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Help needed with where to start!

I decided to start revamping the garden this year and after a visit to a couple of garden centres today I am completely overwhelmed with what to do and i need help!

In front of the wall will be lawn. But what to do in the 2 large planters and at the back of the wall i have no idea, not even where to start.

I know gardens come together over time, but whats the first thing i should be doing?



  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 10,811
    That looks beautifully done Jon, so a good start.
    I would make a list of what you need in your garden and what you want (often two different things) and watch where the sun shines and where you have shade. Do you have children or pets? Where will the washing line and shed go etc.
    How much time do you want to devote to gardening or not, as the case may be and what kind of gardens do you like?
    Planting comes last once you've sorted out the basics. Have a think and then come back to us with more information and we can help you with a suggested plant list.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,253
    Absolutely. Sort out the things you need to have space for, and be realistic about what room you have for them. You can mark out some areas with string and canes, or hosepipe, or similar. Then you'll have an idea of what room you have for things you'd like to add - shed, pond, greenhouse, compost bins etc. As @Lizzie27 says, those two things want and need are often very different, and we often have to compromise a bit .  :)
    The biggest mistake many people make is to draw a plan without it being to scale. They then find that their 'hoped for' large patio dining area won't fit into the  1 sq metre space that's actually there  ;)

    Filling those two planters will be quite easy, but give yourself time to get the necessary things sorted. There's a few tight corners and angles, but there are plenty of planting options for those too, whether sunny or shady, and when you're ready for that, you'll get loads of suggestions.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Wow thank you so much guys! Ive got no pets, 2 kids. The lawn, Washing line, sheds, patio etc are all catered for at the bottom end of the garden. During lock down it made us realise that we are keen to spend a lot of time on the garden - in fact i think it would be great if we could spend many hours a week tending to it. Its the raised part behind that wall i'm struggling with, and the two planters - im looking at plants and i have no idea how big they grow, the soil they need, the seasons they grow and where/how to arrange them etc. Where do i start!!
    I was originally looking at putting two cordyline red star in the large pots, but what i can afford are so small that they will look lost in there for many years? I would like an acer somewhere, this was once my family home and my dad had an acer which he loved and i cut it down when i was younger when i bought the house and he told me off, and i realise now in my later years what a mistake that was.
    The glass on the right hand side i was going to make a cold frame sort of thing and get the kids into growing herbs, chillis etc in there. That would kind of take care of the thin end of the triangle. I think the rest of it would look best in lots of greenery and evergreens maybe? oh i dunno! im lost
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,253
    It can seem a bit daunting when it's a blank space, but don't worry  :)
    Start by making a list of plants you would like - that can be from looking at magazines, TV, or books, or even just taking a look at what's growing in gardens near you. Don't be frightened of asking people in their gardens what plants are, if you see something you like. If you have colours you like or dislike, make a note of those too.
    Think about what sort of style you like - formal, cottagey, year round planting or lots of annuals etc. That has a bearing on your choices too. 
    If there's a part that you'll view regularly from a window - dining/kitchen for example, you might want to have some year round interest visible from that.

    There's also a thread here called Garden Gallery where people post pix of their gardens, so that's a good place to start too. I'll find a link to it  for you.

    You've already mentioned the Acer - so that's a good starting point. A nice spot with some shade, and protected from strong winds and sun is ideal, and somewhere that you can enjoy the autumn colour.  The  fences would be ideal for climbers too.  
    Often, a few shrubs which will give a background to other plants is a good place to start, but make a note of where the sun rises and tracks, so that you get a feel for which parts are sunny, and which are shadier. 
    For example, you could plant up most of that top space, using a selection of shrubs, perennials and bulbs, and just have a winding path through it, then use the planters for seasonal colour. Alternatively, those planters would be nice for a couple of small trees.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,253
    Here's the link to the garden thread - there's a lot so that'll keep you busy!

    Take your time with your decisions though  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Lena_vs_DeerLena_vs_Deer Posts: 203
    There's plenty of great advice here already!
    I'd just add one thing - start with biggest items. Trees or shrubs you definitely want.
    If they're potted instead of burlap wrap, don't plan them right away. Put them in spots you think you want them (taking in account how spaced and where they need to be) and keep them in pots there for a while to get a feel for what it would be like. Sometimes after a hasty and exciting tree planting people notice that they would prefer them a toot or two to the side, but it's already in the ground :) 

    You may also pick few areas of garden that you are not ready to work on this year (for time or budget reasons) and just sprinkle some annual flowers there for time being! It will fill up the space, but won't come back next year so there won't be a complicated cleanup for next year. Calendula grows pretty fast (comparatively :) 10 days to germinate and up to 45 to bloom), so you may get some flower beds  throughout august. Maybe someone can recommend better flowers, but this would be an easy cheap solution just to fill the space and make garden look less barren!
  • gondorgondor Posts: 135
    I would paint those concrete posts too, so that they blend into the background with the rest of the fence.
  • If you get plenty of sun on the integrated planters you could use them for herbs, it would be easy to get at them if you and your children are going to use them in cooking. 
  • Really grateful for all the replies, took the suggestions on board and that set my head straight enough to at least draw a plan. I made a list of justa  few things that ide like in there, because before, i was trying to plant the whole garden and that was what was  making it impossible.
    So the simple plan to get it started is to put fan trellis in front of the fence posts with climatus montana because as has been suggested there is far too much fence to see at the minute. A few buxus, the acer and the cordylines in the pots. For now, just to get things going, that will do!
    Garden gets full sun all day (south facing) and hardly any wind.

  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    edited June 2021
    Great start, might be worth considering a small specimen tree to break up and soften that triangular corner. Boxus balls are nice but maybe a few too many for such a small garden. Another issue is if you get something like boxus blight you end up losing a big part of your garden. Some people use the odd boxus ball amongst other plants which does look nice too.

    How about adding some colour in the form of flowers in the planters to add a bit of seasonal variety to your garden. Trailing plants will also add more interest to the raised planters.
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