Forum home Garden design

New house garden ideas

janinerjaniner Posts: 66
edited March 2022 in Garden design
Hi gardeners!
I live in Cheshire (Welsh border) and recently moved house. This weekend I had my first potter in the new garden and I'm a little stuck for ideas on what to do. 

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and dejected.  The pic attached to this is the pic from the estate agent when we bought the house. It must have been taken a while ago as the bottom half of the garden beds are all bare/full of weeds.

I've started trying to get weeds out but the soil is extremely dense, clay type and wet. I'm also not sure of sun positioning yet  but it is north facing, so a lot of shade.

I'm wondering whether I should look at some sort of bed ground cover and use pots instead of trying to grow plants in this type of soil? 
I've never really considered this approach but I've also never encounted this type of soil.
Oh, and there are a number of cats in the area, so I have a little (disgusting) problem with cat excrement too. 
Any suggestions for wet & shade loving evergreens is gratefully accepted. Or even pointers on where to start really.


  • janinerjaniner Posts: 66
    Its a north facing garden by the way. So yes, lots of shade.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,178
    edited March 2022
    It was obviously well loved at some point, if a little bland. Is there any chance of a photo or two showing its current state?
    My advice would be to start from the house and work out when it comes to weeding. If every time you come out of the back door you can see progress, no matter how little, it would help.
    This time of year it will be pretty wet and claggy, especially being North facing. Hopefully now we're heading into Spring it will begin to dry out.

    Rather than overwhelm you with a load of advice,  l would suggest you make a list of what you want/need to have. Seating area, washing line, bin store, compost area perhaps. I don't have any experience of shady gardens, but there are forum members who do l'm sure.
    Remember, you don't have to go in like a bull at a gate. I know how you feel, but there's no rush to do it all in one go.
    PS l think as you clear the site and start redesigning hopefully the problem with the cats will reduce. 
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    First thing is not to be dejected but to look on it as a bit of an adventure. One day it will be all yours and you will love it. It's so cold and wet that there's not much you can do just now so stay in the warmth and think about what you need, what you like and how much time you can/wish to spend on it.

    There are loads of plants that grow in clay in shade and you will still be able to have structure, colour, texture but for now, think about what you would like to end up with while just pottering a bit, taking out a few weeds and finding out what is already there that you want to keep or get rid of. Don't despair, it will all be great!
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,669
    Welcome to the friendly forum. Yes let's have some up to date pictures, first. Let us know exactly when and where you do get sun.we had a big garden once,it was a local authority house,was homeless,so no choice in the matter. It hadn't been touched for years. Brambles, rotten structures,air raid shelter,car bonnet. We lived there 6 weeks before we could even physically walk down the garden,so don't despair!
  • janinerjaniner Posts: 66
    Thank you for your comments. Here are pics of its current state. We have 2 young kids, so want a little "safe" and low maintenance to start with. I love pottering, not landscaping. 
    The bigger shrubs in there are quite leggy or empty in the middle and I don’t want to lose the window to prune back, but it might still be a bit early?

    The grass has just been scarified to help with moss. 
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Wow! That's a really attractive space. There are lots of people round me who would look on that as the finished thing, not the beginning!

    You can still cut back overgrown shrubs. Take out dead or damaged wood and some of the tangled branches. It it's  REALLY bad it is often better to remove about a third of the older growth each year until it is what you want. Shrubs that are just a bit leggy can be reduced. 

    Do you know what they are? If not  post some pictures and you can get details on what to do for each one.
  • arslanarslan Posts: 40
    That really looks attractive and more beautiful.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,957
    edited March 2022
    I agree. That is a lovely garden already. 

    If it’s north facing than that back right corner should get plenty of sun and warmth in summer. I’m planning a seating area in the same spot in my new north facing garden. If you enjoy sitting out I would keep that as a seating area. 

    Clay soil is not the nemesis people often think it to be. 

    It will be claggy at the time of year but ideal for weeding before it dries out in summer. Maybe do a slow and steady weeding session (over a few days/weeks) and pop a mulch over and then see what (if any) perennials are in the borders in spring. You can then remove those you don’t want (pot up/donate/chuck) and replace with things you want (you’ll get loads of suggestions on here for clay lovers). 

    I imagine the right border will get sun from afternoon through to almost sunset and the left side will get sun on a morning. Back left probably morning til early afternoon (this is all assuming it’s not being blocked by the house/houses. 

    I’ve been in mine a year and I’m only just starting to make it my own. 

    My best advice is to live with the space, sit in it, look at it from all windows and thrash some ideas about with regards to what you want out of the space. Jot down some ideas; run them past people on here etc. 

    Unless you’re not planning on staying there very long there is no rush. 

    Better to slowly develop something you’ll love than to rush into something you’ll then have to undo. 👍🏼
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    Don't forget that a large part of the planting could have been perennials. Those die back for winter and will start into growth again soon. Some of the shrubs are the same, so try and avoid doing anything major because it may be detrimental to flowering or fruiting  :)
    As @Posy says, if you need to ID certain plants, start a thread with photos of each one [limit it to about three as it gets confusing] with a close up of foliage/flowers, as well as a wider view. That will help and will give you the info you need re pruning or other care.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • janinerjaniner Posts: 66
    Ahhh you are all ace. Thank you for the positive messages. 
    I'm a bit excited now. Im going to go out and get snapping so I can find out what I have, and keep with the weeding for now. 

    Claggy is exactly the right term for the soil at the moment!

    That seat is staying there in the right corner as I have noticed that it gets a lot of sun (we have only been in for 2 months, so a bit hard to tell, but I knew from seeing that, that there will be seats there). 
Sign In or Register to comment.