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Front Garden - Planting plan help needed

Hello people, my first post here :)

I'm really struggling with my front garden, it was a new build 4 years ago and I've had to rehome most of the shrubs out as they were taking over. Now I'm really not sure what to to with it!

It faces NE so gets the early morning sun and shade for the rest of the day. The bedding area is 3.7m x 1.3m.

I would be happy to get a designer to do a planting plan, but they're all quite expensive. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I like so many plants that I struggle to get a vision of how I want it to look.

Has anyone used the Crocus ready made borders or Garden On A Roll?

Finally, the grass... keep it, take it out? It's only 70cm wide!

Thanks for reading and any suggestions.


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,245
    edited April 2021
    It's such a small area you can definitely have a go yourself, with the advice of the forum members. All you really have to do is see what works elsewhere and replicate the same plants (with your own twist). 

    I would ditch the grass, personally, and put in a low (probably single species) groundcover in the same area. I think simple unfussy plantings work best in a front garden. If I was doing a basic planting plan for a housing development I'd do something like 20 Geranium macrorrhizum (9cm) in the front strip with 3 Choisya 'Aztec Pearl' (2-3L) in the middle of the back row, and 3 Rosa 'The Fairy' (2-3L) either side.
  • I would certainly remove the grass--it's not going to be sat on or walked on but it will still need to be mowed--so what's its purpose in life...? :smiley:

    Next, buy some largish bags of compost or other organic matter and dig in well. 

    After this, it's a matter of thinking about the maximum sizes of the plants to go in there. When you start considering what you *don't* want, that is often easier, as you can narrow down the range of options. For example, you don't want big things that will outgrow their welcome, or sprawly collapsing things that will not look good for much of the year. This would suggest a combination of small shrubs and tidy, low-growing perennials

    As you have only, at best, part shade, that further limits what will grow well there--often the problem against walls is too much sun and drought. Personally, I'd be thinking of keeping the Euonymus, and then adding perhaps one or two more small shrubs under the window. I can't identify the very small thing in the middle, but if it is nice, then keep it. Otherwise the kinds of things that would work include evergreens like box (which you can keep clipped within bounds), Hydrangea macrophylla, Sarcococca, Mahonia aquifolium, Nandina domestica or Pittosporum 'Tom Thumb', and deciduous shrubs like Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame', Diervilla splendens 'Diva' or 'El Madrigal', and small roses ('Yvonne Rabier' would fit in well with these, or 'Amber Flower Carpet'). Two or three of these would fill up most of the space, leaving gaps that you could infill with low-growing plants like Carex comans 'Bronze Perfection', Alchemilla mollis or Tellima grandiflora. An alternative would be to go for bolder perennials, but you probably wouldn't manage to fit in the shrubs, then: examples would be Helleborus argutifolius with a spreading, low-growing Geranium like 'Orkney Cherry' or 'Elke', and you could then have small bulbs coming through earlier in the season.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,879
    edited April 2021
    I think someone posted a question about Gardens on a Roll (or something similar) a while back and the consensus was that it was overpriced with the sample plant lists mostly consisting of fairly inexpensive and readily available things.
    I don't have any specific idea in addition to what's already been suggested, but bear in mind that whatever goes along the front where the grass is might get stepped on/kiddies bikes run over it occasionally if that's the pavement in front, and also anything in the middle to front of the area that's taller than your head height when you're sitting in the car might block your view when pulling out of the drive (or your neighbour's view, if it's their drive).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Hi @SamInSuffolk. I have similar facing front garden and although a little bigger, plan to have a bed next to the front wall which is about the same size as your patch. This weekend I will be planting up:
    - Polystichum setiferum ‘Herrenhausen’
    - Luzula Nivea
    - Cyclamen Coum
    - Liriope muscari
    - Geranium 'Rozanne'

    In containers I also have a couple of ferns, plus Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Purple Stem’, and a couple of Vinca minors.

    I basically chose the above to have a mix of evergreens and colour in different seasons. I will also throw in a few shade loving annuals/biennials/perennials like foxgloves and snowdrops for even more colour. Hope this helps :)
    "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"
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