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Island beds - pros and cons, your thoughts please!

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  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,973
    My choice would be a labrador @Joyce Goldenlily, they're more interested in the kitchen than the garden!!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,303
    I'm off out for a walk @Plantminded, but I'll have a think when I'm doing it  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Fine if you are big enough and strong enough to cope with a dog that size. I am neither. It is not only labs whose brains are tied to food and the kitchen.
    It took me 7 years of quietly looking for a pal and unbelievably, found him on Gumtree being privately advertised. I couldn't get a dog through the RSPCA because my garden has no fences, have Cornish banks, or at that time, gates.
    Rob had been taken by a couple and returned 24 hrs later because he was too boisterous. I think it was because he chased their chickens! He has had a few wonderful episodes of chasing my previous and current neighbours chickens when they have dared to come into my garden.
    My previous dogs have always been scruffy mongrels, or terribly well bred Heinz 57's as I called them, so Rob fits the bill perfectly, and his eyes! Oh my! We have been together for 6 years now and everyone says he is a totally different dog to the one I brought home. I think that is a compliment. He has been wonderful from day one, easily trained etc. But he does like to shovel dirt with his face!!
    A labrador can dig very large holes.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,973
    He sounds like a lovely dog and companion @Joyce Goldenlily, well tamed by a patient owner!  Good to see that the weather's warming up now for you to enjoy your walks together!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,258
    Has any one managed to get a dog to dig holes on command, in the correct place?
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,002
    I managed to train my late highly intelligent Border Collie not to dig holes in the garden or poo on the lawn. But the house I had then had some wild bits, a paddock and was surrounded by woods so he had other options.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • WAMSWAMS Posts: 1,258
    Yes... my one-year-old border collie will now dig holes on command. Very useful! They're wonderful dogs.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,303
    I'd go with @Dovefromabove's suggestion on Page 3, re the shape of the lawn. It's always better to have the grass as a foil to the plants, and as she rightly says, that one colour [the grass] can then work with the planting rather than the eye constantly being diverted by random bits around beds. 
    If you're making your bed on the right wider, to work with the patio section, and you're having it edged in a straight line, then a rectangular, geometric lawn would probably be the way to go. The section of grass that disappears - over to the back left, could either be left or made into a proper paved path, depending on how you feel about and where it leads. Squaring up the grass will also give you extra planting scope.
    If you had twice the depth of space, you could have run a border across the space [right to left] echoing the back one. If there was a slope in one direction, you could have had the new one going the opposite way. An old design trick which mimics the natural landscape, especially when there's a borrowed landscape as well. 
    Unfortunately, you don't have that luxury  ;)

    Re that little section at the patio - is that the only spot you'd use to access the lawn, and is there a drop from the patio? I'd be tempted to pave it [and making a step] the same as the patio, which would then also give you the straight line across the lawn, left to right, joining the two borders.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,973
    Thank you very much @Fairygirl for your thoughts, that's very helpful and makes total sense.  The shape of the lawn was defined by the previous owner around the contour of the sloping bank and bed of sandstone which runs beneath the lawn and under the house. There's two access points to the lawn, one from the patio and another on the back left coming up from the lower part of the garden which I use to carry my lawn mower up and other equipment.  This gives another irregular shape to the lawn.  I'm going to think about making the lawn rectangular once I've extended that bed on the right.  Good to have a project, watch this space!  Hope you had a good walk, thanks again.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • LG_ said:
    My two penn'orth is that I would either leave it, or forget the idea of a lawn entirely and make the grass into paths (ie form the island bed shape by thinking of paths around it, rather than an island in the lawn).
    This is my intention once the kids are old enough to b***er off to the park themselves instead of using our lawn  as a football pitch. Going to have paths run alongside the beds which will create a tear drop “island” edged by existing beds and meadow area. It’s a way off so no idea what will end up in it but I think raised in the centre is the way but that will create a north and a south side due to the aspect of the garden.
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