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8 foot wide garden help needed please!

I would love to get some ideas/advice on the garden in the flat we are about to move into. It is currently a shared garden but we are able to divide it down the middle with a fence. We are also planning on putting a gate into the garden just to create a bit more privacy from the downstairs flat. This will leave us with an 8 foot by 20 foot garden. Note, the shed is being taken away but we are likely to get one to put there. 

I've attached a photo- The blue line is roughly where it would be split. 

How would we maximise on the small space that we do have and make it look more spacious? Any ideas would be really appreciated! Thanks in advance. 


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  • I understand you will be getting a new shed. If you were to get one with an interesting front and maybe paint it all a dark colour then it becomes an attractive feature. Maybe google Abigail Aherns garden. She has featured a shed at the bottom of her garden. Maybe with lots of foliage either side to create height and interest. Really it depends on the style of garden you are trying to create and what you want to use the garden for.

    Maybe research lots of different styles. Also please advise on how much sun the garden gets.
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,501
    Before you put up a fence, it might be worth speaking to your neighbour to see if to continue with a shared space would be at all workable.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • hatty123hatty123 West YorkshirePosts: 125
    Not directly answering your question, but do you have to have your garden space as private or could you get to know your neighbour and share? I say this because years ago I lived in a "granny" flat and the landlady allowed me to use the main garden to her house. I didn't do much gardening then but I appreciated the larger space and the gardening the landlady did. Your new neighbour may be the same, it doesn't look like they do much gardening but might be happy to share the space with you especially if you want to improve it overall.
  • SkylarksSkylarks East MidlandsPosts: 379
    edited April 2021
    Instead of a straight path down the middle leading to the new shed, I’d opt for a winding path so it is hidden between any plants. I think a straight path will make your garden look narrower. 

    Also, if it states it’s a shared garden on the deeds, any new future occupiers of the other flat may insist that you remove the new fence, or at least have access to your part of the garden.
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    At first glance that looks fine, then noticed the blue line!
    Is your flat rented or owned and how do you access the garden, would it be easy to get bags of compost etc in.
    I expect you won't know at the moment how much sun it will get.
    Is there a water source handy as if you are going to plant or use pots they will need watering frequently.
    There have been some lovely ideas for courtyard gardens both on here and on the web. 
    I know Garderners World have shown some  readers gardens in the past some that are tiny and so well filled with large plants you can't see the actual size of the plot. 
    Your Garden made Perfect also did a section for small gardens. No doubt you can find the programmes on catchup.

  • Thanks all so much! It is a West facing garden so we will get the sun in the afternoon and evening. We have 'right to use' the half on the left. Please keep the ideas coming they are all very much appreciated. 
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,120
    Do bear in mind that the fence and the building over the back will cast longer shadows in winter when the sun doesn't get as high in the sky, if you plan to use the garden space in winter.
    In terms of planting, fewer well-chosen big-ish plants will have more impact than a lot of small fiddly stuff. Also, there's not a lot of space so it's probably better to choose things that have a long season of interest.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,600
    Rather than bendy windy, go for a diagonal zig zag path.  It will be easier to lay the stepping stones or solid path and leave you decent planting pockets or places to stand pots.   

    Rather than a solid fence between you and next door, consider some posts erected at 2m intervals with tensioned wires stretched between them at 30cm intervals so you can grow climbers which will give colour, perfume, seasonal interest and a sense of privacy without boxing you in and cutting lots of light. 

    You could also grow climbers or even fruiting canes such as tayberry, raspberry, blackberry (choose thornless varieties) on the fence on the left.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,265
    Would it not be easier to divide the garden up the other way? As in half the length, not the width? That would make your half 16 x 10 ft which is  amuch more sensible and doable space. You might have to lose maybe 2ft of the width to make an access way for the lower half but that would be okay. My son's shared garden (3 flats) in London was divided that way.
    Just a thought. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,600
    I thought that too @Lizzie27 but it may be a done thing.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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