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Garden design ideas welcomed!

REN_AmateurGREN_AmateurG Posts: 32
edited February 2021 in Garden design I have a photo of what my garden looks like and a plan that I have initial made. Garden is north facing; small 25 ft by 45 ft.

We started working on it last June. Few regrets- deck is too large (but because we made it with our own hands we will leave it and ill put pots of plants etc). 

We are making a pond soon. We did grow lots of veg successfully last summer and will continue. The veg planters are made by us too (its all a labour of love). I will also make a small patio with new slabs at the front of the house.  

We now like the cottage feel garden style. I don't know if I want such a large piece of grass anymore. It feels like I've gone for all the main features around the sides, I don't know if I like it anymore... What are your thoughts? Ideas welcomed....plans welcomed.

Just a note- the house doors open up and our view is straight to the deck. Paths  will be made out of bricks (you can see them stacked up on photo). Blue lines are plants....


  • REN_AmateurGREN_AmateurG Posts: 32
    edited February 2021
    This is another mock up plan b- moved path lol looks quite messy...
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,283
    Hmm ... this is one of those ‘if you want to get there don’t start from here’ questions.

    You’re keen for a cottage style with its loose structure, curving paths, blended flower beds but you’re severely constrained by nothing but angles - a square decking area, an oblong shed, raised beds with strong horizontal lines, hexagonal raised beds, square paving.

    I note that strange wobbly bed on the right is going - good move! And that weird bird bath construction too?

    First thing to decide is the reason for the path. Does it start from the back door, and where do you want it to go from there? To the decking? To the shed? Would stepping stones serve because that would be far less intrusive than more straight lines. Can I suggest a stepping stone herringbone pattern or something similar which gives a cottage feel? What would be great would be second hand red bricks but that would not seem to be an option.

    Are you enamoured by those hexagonal beds? I might be inclined to sell them on and reserve that corner of the garden for soft fruit.

    My main flower bed would be defined by a gentle curve strarting bottom right by the bag of compost and gently arcing towards the bottom left corner of the decking. I might be inclined to put brick stepping stones set into the lawn and following the line of the bed all the way to the shed entrance.

    The space allocated for a pond looks rather small so make sure it is quite deep to keep the water moderately cool and restrict pond weed. All around the pond from the raised bed to the shed door to mid way along the decking I would have a bed of gravel, planting it with ornamental grasses. I would have a complete bank of grasses to the left of the pond by the fence and behind the pond by the shed.

    If you have permission to do so, I would stain the fence panels deep green and the shed deep blue. Or maybe have the shed green as well and reserve blue for around the windows and for the eaves.

    Along the right hand fence I would have clematises and/or roses and on the left fence blackberries or loganberries. Against the back fence and overhanging the seating area I might consider an airy tree like a silver birch.

    The amount of lawn left would just about be large enough to earn its keep and I would resolve to put  a lot of effort into scarifying, aerating and feeding to get a lush, green sward. That would set everything off so well.

    I am struggling with what you term the patio. It does not seem to have any function as it’s too narrow to act as a seating area. I’d lift the slabs, pressure wash them and re-lay them in more of a block visible from a main downstairs window and have this as a bird feeding station. The bird bath, minus its plinth, could also go there. Very close to the bird feeding area put one or two evergreen or semi evergreen shrubs to give cover. A viburnum, for example, would look quite nice and smell divine.

    One last piece of advice I’d offer is to restrict the number of pots. A few, large and terracotta (not brown plastic) is my mantra.
    Rutland, England
  • Thanks @BenCotto ... lots of good advice. 

    the wiggle part I'm taking it off and just going fill the whole space with plants upto fench...def some climbers. We are moving the rectangle veg planter so pond will have more space. 

    The bird bath- i was thinking of moving it around all the flowers when I plant them. I was experimenting with slabs as I wanted to give it some height (it was an implus buy)..

    The hexagon planters- well what can I say. These were my first planters made...when we were experimenting with wood. When I first started gardening last year I wanted a modern type garden...then I as I started planting more I realised I loved the garden cottage look.
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    this shape of path to your deck area could work with the flower bed on the right. It could be done with stepping stones instead but as Ben says cottage gardens are loose and flowing. You want to slow down your progress through the garden rather than have a straight running track path.
    The left hand flower bed could be lawn and your pond and veg. and the tree you wanted.
    You haven't mentioned children so maybe the pond could be sited where the left hand bed is so it can be seen from the deck but not if you have small children.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,237
    It's a hard rule to live by, but if it doesn't have utility or beauty, you should get rid. I'm thinking particularly of the deck. Maybe you could move it by the house and integrate it with your patio?

    It sounds like you're starting to understand what you *want*. I think you will be much happier if you really go for it and do it properly, than trying to accommodate things that doesn't really have a place in your vision of a cottage garden. If you get the framework right it will also probably save you money because you won't be wasting it on things that don't quite work.

    I think that straight paths can be just as at home in a cottage garden just as much as curvey ones - the informality comes mainly from the planting. I would make sure the planting is generous to hide the boundaries and make you feel surrounded by planting. It may be that you can mix your veg and flowers together as per the image below. That's photo is extremely 'cottage garden-y' - if your house is modern you might have to reconsider whether you need to be a bit less rustic, while keeping the overall feeling and planting style.

    See the source image

  • Lots to think about...Great advice from all... now need to decide what to do next. 
  • Hi, I think you have done a fantastic job so far, good basic structures in place.  We had a very traditional garden structure, a big lawn with a few beds around the side. We then watched a Gardeners World  Which featured an interior designer Who had redesigned Her garden to “loose the lawn “. We did what you did and decided to redesign and put a few features in- very hard work! The reason I am saying this is that the key to our success was getting the path right. We decided on the Bradstone cobbles because they are easy to lay and can be easily curved. Your brick path could do the same thing too. We put a path right through the centre of the garden, which you could easily do and then create off shoots to key features, the seating area, the shed etc. If you did this It would then allow you to create cottage style planting in the beds, similar to the photos by the other contributors ( what I am aiming for!) When you put in the planting  it will soften the hard features you have put in. I think your decking is great it just needs some good planting around it to frame it. Maybe an small ornamental cherry tree. I think what I am saying  is well done and keep going. After a bit of sun and some more planting I may have some actual flowers in my new garden!
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,721
    edited February 2021
    I think that is a great post by @clare_grace, helpful and encouraging. Whatever you do bear in mind that people have different tastes and ideas. It's your garden and whatever you do must please you. Read people's advice, borrow ideas and do what you want.

    Personally, although I love the cottage garden style, I like a bit of lawn to set the garden off and if you have children or a dog you need a lawn to run about on. I like your hexagonal beds, they are in the veg area anyway, one would look good with herbs. Your decking can be softened with plants around it.

    One thing I'm not keen on is a straight path that goes through the middle of a garden. I prefer your plan 1. You could put a curved flower bed in front of the hexagonal beds with cottage garden planting, instead of that bit of lawn. Bear in mind the more beds you have the more weeding there will be. Cutting a lawn is quicker and easier! 

    Is that a pergola in front of the deck? I think that would be lovely and help to hide the squareness of the deck.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Thank you @Busy-Lizzie @clare_grace. Yes your both right, I could make my garden work and take on ideas that make me happy. 

    In terms of the deck as much as I would like to get rid of it....when I remember how much work I put into it I've decided to leave it for a couple more years and soften it with planting. 

    I will focus on the path and work on it from there. 

    The garden is my favourite place in my whole house, I've stopped renovating the house!!! Lol... 

    Yes I wanted some height so thinking of pergola with climbers.....a tree. :) 

    Thanks ladies! 
  • Sounds perfect! Keep us updated! 
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