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Absolute novice needing advice for 2 areas please 😊



I have fully caught the gardening bug! However I am a complete beginner but really want to sort both my front garden and an area of my back garden out. 

Hopefully the pics have attached. We don’t have much of a front garden but I would really like to move the cordylines to the back and have some lovely colours at the front, just make it generally a lot prettier and not as ‘hard’ looking. What plants/flowers should I look out for?

At the back we had a patio put down last year and a pergola and as the garden goes slightly downwards we tried to do something with the far corner but it didn’t go to plan so we now have the area pictured above. I’ve bought a cherry blossom tree and jasmine and am hoping to transform it to be honest. My partner hates even looking at it because it didn’t go as planned. So I guess I just wonder what would u do? I’m hoping plants/flowers can really change the look of it but I’m also not sure where to begin. I’m not bothered about having furniture in it or the gravel I just want it to look as lovely as it can.Thankyou for reading all this!

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  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,992
    Hello Lucy  :)
    First of all, are the front and back gardens sunny or shady ? 
  • LuceeLucee Posts: 18
     AnniD said:
    Hello Lucy  :)
    First of all, are the front and back gardens sunny or shady ? 
    The back is south west facing and sunny for the majority of the day, the front is shaded after lunch time 😊
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    For the front I think you need something of a reasonable size and quite tough because you don't have a fence between your garden and the footpath. Small delicate things will probably get walked on by passers by and their dogs. Maybe roses? Perhaps interplanted with something like hardy geraniums, and spring bulbs (daffodils, crocuses etc) for early colour.
  • LuceeLucee Posts: 18
    JennyJ said:
    For the front I think you need something of a reasonable size and quite tough because you don't have a fence between your garden and the footpath. Small delicate things will probably get walked on by passers by and their dogs. Maybe roses? Perhaps interplanted with something like hardy geraniums, and spring bulbs (daffodils, crocuses etc) for early colour.
    Thankyou 😀 would I need to get rid of the gravel for those? Sorry I know a very basic question! Do u think it would look better just soil in the border? 
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    For myself I don't like gravel because you can't add an annual mulch of organic matter and you're limited to liquid feed, and I'm not over keen on the look either, but everyone's taste is different. You said you wanted pretty and I think gravel doesn't do that, but that's just my view. You can scrape the gravel off to plant and then put it back if you like, but I think a better approach would be to take it off, and dig in some organic matter if the soil needs it before you plant. If there's a membrane under the gravel the soil's likely to be in fairly poor condition underneath it. Maybe see what other people suggest though.
  • LuceeLucee Posts: 18
    JennyJ said:
    For myself I don't like gravel because you can't add an annual mulch of organic matter and you're limited to liquid feed, and I'm not over keen on the look either, but everyone's taste is different. You said you wanted pretty and I think gravel doesn't do that, but that's just my view. You can scrape the gravel off to plant and then put it back if you like, but I think a better approach would be to take it off, and dig in some organic matter if the soil needs it before you plant. If there's a membrane under the gravel the soil's likely to be in fairly poor condition underneath it. Maybe see what other people suggest though.
    Thank you 😊 
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,992
    Looking at your neighbour's planting (possibly put in by the developers), there seem to be a lot of low growing evergreen shrubs, possibly hebes or euonymus. I often suggest something like a low growing Nandina but it depends on how exposed the area is, sometimes on an estate you can get a wind tunnel effect. 
    I agree about getting rid of the gravel and preparing the area, you might want to extend it a little if the pavement footings are a problem.
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    edited April 2022


    It looks like you've got some good bones at the back. You may want some small trees to increase privacy and make form some deep borders for growing. It seems that maybe the problem so far  is scaling up - hedging, trees and borders. New build gardens often have no great garden soil, so you may need to improve it, but it's worth digging down and seeing what you've got.

    "My partner hates even looking at it because it didn’t go as planned."

    Ah, gardening takes a lot of patience and experimenting. Garden shows can give the impression that it can all happen over night, but it's often the (frustrating) work of years - to work out what you like, don't like, long for and what is practical.

     It looks like you've bought some climbers...
  • LuceeLucee Posts: 18
    Fire said:


    It looks like you've got some good bones at the back. You may want some small trees to increase privacy and make form some deep borders for growing. It seems that maybe the problem so far  is scaling up - hedging, trees and borders. New build gardens often have no great garden soil, so you may need to improve it, but it's worth digging down and seeing what you've got.

    "My partner hates even looking at it because it didn’t go as planned."

    Ah, gardening takes a lot of patience and experimenting. Garden shows can give the impression that it can all happen over night, but it's often the (frustrating) work of years - to work out what you like, don't like, long for and what is practical.

     It looks like you've bought some climbers...
    Sorry I didn’t really explain it very well, it’s the actual area he doesn’t like because it was meant to be a step down into a small patio but it ended up being same level as the grass so it’s like a random patio with a circle in the corner of the garden 🤣 abit pointless!  With the help of my mil we dug out borders last year so I’m really pleased with those and yes you’re right the soil is painfully poor! So would u put more than one tree in that corner? I’ve bought climbers hoping to just make it look prettier as I really enjoy the rest of the garden now we’ve put work into it but not the pointless corner🤦🏼‍♀️ So I thought climbers, lots of pots, and the tree but that doesn’t seem enough? Open to any suggestions 😊
  • LuceeLucee Posts: 18
    AnniD said:
    Looking at your neighbour's planting (possibly put in by the developers), there seem to be a lot of low growing evergreen shrubs, possibly hebes or euonymus. I often suggest something like a low growing Nandina but it depends on how exposed the area is, sometimes on an estate you can get a wind tunnel effect. 
    I agree about getting rid of the gravel and preparing the area, you might want to extend it a little if the pavement footings are a problem.
    Thank you, ok the gravel may need to go! I’ll have a look at those thank you. I like the idea of roses too, i just don’t have a massive budget 🤔
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