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Removal of vegetable patch and repurpose the area

Hello everyone, I am a novice gardener hoping to receive some advice on a problem area of my garden. Next to a privet hedge I have a vegetable patch approximately 5m x 2m, two pictures attached.  The patch is in shade for the majority of the day, and the frame of the patch is now decaying very badly.  I would like to remove the patch, but I don't know what to do with the area. I think I would prefer to have plants, rather than lawn in it its place, but I would welcome any advice, anyone has to offer.  I have a lot of uneven areas of lawn, could I use the soil from the patch to help level the uneven areas? 


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,179
    Hello and welcome to the forum  :)
    There's a few things to take into account,  but the first thing l would do is remove the frame and then pile the soil into an area of your garden out of the way. You can then remove any weeds etc. I can't see any problem in using the soil to level any bumps in the lawn.

    The next thing to consider is the flower bed. Do you want to keep that tree ? If so it might be worth incorporating it into the design so that it fits in more. Other things to take into account include, is the site sunny or shady, and what plants you would like to grow, shrubs, perennials etc. 
    The hedge is going to take a fair bit of moisture as well as casting some shade, so the bed would ideally be pretty wide to allow plants to get some moisture. I could go on but l think that's enough for now. 
  • Thank you for the welcome and the advice Anni. We would like to keep the cherry tree as it does produce a lot of fruit.  The hedge is north facing so it doesn't get much sun. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,179
    My personal inclination (but it depends upon your level of enthusiasm !) would be to have a bed that extends the whole length of the hedge and also includes the shrub (?) at the other end. I would go for curves but make them sweeping and generous otherwise it can make mowing the lawn a bit tricky. 
    You may prefer to keep a straight edge for a more formal look.
    If you did decide to do that, l would suggest marking it out using a hosepipe (for curves), or bamboo canes.
    If you live in a house as opposed to a bungalow, l would suggest looking at the effect from the upstairs windows as it will give you a different perspective. 

    Lift the turf and stack it grass side down in a corner. It will eventually rot down and give you more soil to add. Dig the bed over removing any weeds or stones etc. You might want to add some well rotted compost, but it depends on the condition of the soil. I would also advise maybe buying a soil testing kit to see what type of soil you have (and use it in a couple of locations).
    Autumn is usually considered a good time for planting while the soil is still warm, but preparation is the key and it's not worth rushing and wearing yourself out trying to get it all done. You might prefer to leave it to settle over Winter. 
    Finally (!) here are a few suggestions for possible plants  :)
    Hope this is of some help. 
  • Anni, this is great advice, and it's much appreciated.  I haven't got the energy to go the whole length of the hedge, would an arc shaped bed work in place of the current veg patch? 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    As @AnniD says - it won't be difficult to re make the area, but a lot depends on your likes and dislikes, and how much your budget it as well as the time you have.
    If you do some basic drawings of the whole plot, making it as accurate as you can [ a scale plan is always best ]  then you can play around with ideas. A list of likes and dislikes, as well as the ways you want to use the space, is always useful too.  :)

    North facing shady sites aren't as difficult to plant up as many people believe either, so don't worry about that  :)
    You can also play about on the computer if you have an edit facility.
    Sorry - this was a bit messy!

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,179
    Yes, it would be fine, l don't want to wear you out !
    I think in that case the main thing for me would be to incorporate the tree, l feel that it looks a bit lost on it's own, if you know what l mean.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,000
    I would only add that privet hedges are notorious for stealing all the moisture and nutrients from surrounding soil and also you will need to take into account the necessity of access to the hedge for trimming. 

    In a similar situation in my garden and because I had plenty of space, I made a 1 metre wide bark mulch path along the whole length of the hedge, first putting down a weed suppressant membrane. That gives access to the hedge for trimming and also access to the flower border I then made.

    In your case, if you follow Fairygirl's excellent suggestion of a curved corner bed incorporating the tree, you could make a similar path (or stepping stones) just the length of the new bed. As it's shady most of the day and faces north, you have the opportunity of making a lovely woodland like area with shade-loving plants and perhaps a comfy chair or bench under the tree for when it's hot.

    I would also be inclined, in order to cut down the work and effort, just to take away the sleepers and leave the soil where it is so as to create a slight bank for the flowers. You might need a small edging if you did this to prevent the soil from spilling over the grass.

    Sounds fun - good luck.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Thank you everyone for taking the time to offer such great advice. It's a real help and it has encouraged me to finally make a start. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,000
    Good, take it slowly and don't overdo it (been there and done that!).

    Please post an 'after' pic when you've finished - we love to see those.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Roger that. Thanks again
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