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Front Garden Redesign Project

PerkiPerki Posts: 2,366
edited October 2021 in Garden design
I've been thinking about it most of the year about ripping up the small front lawn and planting the entire bed up . I've been working on a plan mentally for months and over the past few nights on paper, the idea I am going for is English garden meets the prairie , I like prairie planting and particular Piet Oudolf work . I don't want to part with some plants you wouldn't see in a prairie like roses / bearded Iris / lavender and various other plants that are more commonly seen in a English cottage garden .

Garden today in this dismal weather  

The garden only viewed from the front window and walking up the path on the left . Its also south facing 

The plan so far .. Probably have far to many varieties of plants I am being far to greedy  . I've left the bottom right I am still think about it I'd like to grow some Eremus or I've got some agapanthus or carry on with the stachys / other. I already have most of the plants on the plan 

I am still considering on some plants they are kind of in because I haven't got anywhere else to go with them.  Some I am still thinking on which variety like Miscanthus want something 5-6ft ideally white / silver flowers but not fussed with good autumn foliage with strong stems for winter interest considering ferner osten - flamingo - Kleine varieties open to suggestions . Can't make my mind up with the salvia either Amethyst or maybe one of the verticillata which I've been very impressed with .  Some plants near the window may still get juggled around . Unsure on the eryngium I've seen a river of eryngium before which looked really effective , I've already got Neptune gold but may change to Big blue / other or take them out entirely. 

Lots of Alliums to add ( universe - firmament - purple rain and any other allium I can't resist buying )   and maybe Fritillaria persica / alba .

Any suggestions / queries welcome  :).


  • Doghouse RileyDoghouse Riley Posts: 347
    edited October 2021
    I like the idea of "English garden meets prarie," in a garden as small as our own front garden. I'll be interested in seeing  the end result. Though I guess it may take a few years to achieve.

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    We visited Sussex prairie Garden a few weeks back,they have paths of wood chip/bark stuff going through the beds. You will need to be able to move through to weed. Am going to do a similar thing with our south facing front garden,it's a small border,not as much space as you. Very shallow stoney soil gets very dry. It's got irises, almost black,nepeta. Am leaving the dahlias in there. It's a challenge what I can plant,soil is about 6 inches deep,then concrete which is part of the drive, level with that,so can't add depth. Managed to get some grasses in small pots. It's also windy because of proximity to sea and South Downs,and ***** neighbours, keep their bins they and they crash into our garden!! In the back we have grasses,roses,sea Holly,day lilies,russian sage, flowering in summer.rudbeckia, echinacea, now.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,884
    ...if it's what you want to do there @Perki then of course you do it, but all I would say is, you have quite a lot of plants destined for a small area, and I'm not sure how you'll fit all those in, especially as with Dry or Prairie type gardens it's best to plant in drifts or blocks, plus you'd need a path of some sort..

    I've grown some of those plus about a dozen Miscanthus down the years... Kleine Fontaine was one of my favourites..
    East Anglia, England
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,180
    @Perki, you may want to take on board that alliums self seed very vigorously and a small area can get overrun within a couple of years. They are a pain to dig out if there's not much room between plants. You can probably tell that I speak from experience!
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • I have no expertise in the planting choices, but I did dig up an even smaller lawn than that this summer and it was the hardest work I've ever done, so do recruit some help with it! I nearly curled up and sobbed on the half-dug turf. I am a Big Girl's Blouse, and you may not be, but be prepared!
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,237
    When I got rid of my lawn I just sprayed it with glyphosate and half-heartedly sort of dug it over to break up the compaction. I know my limits, when it comes to exertion! I like the planting choices, in a small space I would plant in smaller blocks (1's and 3's) to make sure that you have repeats through the bed. For example you might have 3 Persicaria in a clump, and then a single one a short distance away, and then another in another spot. Many taller plants look best with space around them, so make sure they have a buffer of low grasses or perennials so their form can be appreciated. (Grasses like Hakonechloa and Sesleria are good for this). Lastly don't forget spring interest; things that either die down or can be cut back before the main late summer show (e.g. Luzula nivea, Aquilegia).
  • didywdidyw Posts: 2,919
    I dug up 3 'lawns' (I say lawns, more weedy, grassy areas) last year and it was hard work. After we had the new lawn turf laid I cut some out to make some beds larger and that was also hard work.  Those turfs I put upside down under a hedge and round a couple of my apple trees to break down and enrich the soil.  So if you have an out of the way corner somewhere where you can stack yours you can use the resultant soil (there will be some grassy tufts growing out of it that you can easily reuse) as a mulch on your new beds.  One thing about persicaria - depending on the variety, it does spread quite quickly.   It's quite tough and will adapt to most growing conditions.  And I agree that you will want to get in amongst it to weed - I made the mistake of creating a wide bed which I promptly filled with plants only to find that I couldn't get to the middle to tend to the plants I had there. 
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    I can't see a mention of what kind of soil it is...  Alliums are happiest in loose, sandy soil. Roses and lavenders like very different conditions... Would you amend different sections of your new plot?
  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,366
    edited October 2021
    Thanks for the concern @CostumedVole I'll have the lawn up in no time, I am starting to creak now and again maybe I should get someone in  . 

    I grow hundreds of alliums @Lizzie27 I love them one of my favourite plants more the merrier , I usually chop them up while trying to plant something else. I don't buy purple sensation so much now which does try and self seed the others seem well behaved  . 

    Thanks @Marlorena I'll take Kleine Fontaine on board, I am questioning the amount of plant varieties . Some like Thalictrum Anne will likely not go in, and Geranium Dragon Heart which does look nice with Rose GC but its a thug and swamps other plants, and it doesn't flower anywhere near as much as other magenta varieties like ann folkland / Patricia  . The odd other plant may get the chop so I can fill out others, I am trying to keep interest earlier in the year but haven't really got the room. And no room for a path I'll have to tip toe through the bed or set some bricks down , I can reach over from all sides but for next door . I don't like the block planting looks very man made but the drifts look great , I try and adjust the planning to make a big salvia drift by moving the Lomandra down . Some plants I've tried to repeat the colour or form ( Phlox Nicky - Monarda Kardinal ) ( Selinium - Eupatorium ) . I'll clear the area first and put pots down where X Y Z are going see if things will fit. 

    I've been looking at that garden very impressive and envious on how much space they have @Nanny Beach . Fortunately I am on loam over clay couldn't be doing with 6 inch of soil,  I'll have to adjust some conditions for some that require more drainage but other that its a good plot , can't forget the wind :/ not much I can do about that. 

  • If I'd not been such an impetuous idiot in a rush, I'd have poisoned it and saved myself a potentially early grave, but I woke up one morning thinking it was a good idea and just dived in. I earnestly recommend finding a young and strong helper you can bribe/pay/extort, or borrowing one of those turf cutter machines, if they come in sizes small enough to get into the space, if you don't fancy the poison route. I went on to spend four days removing a 25 year old mat of vinca minor from a large flower bed, and that was like a day at a spa compared to digging up the teeny tiny lawn, which was the size of a single bed. I obviously didn't have the technique right or something, and I am an unfit old codger, so your mileage may vary, but forewarned is forearmed.
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