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Eclectic mix ...

Hello :) 

I've recently inherited an 160²m 'garden' & want to bring it to life. 

Many years ago it was 2 thirds well tended lawn and 1 third veg patch. 

Since then, the house was abandoned and it all went wild. 

Now, it has all been cut back and a chap came and gave it 2 good cuts before winter and is due back to start cutting soon (is it too soon? Especially to be bug friendly?) 

It's a bit uneven, lumpy and bumpy with bare patches and large areas of thistles! 

We are fortunate that most of the garden gets sun pretty much all day and after reading another reply, I need to work out what type of soil I'm dealing with... 

I've planted some fruit trees - 2 cooking apple, 1 eating and juicing and 1 pear tree.
Some roses, a eucalyptus and some random £1 bargains from Homebase. 

I don't like the over stylised garden look but I also don't want it to look like Steptoes yard 'eclectic' ... I'd like relaxed but cohesive if that makes any sense? 

I'd like to have some raised beds to grow veg and flowers for cutting. 

I'd live a wildlife friendly bit too (we have hedgehogs and some big frogs/toads (though no pond anywhere, could I make one?) 

I have a daughter who is disabled following a Stroke at 13 and my children and I all have Ehlers Danlos syndrome so any very heavy work isn't for us and I don't have a husband or extended family to help. So, no lazy but restricted. 

As yet, we don't even have a shed! And my goodness, they're not cheap are they! 

I like a garden centre bargain and to repurpose things that look beautiful if possible. 

Give me all your top tips ❤️ 
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Posts

  • B3B3 Posts: 27,292
    Can't help you but I have blank canvas envy😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,576
    You can cut the grass now but on a high setting - it doesn't grow if the temperature's under 8⁰c, so just give it a top cut if you want it tidy.
    You can dig the thistles out, or leave some for wildlife, they're good plants to have in a garden, and I think the flowers are really pretty.
    You can get a second hand shed cheap, my last one was dismantled and we borrowed a friend's trailer (although a few people offer to deliver). Butter up your friends/neighbours who could do the hard graft for you. 😉 It doesn't take long to put a shed up for anyone handy with DIY. If money's tight, offer them dinner/a few pints/a barbecue when it's warmer.
    Lumps and bumps can be rollered, levelled by hand, or lifted with a spade and soil added. 
    Yes you can make a pond - you really need to find someone who will do all the digging for your projects - choose a spot which gets plenty of sunshine and isn't too near trees or shrubs if possible, or you'll be scooping leaves out come autumn. There's also the option of a preformed pond - though more expensive than a dug out one, and you'd need to bank at least half the sides for wildlife and aesthetics. 
    Raised beds are easy to make, keep in mind there's more shovelling to fill them.
    Don't set a time limit - decide on your priorities and get the most basic and important things in place, then you can take as long as you need to pull it all together - there's a good opportunity there to change your ideas or tweak your plans once you see how it all looks.
    You've got a nice sized blank canvas there, it'll be very satisfying to get it looking how you want it. 😊
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,415
    One thing that you could do for wildlife at pretty much no cost and little effort is  a "no-mow" lawn,  just mow paths through it and maybe an area for sitting out/ children to play so that it looks intentional rather than neglected, and see what appears. Make sure to keep clear areas of soil around your trees and shrubs, either individual circles or a border (I can't really see where they are in the picture)..
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • clematisdorsetclematisdorset Posts: 1,181
    B3 said:
    Can't help you but I have blank canvas envy😊
    Me too! I don't know much, but can empathise with not being in the position to do heavy work. On the other hand, I wished I had put in raised beds when I was fitter, because it can make things easier in due course. ( I would have had to get someone to help do this). Is that the sun in the morning or evening? I am guessing west-facing?  :)
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,576
    edited March 2023
    On the other hand, I wished I had put in raised beds when I was fitter, because it can make things easier in due course. 
    I've fallen off/over mine a few times. 😄 
  • Wow thats alot of space, the children must be excited to play in it.
    Maybe focus on a couple of areas to make it more enjoyable this summer, especially if you have limited mobility and then some more next year.
    I tend to get carried away and it all ends up half done as I can't manage it all.
    If you can't afford a shed or put one up, what about the plastic storage boxes, can put some tools in there and shoud be lightweight to get into the garden.

  • clematisdorsetclematisdorset Posts: 1,181
    Slow-worm said:
    On the other hand, I wished I had put in raised beds when I was fitter, because it can make things easier in due course. 
    I've fallen off/over mine a few times. 😄 
    Oh no, were they set at an awkward height,  or something else?!  :D ...they are meant to make life easier. I like the designs that you can use as a perch, or to put tools or cups/plates on, for a garden picnic etc.
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,415
    Is there a drop from the paved area to the grass at the other side of the low fence? If there is (I can't quite tell from the picture) you could, if budget/labour availability permit, build a bed along there that would be level with the paving but raised from the other side. Or maybe two sections with steps in the middle, keeping the level access at the side for wheelchair access if anyone in your family needs that. Then you could have planting instead of the fence which visually cuts off the patio from the rest of the garden (I guess it's to stop children falling off the edge).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • clematisdorsetclematisdorset Posts: 1,181
    Just another thought. Now could be a good time to identify where you think the more sheltered areas of the garden are. For instance, is your sheltered area near the house? Can you follow the sun and see where it is at key parts of the day (for me, breakfast, lunch & supper times). Maybe you could earmark those areas for particular activities. The other thing connected to this is to find out if you have any areas where the cold wind rushes in. Maybe you might wish to  start a shelter-belt with evergreens. For instance, Cherry Laurel / Prunus laurocerasus is quite tough. It has lovely shiny big oval leaves and in time, develops white candle-like flowers which fruit in autumn (attractive to wildlife, insects, birds). Cherry Laurel grows quite quickly and can be pruned if necessary but in your big space, you might not need to do so. Roll on better weather!  :)
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • Thank you for all your responses!  <3

    I posted my initial bit and then spent the last few days with the lurgy so my apologies for the slow replies! 

    No little children to enjoy the garden, my youngest are my 14 year old son - though they are looking forward to having a swing! As soon as I can find one that's suitable and find someone to put it up and postcrete it in. 

    Someone who is enjoying playing out there very much is my 2 dogs though! They've never been happier, the big one, a 10 year old labradoodle is like a spring lamb when we go out there every morning. 

    I've got a chap who comes to mow for me for a fee and he's nice but a little ... pushy/bossy. We have 2 corners where the leaves from overhanging trees have fallen and I'd like to leave them as is until anything overwintering in there has done their thing but, he's not keen. 

    We had a funny week weather wise here, nearly a foot of snow last Thurs/Fri and then 14 degrees yesterday! 

    I've bought a big notebook for all the plans and to make notes... 

    @JennyJ There is a quite substantial drop the other side of the patio fence! A few feet-ish ... I bought some £1 bargains from a garden centre back in September that I've planted along there, some roses and a Ceanothus Repens, a Heliborus Merlin which are all doing okay and  a eucalyptus Gunni to the side panel.

    @clematisdorset that photo was taken at 4.19pm on Feb 25th this year. 
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