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Looking for ideas for front garden

tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 234

Im thinking of what to do with the front garden. I want something very low maintenance, but with plants so that the front garden always has green. Possibly a camomile lawn?

Im also thinking about an arch over the front gate with some sort of climbing plants? 

Id like to shield off the road a bit more with perhaps some fencing which comes above the wall, but I dont want to block the light/sun from the downstairs windows. (Its south/east facing).

Any thoughts, advice or inspirational photos would be greatly appreciated!


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,030
    I think an arch would suit your property beautifully  :)
    Plenty of climbers would suit - I'd always opt for clematis as there are so many, but one of the smaller Group 1 types might be ideal. Later winter into early spring flowering depending on the variety etc.
    Most are happy with almost any aspect, and they don't need much attention. They often have a second flush of flowers in late summer/early autumn, although we don't really get that here as the season's shorter.  They also don't mind a slightly drier soil. Have a look at alpinas and macropetalas and see if anything takes your fancy.  :)
    You could have more along any fence you add too. 

    Is it just the borders you want planting for? I take it they're shadier as you have a Fatsia in there?

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

  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,083
    Yes I agree with @Fairygirl an arch would work well. Your home is charming and I think it would be best to keep things simple and take time with plant choices. If you decide on clematis choose your colour carefully with the door colour in mind. You could look at plants that would have grown in this garden in the past. I think Demelza Poldark grew foxgloves! Alba perhaps . Also geraniums such as phaum will cope in the shady spots. Possibly some of the campanulas and Alchemilla but one of the smaller forms .A small garden is often more difficult to manage as every plant needs to earn it's keep and to stay looking good will need editing and your time. Sorry if this is a bit of a muddle I always write as it comes into my head! 
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 234
    Thankyou! Theres lovely suggestions there!

    I suffer badly from paralysis analysis. (Ive been thinking about what to do to this garden for 4 years! This year I need to just get on and do it!). 

    Because its next to the road I dont spend anytime in this garden, so low maintenance is key. (I know the clematis will need pruning). So I want a green carpet of... something other than weeds, hence my thought on a camomile lawn(?)

    The garden is actually south facing, but because of the wall is mostly cast in shade. The bit by the fatsia and magnolia is almost always in shade - other 2 months in summer.

    So really, I guess what Im asking is what can I carpet the ground with to suppress weeds, and is low/no maintenance.

    Regards the arch, Ive just found this great article: . (this may help others who need arch ideas). I like the idea of having the arch mirror my pitched roof.

    Before I was think of something simple like , but now Im thinking something more like:

    What do you think? Is there enough for clematis to 'hold on too' or will I need something with more lattice work? Id hate for a gust of wind to blow it down!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,030
    If you're having one of the smaller clematis I suggested, they should be fine, but I'd concrete any support into the ground, unless you're confident you can get it secure.
    The wooden ones - they definitely need concreted.
    I have to say - the price of those things is eye watering! It wouldn't be expensive to create something yourself with posts and trellis, or roofing battens.

    Re ground cover - there's lots of stuff which would be easy. Ajuga, Iberis, Saxifrages, Lamium etc. The moisture content of the soil will be relevant, but Ajuga doesn't mind dry or wet. It can take over a bit, but it's easy to pull out. The London Pride saxifrage [S. urbium] is also less fussy. The other two will prefer a bit more moisture.
    Alchemilla mollis will also be fine, but you really have to keep an eye on it, as it has ideas of world domination. 
    Hardy geraniums will also be fine. Hundreds to choose from.

    There will be loads of other plants too, but those spring to mind initially.
    You can also mix spring bulbs in with all of those.  :)

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

  • If you have some shady spots that need a bit of lightening up then consider some grasses. We have a variety in our shady front garden and they provide a no maintenence structure all year round.

    One really nice one to look at is hakonechloa, which has an nice green form which isn't as common as the brighter yellow.

    Heuchera would also do the job but are slightly more work because after several years they can get a bit woody and need some attention.  
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,030
    I'd echo the Hakonechloa. Excellent plant for shade. Doesn't mind a slightly drier spot, but best with moisture. Good for some snowdrops or daffs growing through it too  :)
    I've got some Hellebore nigers alongside clumps of it , although they aren't in growth at the same time.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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