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Your ideal garden

Penny_ForthemPenny_Forthem North WalesPosts: 298
edited January 2022 in The potting shed
We are on the move this year, due to hub's health issues.
We have made our garden our 'ideal' one, but it's now time to pass it on to a young family.
It will be hard.
What would you look for in a garden you can make yours in slightly... too quickly, advancing years?
We will miss the stream enormously, as will the dogs and grandkids, but needs must



  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 3,048
    We had a stream in our last garden and a huge wildlife pond Penny -Forthem so I know what you mean. The garden was 3 acres and a heck of a lot of work so I knew exactly what I wanted in this garden when we knew that he wouldn't be here to enjoy or help with it. 
    It had to be small enough for me to manage but not too small, with very little weeding, different levels and lots of interest. After nearly 7 years I've managed it but I'm now changing things and doing some replanting. 

    What about you, what are you looking for or hope to do?
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 11,021
    I think much depends on what you want to do at your new place. I think the best thing to do is decide on that, then assess any new properties to see how achievable that would be without a huge amount of work.
    I would certainly think about raised beds with wide enough ledges to sit on, whether you plan to grow flowers or vegetables. 
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    edited January 2022
    I guess it partly depends on help, if any you might recruit, friends, family, tree surgeons, landscapers ... I have a local friend come over every few weeks and it makes a tremendous difference.

    What would you look for in a garden?
    It's a cliche, but I would love somewhere south facing, where I could see the whole arc of the sun and the through the day and the night. My previous flat had that aspect and I still miss it. My current place is pretty dark.  I'd dearly like a garden that isn't overlooked and has a sense of visual and auditory privacy. Good bird life would be a plus.

    But I am blessed by great NDNs and that probably outweighs any other consideration.

    (I do look at vids of garden without slugs and sigh).
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027
    edited January 2022
    I would not be without my stream [ except when it floods ], even with precarious health I am often found wading in it, diverting water into the natural pond and trying to tempt the tiny trout. I will probably drown in there one day, sure there could be worse ways to go.

    Oh yes, I still makes dams too.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,599
    My ideal garden would have a stream in it.  Sometimes when I am trying to sleep I imagine my ideal garden - the drive with an avenue of chestnuts with wildflowers beneath, a field with sheep in it adjacent, then over a bridge over the stream to the front of the house (with outbuildings for carriages and where I would have plant sales) through a gate in the wall and into the garden. Sweeping lawns from the terrace accessed via French windows, a formal garden, a walled garden to the side, a wooded area at the bottom...
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,461
    I moved from my huge French farmhouse last January to a much smaller house, still in France. Last house had a big garden, over an acre but had other areas and paddocks and woodland too. It was all getting too much and too expensive, I'd loved it when we bought it in 1990 to bring up our family. First OH died aged 53, years later I have a new partner but he lives in England. Covid has really upset things.

    Anyway, I now have a new garden. It's still quite big but it was a blank canvas, mostly grass. There's a paddock too with a small river along the boundary. The grandchildren love it and build dams, even in January! The garden could be fairly easy, and was supposed to be, but I can't do without flowers. I have made new flower beds, planted 10 roses, 7 more are in the veg garden waiting to be planted. I'm going to buy some more, yellow ones to put along a fence. I've planted a fuchsia riccartonii hedge interspersed with viticella clematis along another fence.

    I think the point I'm trying to make is that your garden will have to fulfill your needs and what you feel capable of doing. I would be miserable without a garden, I've replanted and renovated OH's smallish garden too. I need flowers and I like some lawn. Work out what is vital to you and what you can manage. If the garden is too big you don't have to cultivate it all, wild gardens can be lovely and a haven for wild life. I expect in the future if it's too much for me here I will just sow wild flowers, mow the grass near the house and let it get on with it.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,547
    edited January 2022
    I think the same @Busy-Lizzie. I have no intention of ever leaving here but health might well dictate otherwise. This is a fairly large garden (to me at any rate) but it's on a hill with terraces and steps. I did have the foresight to have built in paving slabs I can sit on to do weeding and planting but the main lawn is probably just a bit too big for me to comfortably mow it. I think I could live without grass as long as I had flower beds and fences to grow climbers. If the lawn was smaller and flatter, a robot lawn mower might be a possibility.

    Another must for me would be a view (I've never lived without one) and a detached house. 

    I would suggest @Penny_Forthem that you make a list of your absolute musts in a garden and remember that while houses can be altered, the position and location of a garden can't.

    I must say your present garden looks an absolute delight and it must be so hard to think about leaving it. Is there no way you could get help in?
  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,300
    15 years ago we bought a garden that had a house in it 🤣. Best thing we ever did 👍🏻
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,547
    Snap @chicky!
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,760
    edited January 2022
    Hi @Penny_Forthem, from how you have descibed your situation, I'd suggest that you view your potential new garden at first from a labour perspective both now and in the future. Decide whether or not you are prepared to seek paid help. Then consider:

    Are there any hedges that you will be responsible for or trees that will need ongoing attention?

    Is there easy access for using heavy tools like the lawn mower and hedge trimmer?

    Are there steps or terraces to climb, are they safe and how will they be maintained?

    Then consider the positioning and potential of your garden:

    Does it face the right direction?

    How close are the neighbours?

    Are there any tell tale signs in neighbouring gardens of potential nuisances?

    Driving past the property and garden at different times of the day, during the week and at weekends, will help you assess whether you have like minded neighbours and will feel happy living there.  Drive past the properties at the rear of the property and make the same assessment.

    It is a huge decision, take your time and don't compromise on what is really important to you in your garden.  As others have said, you can change the house but not the location. 

    The proximity of amenities such as shops, post office, bank, doctors etc is also an important consideration, as well as whether you intend to continue owning a car.

    Good luck with your garden and house hunting!
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