Shaded back of the garden
dbhattuk Posts: 106
The very back of the garden needs a complete make over. The area is about 10 m wide and 7 m in length, I am only talking about very end of the garden. I have tree at back and next door has conifers and a massive eucalyptus. The garden is north facing in London. Gets some sunlight but not much. Currently needs a clearance done with old tree branches and leaves plus weeds everywhere (I will need to find someone to do the job for me). The whole width of garden has a concrete base (10m x 5m), I believe the previous owners had some out buildings, I also have bare patch with no grass, nothing grows there, i too have a tree. I have no idea what to do at the back. Not much light, leaves falling all the time, big chunk covered in concrete, bare patch where nothing grows. I suspect the tree I have and next doors eucalyptus sucks up all the moisture. Sadly whatever I have to do must be on a limited budget, pension can only go so far. Any thought and ideas would be welcomed, looking for low maintenance, happy to have some container plants but not sure what else I can do. Thank you very much.
Perhaps a nice shady seating area? Is there birdlife in those trees? It can be very pleasant just to sit and listen...
I do sympathise. One neighbour has massive conifers and they do block out a lot of sun all year round, a bit obnoxious for a terraced garden IMO... but I also enjoy their shade at the height of summer and I enjoy watching the birds go in and out of them. You just have to try to see the good side in the bits you can't control, I suppose...
Unless your tree is protected you can always get someone in to cut it down. That will give you more options.
You can cut off the conifer branches that are overhanging your garden, but always best to have a chat with neighbour first.
If budget allows you could always plant some woodland and shade loving plants in that corner, like dryopteris ferns, some hardy geraniums like Phaeum and Macrorrhizum, Brunnera Jack Frost. Look up plants for dry shade.
A storage area for a small shed, or the aforementioned leaf bins or compost bins, would work, and if you could stretch to a simple screen between that area and a bit that does have soil, you can have a climber on that for a bit of colour.
Dry shade can always be quite difficult, but if you take a look at this site, you might get some ideas
You may find a small raised bed in that bit will give you a bit more scope if you add plenty of organic material, or just fresh topsoil, and it would then be easier for plants to establish, and thrive.
Re birds, as @WhereAreMySecateurs mentions - a little area for feeders and a bird bath would be nice, and provides lots of enjoyment.
I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Good luck with your project, try not to be daunted but just do one bit at a time as and when time and budget allow.
Aquilegias seem do to well, I grew them in pots from seed which costs next to nothing then planted them out. Don't expect much in the first year, but 2nd year they're huge and flowering beautifully. Epimedium too - buying them small can be quite cost effective but don't expect much in the first year. Also I found forget-me-nots flower nicely in dry shade (again, seeds with flowers in Y2) but then quickly become mildewy as the flowers go over where it's dry (just let them seed then pull them up), and certain geraniums. Dog-tooth violets (erythronium) do fine too.
Finally ferns - someone sent you a link to plantsforshade - they advise what's good for dry shade. I've ordered from them - they're good, don't be disappointed if the ferns stay quite small in year 1 - they shoot up nicely in y2.. you need to keep watering them until they're established then you can just leave them alone.