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New border help needed

Hi, apologies for the longish post but I’m really in need of some advice.

I’m a newbie to gardening and about to have some garden borders added to what is currently just a grassed garden. I’ve attached a pic below for reference, grass area measures approx 6 metres by 9 metres so not very big.

I have a builder coming in to set the borders in brick hence why I need to make a decision soonish.

My plan was to have a curved border design added the whole way round where the grass meets the walls as everything is very square and straight at the moment in the garden to maybe it will soften it a bit. The right side was to be around 3 ft and the back border 4 ft. I should also mention that I’m looking to plant more evergreen flowering shrubs which also have to be cat safe.

Everyone I have spoken with thinks the border dimensions are far too big for the space and also that I should have just straight lines and no curves. I’m looking to plant things such as viburnum tinus eve price, magnolia fairy blush, a pittosporum silver queen, some buddleia and dwarf lilacs and possibly a camellia for the shaded corner. I should also mention the garden is south facing, so the right side receives sun until lunch time and the back side receives sun all afternoon. 

Am I being a bit over ambitious for the space? Would anyone have any advice on the small space please? I am interested in lowish maintenance, evergreen shrubs.

Any help/advice would be much appreciated.

Many thanks


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,112
    Hi @rebeccajwright90. If you want curves - you have curves   :)
    What I'd suggest is that you try an oval. That will give you plenty of planting space, but leave you with a nice lawn as well.
    If you do it on an angle, it will also give a different perspective. If you simply cut a curve, you could be left with an odd shape of lawn, which could be distracting.
    The shrubs you mention are all fine, in theory, but it's worth doing plenty of research on the likes/dislikes of each. If your soil isn't suitable, for example, some  won't thrive. Many of them will also get very large, so you may need to compromise a little bit. 
    However, that's for later  :)
    It's possible to do a bit of playing around on screen to get ideas, or you can draw a plan [scale is very important] on paper, make copies and play about with shapes and sizes.  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,112
    Here's a very rough idea of what I mean - apologies for the shoogly line! The drain could be a problem, but you can put pots on it  if it isn't possible to factor in the grass successfully. The grass could be positioned the other way, or you could have 2 circular lawns or something similar.
    The actual size of the space will be a factor, and that's hard to determine from the photos, but it might give you an idea for a different approach. 

    Plans are always done from an overhead viewpoint, which makes it easier to play with ideas, so you might want to try taking some photos that way, if you aren't able to do a scale plan of the area. 

    Hope that's of some use.  :)

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

  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    Nice space, but very grey.  Some colours would be great to brighten up the view.

    I like the oval idea.

    What is the square thing - a hatch for like water pipes?  You will have to avoid it while digging.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    To make the garden look designed "as a whole" I would go with straight lines as your existing hard landscape is so straight. But you don't need to have a uniform border all the way around, you could have a series of rectangular or L shaped beds, and places where there is no border between the paving and lawn. Actually if you let go of the lawn you could have lovely deep planting beds, with interlinked rectangular paved areas in different materials - the style that Lucy Wilcox uses:
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,112
    I would have straight lines too if it was mine @Loxley. It's  far more suited to that IMO, but it isn't my garden .  :)
    Doing the lines on a 45 degree angle would be the best use of the space. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    I think the oval works ok actually, it's a strong shape. What probably wouldn't work would be a meandering "cottage gardeny" kind of border. 
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 11,009
    If you want curves, go for it, it's your garden  :) 
    If you have a hosepipe, or can borrow one, that will give you an idea of the curves (or oval) you can create. Try not to make them too "mean", more sweeping and generous if you can.
    Keep popping upstairs to give yourself another perspective and altering as necessary, until you're happy with the result.
    My other comment would be, do you want to keep the grass ? If you have plenty of shrubs etc. for attracting wildlife you might find it easier to maintain something like gravel, rather than manoeuvring a mower around a smaller area.
    Builders always seem to put drain covers in the most awkward places.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,112
    I'd agree with that @Loxley . A cottagey look would be difficult to achieve successfully, and it's higher maintenance.  Doesn't fit with the OP's request either.
    The shrubs will be fine once the shape is decided, and they can all be underplanted with bulbs etc, and still be low maintenance. I've always done that when I worked full time. Easier now to have fussier plants  ;)
    Although I'm female, I like strong shapes - and straight lines, which are mostly seen as a bit masculine   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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