    5) I find that its best to either stick to geometric shapes or curves when designing the garden as if you have too many spaces of too many shapes/sizes then it can be confusing on the eye. If you like straight lines then that's fine as the planting will soften them.
    Would be lovely to see your finished garden!
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