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I've been wanting to remove a front and back lawn for quite a while now. My front lawn is north-east facing and always a struggle to keep healthy- although it is bordered with a lot of happy healthy shrubs, established plants etc. The rear is South-west and quite large and on a hill. 

I am not a novice at gardening, but think this will be quite a large undertaking. 

My plan is to remove the lawns entirely and completely fill the space with plants. I currently have borders packed and mixed with plants, and a side garden the same, however these have established over many years. 

I will need to ensure there is a path and access, especially in the back garden. I don't want it to be a jungle, but a natural looking garden that whilst needing maintenance, can also manage on its own. 

I guess what I was needing the real help with was: is there a rule on how to decide on plants? I don't want it to be just soil in winter. It's a blank canvas at the moment aside from the lawn - so when I begin I want to do some planning e.g. bulb planting, path layout, shrubs high and low. Perhaps something which will trail across the ground, but not lawn, but can manage some level of walking over. 

For the rear South/West garden are there trees I can plant that won't grow huge, and root systems are fairly contained? 

Would there be shrubs/plants etc which will work well together, and not fight. I'm a big fan of grasses. I love Alliums, wallflowers, dahlias and ferns. Not fussed about different colours put against each other, as like it as natural as possible. I also want to take the opportunity to get a few insect 'houses' put in there.

I know plants are very forgiving but don't want to make a big no-no, and want to lessen the chance of that before I get started. 

Any help, thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!



  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,686
    So hard to answer without seeing a picture, but in general I think you want some sort of a path system to be able to get into the planting, for maintenance and enjoyment. Could be just gravel or even bark. Evergreen shrubs can then be strategically placed as punctuations along these paths - blob shaped Hebes or Pittosporum 'Golf Ball' in ones and threes for example. Small trees or large "tree like" shrubs can give year round interest and structure, even if deciduous. There are options for any size of garden - from dwarf Japanese maples to crab apples etc - but without a picture, hard to advise! 
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • That’s great Thankyou. I will add a few pictures to give an idea. 

    I think I tried Japanese maples in the past- not sure if I don’t have the correct soil- as over several years it never grew and seemed to really struggle- south/west facing. 

    Are there any fruit trees maybe that would be fairly small? Im just thinking of dotting a few to add further interest and some higher points for the birds etc 

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,686
    Looking at garden designers on Instagram is always useful, especially what they do in their own gardens:
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • Yeah that’s amazing Thankyou. I don’t have instagram but sure I could Google some gardens 
  • This is the front. 

  • This is also front. Sorry it’s on it’s side 🤯
  • Back
  • Basically that last pic- the garden is that again on the other side of the centra path- so the long lawn is doubled up on the other side with a border. 
  • FireFire Posts: 18,963
    I recommend getting some garden design mags too - lots of second hand ones are cheap on Ebay - to get ideas for the look you are going for, plant combinations... 
    I'm a fan of "growing what you love".

    Where in the country are you? You might want to think about drought tolerance and your water capacity in your location looking to the future.
    If "naturescaping" includes wildlife friendliness then that brings in another lens for choosing plants.
    Do you want to add a pond, bench, arch etc? If so, maybe good to think of those practical aspects first and build a scheme around them.
     What kind of heights are you envisaging? It can be interesting to think of garden layers - canopy, mid layer, low growing so  you structure the garden for the various heights and one layer supports the others.
    Do you want to eat anything you are going to plant? 

    Just some questions to mull....
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,686
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
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