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Help long thin garden design

Hello all
I moved into a new home a year ago and would love advice on garden design as it’s my first time!

A bit about the plot. It’s a London suburban garden, 5 metres by 50 metres south west facing. Soil is quite heavy clay and sometimes gets waterlogged in the middle of the garden. It backs an alley with tall sycamore trees. 

The vision is to create a garden with different zones which is good for wildlife. We have a water butt, 2 compost bins and 1 raised bed.

Our ideas so far:
1) patio seating area next to house (very sunny) with sun loving patio plants, 2) between patio and apple tree an area with north facing shrubs on the left side (we have a huge family of sparrows living here) and sun loving flowers and climbers on the right side 3) behind apple tree some lawn area we can use for family 4) in the bottom 3rd, space for a couple of raised beds and also a more wild area replacing some current shrubs (ie Mexican orange) with wildlife shrubs like dogwood, hawthorn. Perhaps small seating area here but it is shady after the morning. 

see photos attached.

My question - any general garden design advice on examples of long thin gardens? Any ideas you have/ things to consider based on the photos?

Ideally I want an easy to care for garden after the initial work of setting it up. 

thanks in advance!


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,366
    Hello @alexeastham, Welcome to the forum.
    That looks an exciting project, lucky you.

    I would divide your garden into diagonal spaces as it is generally held to create an illusion of width. So in your first photo, I would take a diagonal line left to right from the top of the paved circle, perhaps filling in the gap (where you have lawn) with a gravelled area across to the grey shrub on the right hand side. 

    Likewise, probably behind the apple tree, you could put maybe a trellis fence again on the diagonal with an opening on the left where you can't see it from the house. If you can't see all the garden from the house, it makes it more secretive and interesting.  You could grow cordon fruit apples or fruit bushes on the fence if you wanted to.

    Further down towards the shed, your raised veg beds could also be on a diagonal slant.

    Food for thought?  I'm sure other posters will have some good ideas as well.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,003
    I agree - diagonal paths going from side to side and dividing your garden into 3 or 4 zones will make for an illusion of width but also give you depth for planting a good mix of small trees, shrubs and perennials which make it impossible to see what's behind so you are enticed to go and explore.   You could also use trellis panels erected horizontally to the fence to break up the eyeline and give you the opportunity to grow climbing roses, clematis, honeysuckle and lower shrubs and perennials.

    If you find straight diagonals a bit daunting, try wider sweeping curves , greater than those stepping stone paths, or else mark out a series of circles which can be grass, paved or gravelled and will also give you deep beds where they meet.  You could have arches where they join to give an extra sense of mystery.

    Dividing up the garden will also give you clear zones for wildlife - tho it could all be wildlife friendly - seating and dining, play, fruit and veg, compost heaps and work area so you need to make a list of your priorities for your space and teh ways you want to use it.

    Have a look on Pinterest for ideas. eg - (194) Pinterest   If that link doesn't work just google "Pinterest+garden design+long and narrow"
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • thanks @Lizzie27 and @Obelixx for your ideas, I hadn’t thought of diagonals and will take a look at Pinterest threads!! 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,366
    @Redwing21, have just received my GW mag which mentions there will be 3 extra episodes of GW on 10, 17 & 23rd Dec (subject to change). One of the slots is Carol Klein advising a celebrity on their long narrow garden. 
    Annoyingly, the mag doesn't state which programme - so you may have to watch all three!
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • seacrowsseacrows Posts: 234
    If your shed isn't wired for electric you might want to consider a small storage lean to near the house. My OH complains about having to fetch the lawnmower from the shed every single time. I did tell him to start mowing at the shed, but apparently the bit near the house has to be done first 😑😑,
    In a long garden you can use false perspective to make it appear shorter and wider, but I don't know how, sorry.
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