New to gardening and no idea where to start

Hi There

I honestly have no idea where to start with a garden.  Essentially it just looks straggly (is that a word) and not somewhere as a family we would want to spend time.  I am very keen to learn but do not even know where to start.  I have uploaded a picture which is a bit of a compilation



of different sections of the garden.  Can someone give me a starter or a point of resource please.  I feel a little overwhelmed with it all.  The pile of rubbish on the last pic is the weeds that I dug up last year - also there is a fallen tree in the garden image




  • higgy50higgy50 Posts: 184

    Hi G,

    What a great blank canvas you have and a fantastic opportunity to create something very special!

    I started a brand new garden four years ago and I mention this as it was very similar to yours but I did have an idea of what I wanted to create. I wanted to create a space that was wildlife friendly but also catered for all the family including my (now) 6yr old daughter. I also wanted to use recycled or reclaimed materials as much as I could within the garden.

    This makes me think that before you do anything you need to decide what you actually want out of the garden and who is going to use it?

    So what function(s) does the garden have to cater for? Wildlife, Children, an outside party space, growing vegetables etc etc??

    Sounds like a lot to decide but this will be key to how you start and continue to develop the garden. It also is a decision that needs to be made prior to any work in my opinion.

    Once you have decided what you want the garden to do get a piece of paper and a pencil and sketch what you want in the garden and where you think it should go. If unsure of planting certain plants then post questions on here as someone will be able to advise as you go along. It's also of interest to other gardeners to see a project develop from scratch.

    I am no expert by any means but I have been keeping a blog diary of my garden as I've developed it over the last four years (link below) You are welcome to have a look and see if anything is of interest or gives you ideas for your own plot. If you go into the Archived posts on the right hand side you can see how the garden looked prior to starting, which I think you will agree is in a similar condition to your patch! Some of the projects have also been posted up in a step by step guide with photographs that might also help you to see how certain projects and themes can be practically implemented?

    There are many very good blogs on line and by members on here so ask about or search google as they can be a good source of information and ideas of what others are doing.

    If anything is of interest on mine please feel free to drop me a personal message either on here or via my blog and I'd be more than happy to help further if I can.

    So in conclusion, I suggest decide what the garden needs to deliver for you and your family. Do some research to help and then get a plan down on paper. If you want the garden to deliver several different uses you can always divide it up into different areas if you want, or develop as one whole area, the world is your oyster as they say!.. Oh and keep asking questions as there's many people willing to help where they can!

    I watch with interest to see what you decide and how the garden develops!..



  • first ,pen to paper and try all sorts of shapes of paths and borders.Decide what type of garden you want ,plain and simple or more .Have a good seed catalogue book to look for plants you might like and suit your size garden .Then out and tidy that garden up ,clear rubbish, brush paths, helps to get you thinking right. If the weather to bad wait to dig those borders and place that path and don't forget that patio .Grass gives a fresh look  and flowers something to capture the Eye. keep it simple and don't plant anything too big for the garden you might regret but most of all get out and enjoy the garden what ever you do! good luck.image

  • Good advice so far.   How about drawing a figure of eight to immediately give shape to the garden?   If there is flat ground in a sunny spot, that will be ideal for your bench and tables.   Plant a pretty tree, e.g. Amelanchier where you can see it from the house, and underplant with evergreens and long-flowering perennials.   Good luck!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,239

     Hi Gulliver, welcome.

    You'll probably want to do something about that pond. It's never going to fit in with anything stuck out there and you won't get the frogs/toads/newts in a raised pond. There may be insect (eg dragonfly/water beetle) larvae in there though so rescue them to a place of safety if you dismantle their home.

    The fallen tree could be sawn up to make a woodpile for all sorts of exciting things to live in


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,122

    Firstly I would try to have an idea of what sort of garden you want.

    Do you have kids? If so do they need an area to play in?

    Find the orientation of the garden.

    Do a soil ph test.

    Then section the garden in a plan, and take it one step at a time doing your clearance first ,getting rid of the fallen tree and anything you dont want in the garden first.

    If you do it stage by stage, it becomes a lot easier, as results soon appear and give you encouragement to continue to the next stage.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,675

    My favourite piece of advice to new gardeners is to go and visit as many gardens as you can - take a camera, photograph all the 'scenes' 'patches' 'plots' that you like and come home and see if you could adapt some of them to fit into the space you've got and your lifestyle - decide whether you like Cottage style, or something more formal - do you want borders around the edges and grass in the middle, or would meandering paths  amidst island beds of herbaceous perennials be more your style.  

    There's no real need to go out in the horrid weather that we've got now, so maybe look online, in magazines and in books - visit the public library - they've usually got loads of books on garden design and decide what you do want and more importantly, what you don't want image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • I had to start mine 13yrs ago, still not finished as it takes time and money.  I used the library and internet for inspiration.  I also sat in my garden and just looked to see what I could do with it, as I have four different sections.  You can get a lot out of just sitting and trying to imagine what you want and what would look great where.  To save money buy seeds from Ebay and try and grow your own,  take cutting from friends and family's plants.  Good luck with what you are going to do, but the main thing is look at it as a joy of something to come, not as a chore.  I never liked gardening before I did mine, now cannot get enough, helps with stress and you can watch it develop as you go, do not be in a hurry.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,239

    Susan's post reminds me. We swap seeds on the forum. Don't worry if you've nothing to swap, an SAE will be OK. Not a lot going on at the moment though.

  • higgy50higgy50 Posts: 184

    Thanks nutcutlet, I didn't know that! Where on the forum is the seed swap?

    I have a load of packets of seed that might be of use to someone - Maybe of use to you Gulliver to help get you started?? (once you decide what you want to grow or even to experiment with in the first instance?)



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