any thoughts for long thin stretch next to driveway?




Hello garden lovers, I am currently revamping the garden of the house that my husband and I have moved into. There is one stretch of it though that we're quite stuck with! It runs alongside the house and driveway, is north-facing (gets a little sunshine in the morning and afternoon from end of March through to beginning of October). We live in the north of Italy, close to the lakes. At the moment, it is a rather randomly planted long stretch of grass with a couple of Japanese maples and little else going on. Our thoughts were to make it a little formal (seeing as it's also north facing and it gets very dry in the summer with temperatures up to 35C and the winters here are very cold, at night down to -10C). I was thinking to get rid of current planting and plant maybe a line of needle cypress/junipers (the variety that doesn't grow too big, any suggestions?) along the driveway bit, but then what to do with the rest? I was also thinking of planting lavender underneath the current trimmed hedge but doubt it would thrive in such a position... I want to keep as easy Mediterranean clean look. Any suggestions? we're scratching our heads here! see photos to see what I mean image thank you all! 


  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Yes, I'll bump it too; it is an interesting problem; I'm sure that someone will be able to helpimage

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,871

    I think if you're going to have a line of those narrow cypress or junipers, then that's all you should have - it would look really stylish and elegant - less is more.  

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • I agree with dove... What do other people have in their gardens... Not to copy but to see what grows well.....

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 849

    What direction does the area face, north/south etc?

    That could be a lovely long border. Maybe a narrow paved path up against the hedge to help with cutting it and sweeping up the cuttings, and then turn the rest to soil, dig over and fill with plants, taller ones to the rear and smaller ones to the front.  The path will be hidden from view by the plants in front. Google image 'long borders' and you will see what I mean.

    Something like this..





  • DaintinessDaintiness Posts: 949

    I'm thinking along the same lines as Dove but wondering if there are any bulbs you could under plant with to give seasonal interest. Looking around the natural landscape and in other people's gardens where you live - can you see what bulbs or low growing ground cover plants that  thrive and do well?

  • lulustarlulustar Posts: 9
    Thank you for all your repliesso far! Lead farmer, thank you but making such a border here would mean extensive irrigation in the summer due to heat. Plus it's north facing so not sure it's ideal really, as much as I would love a nice long border like that!

    As for bulbs, the usual daffodils, crocus, tulips etc all thrive here. The problem with planting them in grass here is that it gets warm very early in the season and having long grass means having LOTS of mosquitoes, which is a nightmare.

    Other gardens here tend to be very boring as there isn't a big culture for gardening (which is surprising, but this is changing slowly). I love hydrangeas too but it would look awful in the winter with all those bare branches! I have a feeling that clean ad formal is the way to go as it's also not much of a "usable" part of the garden.

    The soil isn't acidic so not good for rhododendrons or azaleas (which I'm not too keen on anyway).

    Any how any thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated!
  • How about some large shrubs alternated in a line.

    I have seen some gardens (and Im going to do the same in an area like yours).

    You pick two or three largeish shrubs in colours you like and alternate them, say, purple white pink purple white pink, all the way along. It looks really effective and you might not need as many as you think and there would still be some room for your bulbs.

  • alpine plants


    palm trees


  • PerkiPerki Posts: 1,096

    Them shrubs in the middle of the lawn look out of place, they look like they been plonked in. I dig them out.

    Seen as you dont want any plants what will look ugly in the winter months why dont you try annuals. compost them in the winter. 

    you could try roses instead of annuals or both. I use mainly Red i dont know why but i think it look best

    I would dig a straight border next to the drive all the way up. add some shade annuals bussy lizzies. I would personal go for wax begonias they have a Mediterranean look.

    I would then add some height to the middle of the lawn cutting another border quite wide from the shrub edge to the newly dug border ( you will have 2 little lawns then ). I love Magnolias but you could look at some tall Grasses - acer or any other shrub etc you like. Or you can try your hands at a bit of topiary image

    Or you could move all this to the other end i cant see if you got anything or not.

    I cant help think how good and exotic kniphofia ( red hot poker ) would look there, but i dont think it will do to well though

    I cut any border in a straight line.

    That all i am going to say for now, i can image it but struggle to write it down image

    I hope this has give you some ideas cause it took me ages to write image

  • lulustarlulustar Posts: 9
    Thank you these are all good ideas hmmmm now I have to think and see which idea is the best! Thank you all so much image
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