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Front Garden/Driveway - From scratch

Hey everyone, we've recently moved to a new house which has space for a border on both sides of the driveway. Currently this is covered in stones, and I believe beneath the stones is some black mesh, then finally, soil.

If I gave pictures, and further information about our area, what we like/don't like etc is this the kind of place where I could discuss this and get some great ideas? - Not sure if this is what people tend to do here or not!

We intend to be in this house for many years, and rather than buying random stuff at garden places we think we should give this some careful consideration :)

Thanks in advance.
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  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,876
    Post some photos Rob and let us know roughly where you are - what the soil is like and how much sun the area will get and you'll get plenty of ideas :)
    Welcome to the forum
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • zugeniezugenie Posts: 632
    Absolutely, I would say pictures of the area, the sun levels, if it’s windy/sheltered etc, soil type/condition and some pictures of the sort of thing you’d like. Then you’ll probably be inundated with responses :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    Absolutely the place @rogers.rob :)
    How much time you have for maintenance, and your budget, are factors too, in making choices. You general climate as well - vast differences throughout the UK.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    Awesome - I can supply pictures and tonnes of detail on all of the above - I just didn't want to go into it if this was the sort of place people didn't really appreciate these sort of discussions :)

    I'll go take some pictures in the snow... !


  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    This is the bird's eye view from my top window, to give an idea. 

    I have another four to upload, however, they all rotated upon upload for some reason?! - How can I rotate them all 90 degrees clockwise?!

    Regarding position, we're on the outskirts of London, so South East. The front is East facing - was some sun on it as you can see in the picture, but this time of day the sun is directly over the house mostly.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,876
    Photos being rotated has been an ongoing problem on this site for a long time now.
    Apparently if you trim you photo a little it'll appear the right way round.
    I've not tried it tho
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    Okay, so it seems the slight edit trick mentioned in another thread works!

    In addition to the borders (more on these below), we'd like to have two pots either side where the bricks are, and possibly have something which climbs, which we could train around the arched bricks. This is sort of a side project to the border though..



    Back to the border..  This is the larger of the two, you can just see the black stuff poking out, and last week's good weather has kicked off some weed growth.

    This is the smaller narrower one.


    And lastly this is the view towards the house showing the main bay window we'd be looking out of. 
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    Right, so now you guys have a good idea what I'm dealing with, before it comes to the fun stuff (choosing beautiful plants!), the practical stuff. After getting rid of the stones, weeds and black stuff:

    Soil - will it be rubbish, and hence should it be fed, left to the elements before planting etc or will it be fine?

    Soil type - should I get a testing kit, or, are there other ways to tell the type and ph value of the soil I have?

    Once that's sorted and we have a nice based to work with I figure it's time to decide on plants.
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    Pete.8 said:
    Photos being rotated has been an ongoing problem on this site for a long time now.
    Apparently if you trim you photo a little it'll appear the right way round.
    I've not tried it tho
    Yeah I read that in the potting shed, load and behold it worked :) - Cheers. 
  • zugeniezugenie Posts: 632
    What sort of style do you like?

    I’m assuming being in london it will be clay soil? You’ll likely want to dig it over and incorporate some organic matter to break up the clumps if it is
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