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Garden Help!

Hi All, 

I have spent the last two years working on my garden and it still looks terrible! The grass is always so patchy. If anyone has any advice please pass on before I give up! 


  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,998
    My first question would be, do you really want or need a lawn ? Sometimes they're just more hassle than they're worth  :)
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    Advice? Where to start.
    You do have a lot of potential there but its very disjointed.
    A lot also depends on your budget. 
    I would sit down with pen and paper and list what you have already and what you would like and what might be necessary, place for washing line, bins, seating area, children's play equipment. 
    Do you want a pond or water feature later on? 
    Don't worry about the grass yet.
    I think I would tackle the fencing first paint it all one colour, dark grey or black akways looks good.
    Mark out planting areas in sunny spots if possible but plenty of shade loving plants about, 

    Mark out seating area, more than one is nice, one in more shade,  Mark where your washing will hang.

    Then decide how you will access these areas paths or stepping stones through grass.
    After that you can address your grass.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 814
    Hi. It looks like your garden is quite shady (looking at the shadow cast on the ground. I can see the route you take across the grass to get to the paved area. The grass is growing much better under the white table and chairs so I think it's a case of frequent foot traffic doing much of the damage. Do you also have pets and/or children?

    The ground could be compacted, inhibiting the grass' roots. You could try to aerate and feed the lawn, then prep the bare patches and over sow with grass seed. 

    Perhaps create a path so you don't wear out the grass when going up and down the garden.

    If you're not wedded to having grass you could replace it with gravel and allow the planting to be the focus.

    This is the garden of nurserywoman Anne Godfrey (Daisy Roots).

     The gravel allows clean access to the garden all year whilst the paving creates a seating area surrounded by plants. Why not do something similar, laying a gravel path from your house to the far patio, move your table and chairs up there, and use the rest of the ground for planting. I realise her garden is probably too labour intensive for most people but opting for carefully chosen shrubs partnered with key perennials will give your plot plenty of interest.
  • I'd agree with the general theme: the way you use the garden and the light levels may not be suitable for a lawn. It could be better to reduce its size or do away with it entirely. The bit you keep, you need to treat kindly--not too much foot traffic, fertilising, aerating, regular mowing, removal of weeds, and raking to get rid of thatch.

    You could do a lot, then, with the remaining space. Some of it will need to be given a surface you can walk on, but if your budget is tight, you could go with chipped bark and edge with logs, for example. Any area you don't need for access or sitting out, you can use for planting. Depending on how much time you can put into it, you could opt for shrubs and groundcover, or perennials, or even grow your own from seed and cuttings. Either way, though, the key thing is that you'll need to work on your soil before you even think about planting. It looks as if your soil has not been fed and has no organic matter added to it. Once you edge the planting area properly (again, this could be bricks or rocks or just plants--it doesn't have to cost the earth), then dig over the soil within it, remove weeds and add plenty of organic matter. It's often possible to find a local stables or even your council may deliver compost.

    Once you've done these preparatory stages, which are slow and hard work, you will start to find your efforts will actually make a real difference and your garden will begin to transform. 
  • Thank you all for your ideas so far. It’s east facing garden so it does get sun but we have a very large tree that block it out so of the afternoon. I will be painting the fence once they have all been replaced absolutely! I have planted various bulbs and plants along the border where my cold frame is but obviously it’s too early for them to come out yet. I don’t get a lot of foot traffic in the garden and it’s just myself but I wanted somewhere nice to sit and the grass makes it look awful! I have raked and sowed and fed and mowed a million times but the soil seems very wet to me so wonder if that is why? 
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,998
    It could be a drainage problem, maybe due to compaction as mentioned above. I think your best bet would be to decide just where you want the lawn area to be and concentrate on that. 
    If you're going to have fence panels replaced though and various people walking all over it, l would wait until the work has been carried out before carrying out any lawn improvement. 
    I think your best bet would be to start with a plan and work out exactly what you want and where. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, but it helps to get your ideas and thoughts in order.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 4,043
    An easy start would be a good tidy-up. Collect the various empty plant pots and saucers and put them out of the way. Clear the pile of rubbish and burn it in your incinerator or make a proper compost bin. Sweep the paved area. Tidy the debris on the table. Cut back the shaggy shrubs, especially the invading ivy. There are four separate types of seats in he garden - that looks very disunited. At the very least move the stack of white plastic chairs out of the eye line. Similarly, that green plastic thing - I can’t make out what it is - draws the eye and doesn’t look good. Try for crisper edges between the lawn and the planting areas. Finally, though this is a very personal thing, consider your choice of fence colour.

    When those things are done you could focus on the lawn.

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