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New house garden ideas



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,133
    Clay soil is great for plants, but it will be heavy at this time of year, regardless of how well adapted it is. Regular additions of manure and compost etc all help to improve it, but don't worry about that just now. If you want to add some, it's better to wait until you see what plants are there  :)
    Good that you have a little sun in that corner, if you like sitting in it. Gives you options.

    Shade isn't the massive problem that many people think it is either, although you may find that the grass will need a lot more attention. Shade isn't the best for it, but it also depends on how fussy you are about it. The kids will soon make it messy anyway!
    There are various options re the cat problem. The water scarecrows or sonic devices. It's a very common, and contentious subject. If you use the search facility at the top of the page, you'll get loads of threads. 

    There are loads of plants that grow well in shade. Just take your time for now, and add your pix. Keep them small so that they load the right way up - less than 1MB is ideal  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,068
    The shrubs that are "empty in the middle" have probably been clipped into blob shapes at some point. You can maintain them that way if you like, or renovate by getting in to the base and taking out a few of the thickest oldest branches. It'll take a few years to get to a more natural open habit. Depending on what they are,another option might be cut right back and let them grow back naturally.
    I don't have experience with a moist soil (I wish!) so I can't really offer anything on what plants will do well.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Loraine3Loraine3 Posts: 558
    Looks like a Forsythia (yellow flowers) bottom right on second photo. This can be pruned as soon as the flowers go over, a basic rule for pruning is to prune after flowering.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,133
    Lots of plants are easy in moist soil - shade or sun, although this site will mostly be shade.
    I'd wait to see what appears though - then we can offer ideas.  :)
    Acteas, for example, won't be coming through for another month or two, depending on location. About May here.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 699
    edited March 2022
    Hi @janiner, that garden already looks really good — as others have said, there are lots of opportunities with clay soil in shade. I apply about 400 litres of manure compost each year as a mulch all over the garden, which has helped improve soil texture and kept the worms happy.

    I recently shared my garden layout, which might be somewhat like yours in terms of sun exposure (though more hemmed in by new build houses) and aspect. It's heavy clay soil that is pretty much squelchy throughout the year. In East Anglia, so perhaps less rain and cold than in Cheshire.

    Not saying you should pattern your plans in the same way, but just to give you some ideas, below are the plants that have done well for me and require little care. I think you have a lot more going on in your garden in terms of height, seasonal interest and trees.

    On the west-facing shady side that gets (very little) setting sun:
    • Evergreen: hellebores, skimmia, choisya 'Scented Gem', ferns (Polystichum polyblepharum is evergreen), Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb', box (mine has luckily escaped blight and moths so far), Euonymus japonicus (an alternative to box)
    • Not evergreen, but easy to care for: epimedium for ground cover (Epimedium pubigerum, but there's lots of choice; note the flowers are only there for a short time but are fascinating), oakleaf hydrangea, geraniums, acer, anemone 'Pink Kiss', anemone 'Fantasy Jasmine' 
    On the east-facing side that gets morning sun (except during winter months, when no sun reaches it):
    • Evergreen: star jasmine (on a wall), skimmia, Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tandara Gold', Pinus mugo 'Carsten's Wintergold', Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety', hebe ‘Caledonia’, hebe 'Mrs Winder', campanula 'Campala' (stayed green all through winter)
    The south-facing side gets full sun (except during winter months), so that's where I've had scope for roses, a physocarpus, perennials (e.g. salvias, scabious), alliums, rosemary, lavender — the latter two somewhat of a struggle with the clay soil but I've added a lot of grit for them.

    I do have some bamboos but one has run (started breaking through concrete, and was re-planted with a barrier) and one is well behaved — however I can't tell which is which, they are Fargesia rufa and Fargesia murielae; both said to be 'clumping' and non-running. I also have Phyllostachys, a running type planted with a sturdy barrier from the start. On balance I wouldn't have bamboo at all if I were to have a new garden... I thought they would be 'easy maintenance', which in a way they are, but I'm not in love with how their 'evergreen' leaves fall everywhere all the time through the year on the lawn and patio, and also there's the running factor. This is my first garden ever, so I'm still learning.

    Let us know how you get on, take your time and share your plans, questions and — eventually — 'after' photos with us.
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,278
    It looks nice and tidy for this time of the year. I would absolutely wait to see what perennials will come up. Also, be careful with the weeding - you could either remove something that isn't a weed or you could damage newly emerging shoots of the perennials there. By the end of May, you should know better what you have there and if there are any gaps.
  • Simone_in_WiltshireSimone_in_Wiltshire Posts: 616
    edited March 2022
    Having clay soil in my garden, I used to use a spade the first time when I had to remove the weeds from the entire garden. But I learned over the time that using a digging fork is much better. Just a tip: I removed all weeds without leaving a single one behind and since then, I have hardly any weed in my garden. It is as Alan Titchmarsh said, once done, you are 7 years free of weeds.
    What the planting concerns, check out where the sun raises and sets. Our garden is also on the north side, but gets full sunshine in the morning, afternoon and evening over the summer (May to September) that I had to take out the shady plants near the house as they suffered in the heat.

    I took this picture in 2018 to remind myself where the sun is over the year. I struggled a lot with the bed near the house.

    Our garden has changed totally since then and in particular since our neighbours cut the trees on the left and we removed the crazy growing shrubs at the end of the garden. I removed the lawn completely. It took more time to take care of the lawn per week than the beds over the entire summer.
    The plants in the shade are now moved to the fence on the west side and I have the task to fill the border.

    I my garden.

  • janinerjaniner Posts: 56
    @Athelas your garden is my dream garden! Its beautiful!

    Thank you for all those suggestions. I'll get googling and take time to see what happens with the perennials before doing too much damage.

    I also took pics of all the existing shrubs, so I'll put those up in the right discussion boards, when I get a chance later today.

    I'll be sure to post progress. Thank you everyone!
  • janinerjaniner Posts: 56
    To everyone that told me to hang fire on my new garden and see what comes up, thank you thank you!

    So far I have a huge magnolia bush, 2 x peonies, lillies, fucias,  gladioli, and 3 established roses. Im in awe so far. I have a few blanks to fill, but all in all, I think I lucked out with this garden. Thank you so much!
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,068
    :) Lucky you! It's obviously been loved by a previous owner.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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