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Victorian Terrace need your input

Hi All, 

This is our first house, so first garden to design. We had lots of fun so far and done a big part of it, now we just need to decide where and how we design the lawn vs flower beds. I have attached a picture of the bare garden  (ignore anything on the brown soil as that's of course going. 

So at the back you have the patio we just had installed. Flower beds to the right that are staying. 

The garden doors from the kitchen are in the left hand bottom of the picture, looking out over the retaining wall. 

The stepping stone you see is in the middle of the garden.

it's in total about 10 meter long and 4 wide 

Initially we thought to put lawn where you see the green in the picture and then the brown the flower beds, but we have second doubts. 

What would you do? 

Also, any tips for plants? It's facing west, north west. (north is towards the right hand neighbour in this picture. 


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,463
    I would imagine it might get quite a lot of shade from your house and the neighbouring ones (I guess that's why you put the deck/patio at the far end). Most grass needs plenty of sun. There are seed mixtures that will take more shade, but they aren't as hardwearing, which brings me on to....
    If you need to walk across the area in winter to get to the back gate (or in wet weather any time of year) you'll get a worn track on grass, if you don't have a path through it (and possibly also track mud across the deck/patio).
    I think I'd be tempted to have gravel with a "stepping stone" type path of slabs through it, and have the kind of planting that's allowed to self-seed into the gravel, but your taste may be towards the more formal.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • zugeniezugenie Posts: 834
    Personally I would have that as one big flower bed with a path/stepping stones through to the seating at the back.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,479
    edited February 2022
    Are you desperate to have a lawn ? As @JennyJ said, due to the lack of sunlight it may be very tricky to maintain .
    I would also be inclined to go for gravel and stepping stones in your situation,  l think it would look good  :)
    This is the kind of look l was picturing, obviously you could have different coloured stones and gravel.
  • I would always suggest in these situations that you sort out your boundaries first.
    Whether that be brick walls or new wooden fence panels - do it now whilst you can - and keep in mind that they may need replacing or maintaining at some later stage.
    Lawn? .. I wouldn't even consider it - you'll most likely regret it later. (IMO)
  • A lawn this size is not worth the bother. You will also need a home for a mower .I would  plant tall plants as part of your scheme.  
     Retired Gardener, new build garden, clay soil, South Notts.

    The more I garden the less I know but the more pleasure I get from it. Monty Don 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,882
    I'd agree. It'll take longer to get the mower in and out than it would to cut the grass - if any survives  ;)
    That's how I decide on the conundrum of having grass or not - much as I like it.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,492
    This staggered paving idea with interesting shaped beds might make you happier about not having a lawn:

    A Victorian Terrace Garden – Sarah Ashworth Garden Design

    There's lots of scope for some interesting planting, plus easy access to your patio and back gate.  You could do something similar with gravel but I'd advise you to use a large size of gravel to avoid it getting in your shoes and house!

    I think a mix of perennials and ornamental grasses would look great in that space and not occupy too much of your time maintaining them - they come back each year!  The grasses will also give you structural interest over winter.

    Also, think about how you are going to light your garden so that it can be a subtle feature for outdoor dining and entertaining, also enabling you to admire your garden from your house at night - with consideration for your neighbours!

    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • Good ideas! And something to think about. Never thought about this approach! 

    Thanks all! 
  • I agree with Chris and I'd sort your boundaries first.  A pain but far easier to do that at this stage. I'd also agree that for such a small space it's doesn't seem worth the hassle of having a grass lawn (storing a mower for such a small space is a pain alone). It also looks as if you have young kids (I spotted a small bike). I know this won't be popular with everyone but have you considered artificial grass? That's what we did in our previous terraced house - it wasn't my first choice but it worked practically for us and there are some good options these days. It also meant that it was a practical space all year round (attached is a pic ...and I don't think the artificial grass is that bad!!). Anyway just an idea.

    For shady spots I'm a fan of ferns and an evergreen jasmine works well as a climber to cover up a fence.  Good luck in your new home x
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