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Ideas for boring overlooked garden please!

Hi - I'm new on here and just looking for advice for our back garden. We had it dug out a couple of years ago to create a patio and seating area, but have no idea what to do with the top level, which is just grass. We are overlooked by several houses so want to try to address that, so have researched ideas and think screening trees might be the best option, unless anyone can suggest any other ideas. If we do that, I'm not sure whether to plant a row of the same evergreen trees (maybe laurel or red robin) along the white wall, or vary it with different trees and maybe bamboo. We need a large garden shed as have no garage or loft, but obviously it needs hiding! I also feel we need to inject some colour into some areas but I do like quite a minimalist style, not cottage garden styles. The garden faces south west and is very sunny. We live in Devon, so have red soil. I also am a very inexperienced gardener, but keen to learn! Thank you so much for any advice you're able to offer.
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  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 379
    Hi - I really like the patio and the steps up.

    I am not an expert, but I know from bitter experience that planting a hedge of trees/shrubs that get big can backfire. They need a lot of care and attention and can quickly get out of hand. Laurels in particular are thugs. I have a stand of bamboo, which I love and which is essential for my privacy, but it does spread, and needs eagle eyes on it all the time. I should have put in root barriers, but I didn't and regret it, so that's something worth considering.

    My observation is that a pergola, maybe halfway along the white wall in front of the shed would give you some privacy and scope to plant some lovely climbers. You could also have some beds cut in to the lawn to give some curves and soften the right angles, maybe with some larger single shrubs or trees.

    Hope my experience is of some use!
  • juliematt4juliematt4 Posts: 12
    Hi - I really like the patio and the steps up.

    I am not an expert, but I know from bitter experience that planting a hedge of trees/shrubs that get big can backfire. They need a lot of care and attention and can quickly get out of hand. Laurels in particular are thugs. I have a stand of bamboo, which I love and which is essential for my privacy, but it does spread, and needs eagle eyes on it all the time. I should have put in root barriers, but I didn't and regret it, so that's something worth considering.

    My observation is that a pergola, maybe halfway along the white wall in front of the shed would give you some privacy and scope to plant some lovely climbers. You could also have some beds cut in to the lawn to give some curves and soften the right angles, maybe with some larger single shrubs or trees.

    Hope my experience is of some use!
    Thank you so much for your advice, all of which is really useful. It's really good to hear from people about their experience of particular shrubs and trees. I haven't heard of root barriers so that's something I can look into as I do like bamboo. I like the idea of cutting some beds into the lawn too. Thanks again
  • seacrowsseacrows Posts: 123
    My first impression is you really don't have a lot of shade, so desert/prairie plants that like hot sun would work. It's not my taste, but I could see a couple of grass beds looking good. There are lots of different grasses for colours and foliage and flower types (including bamboo).
    To me, that end of path patio bit is crying out for a focal point thing. I'd probably do something with rock and water, but a framed mirror, or a statue, or even a surprising bit of colour.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,525
    If you get the right sort of bamboo it doesn’t go anywhere, I had mine in for 8 years and it just stayed in its clump, got bigger but not spread. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 379
    Yes, mine is a clump-forming variety of bamboo, but regularly makes bids for freedom into my neighbour's garden. Better safe than sorry?
  • B3B3 Posts: 17,519
    You're right. It's boring but what gardener wouldn't love a blank canvas to play with. Enjoy!
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Big Blue SkyBig Blue Sky Posts: 624
    Lyn said:
    If you get the right sort of bamboo it doesn’t go anywhere, I had mine in for 8 years and it just stayed in its clump, got bigger but not spread. 
    Do you know the variety by any chance, Lyn? I am looking for a tall preferably fast growing bamboo that doesn’t spread - for privacy and because I like bamboo. 
    Surrey
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 266
    I also feel we need to inject some colour into some areas but I do like quite a minimalist style, not cottage garden styles. The garden faces south west and is very sunny.
    Welcome to the forum @juliematt4, as mentioned by others that’s a great blank canvas you have.

    For inspiration have a look at the ready-made borders on Crocus, or the Beth Chatto collection. For example, on Crocus in ‘Get the look’, there is ‘Piet Oudolf Wisley’, ‘Elegant and architectural’ and ‘Summer savanna’. You can buy the plants elsewhere and of course swap ones for others you like — as I said, just for inspiration.

    https://www.crocus.co.uk/ready-made-borders/

    https://www.bethchatto.co.uk/collections/the-drought-resistant-plant-collection.htm
  • BOTBBOTB Posts: 36
    Lyn said:
    If you get the right sort of bamboo it doesn’t go anywhere, I had mine in for 8 years and it just stayed in its clump, got bigger but not spread. 
    Do you know the variety by any chance, Lyn? I am looking for a tall preferably fast growing bamboo that doesn’t spread - for privacy and because I like bamboo. 
    I have beautiful black bamboo, it’s stunning. It grows very straight and isn’t bushy unlike my green bamboo which is a lovely screen bamboo. I have mine in a planter and several pots. I will find some pictures for you..
  • BOTBBOTB Posts: 36
    edited 11 June

    I saw this idea on the internet which might look nice against your wall? 
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