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Front Garden Woes

For the last couple of years I've focused heavily on the back garden and have neglected the front. It's mainly because on one side, I share it with a neighbour. On the side that's 100% mine I'm going to make it a wildflower lawn but I have no idea what to do with the shared side. One of the problems is that I've had plants stolen from my front garden in the past so I can't have anything that's too "nickable". I'm also stumped about how to divide my and my neighbour's side. Anything that can be picked up/thrown/kicked is also a no go.

This is a photo of the front garden(old estate agent's photo as it's currently much too scruffy!). My bit is half of what's on the right so as you can see, I don't have a lot to work with. The tree that you can partially see on the right is a crab apple (don't think I've seen it grow much above 2m) and on my neighbour's side. 



The garden is north facing and I'd also like low maintenance. I don't want too spend much either as I'd rather spend the money on my back garden as that's where I spend my time. It's not the easiest of wish lists, especially having to take the theft/vandalism element into account but any suggestions would be warmly welcomed. 
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  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 2,181
    On the right side I'd just keep it lawn and maybe plant some topiary balls / other . The drive way looks narrow so you may need the lawn to get in and out of the car unless you don't drive. 

    I'd do the left side first and tackle the right side when funds and time allows 
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,700
    I agree with Perki and do something with the left side first, perhaps 2 or three interesting shrubs. Spending your money on the back garden is a much better idea februarysgirl. I'd guess you see more of that than the front.
  • Not really looking to keep it as a grass lawn. In the growing season you're looking at mowing it once a week and a large part of the reason why I'm going for a wildflower lawn on the other side is because it only needs mowing once, maybe twice a year. I know some people find mowing the lawn therapeutic but I hate it. I got rid of the grass in my back garden because I'd had enough of mowing it every week, the despair of hot weather killing it off and the relentless dandelions that just would not bugger off 😭 I built large raised beds and filled the space between them with gravel and last year all I needed to do was one week of maintenance in March (clearing up dead bits of plants, pruning, topping up soil and replacing the bark chippings) and that was pretty much it. I don't really want to be lugging the lawnmower out to the front on a weekly basis for such a small patch of grass. I was considering lawn alternatives that don't need much attention such as clover/micro-clover, chamomile, heath pearlwort, or even moss (probably not the moss, I'm not sure my neighbour would be wild about it) but there's the issue of what to use to divide the two halves of the patch I share with my neighbour. Unfortunately, none of the other houses on our street have the same layout out front so I'm unable to get any ideas from their gardens.

    I'm not into topiary at all. They look great in formal gardens but they do need maintenance to keep their shape and I'd be no good at all at that. I'm pretty sure any smart looking shrub would disappear in the middle of the night the way my yucca did (hope the b******s got scratched to bits pulling it up).
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,004
    What about using plants as a vandal deterrent?  If you have a colourful wildflower lawn, it might attract even more unwanted attention.  Something subtle but functional might work on the left hand side like a line of three columnar Berberis thunbergii - green, orange or purple.  They have flowers and berries that attract wildlife and thorns that deter low life! I'd leave the right hand side as lawn for easy access to your car or visitors' cars. 
  • @Plantminded Aside from the low maintenance aspect, I figured that people are unlikely to go pulling up wildflowers. I did plant a few on the left hand side, bladder campion, red campion, toadflax and common mallow which are very pretty but haven't attracted any unwanted attention. Not a fan of berberis but based on what happened with the yucca (which would stab you the moment you got close to it) thorns wouldn't necessarily be a deterrent! I would love a dog rose hedge (reminds me of my nan's front garden) but it could get out of hand really easily.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,121
    The problem with wildflower meadows is that they can take a while to get the correct balance for your site and conditions, so you have to do your research. Also, they can look very messy and bare for a fair bit of the year, and if you have cats around, you'll end up with a large cat litter tray. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • @Fairygirl The plan isn't to remove the existing grass but to cut it as low as possible at the end of March and then scatter some seed around. I have to confess haven't cut the grass in about two years but the toadflax is undeterred and self seeds all over the joint. Good job it's pretty. I've got a seed mix for the parts that get the most sun which also has some meadow grasses as well as some for the shadier areas. I'm not pinning all of my hopes on seed though, in April I have some wildflower plug plants arriving including some yellow rattle which should, fingers crossed, help. There are a number of cats around here which is why removing the grass and digging it over just isn't an option.

    It'd be nice if it'd work but if it doesn't I'll have to try to figure something else out. I just really don't want a plain lawn for the front garden. 
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,700
    Will you be putting wild flower seed on both sides of the drive or just the left hand side @februarysgirl

  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 698
    Just extend your drive full width upto your boundaries?
    Do away with any mither with maintenance and scumbag troubles.
    Concentrate your love and energies into your rear garden. 
    Just another day at the plant...
  • @Uff I'd be more than happy to have wildflower seed on the right as well, it's just a question of having some kind of division between mine and my neighbour's garden really. I don't really know what to use.

    @owd potter I'm not crazy about the idea of extending the drive. One of my neighbours opposite replaced their lawn with paving for better parking and it took A LOT of work despite it not even being very large. It's more money than I want to be spending on the front garden. There's also the possibility of having a porch in the future and I wouldn't want to do anything too permanent only to have to pull some of it up again. 
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