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How to turn this dumping ground into gracious greenery...?

Hi All,

I've recently bought my first house, yay!  I have also acquired a rather large dump site that I assume at one stage used to be a garden (please see picture below).  I really don't have green fingers at all, or a lot of disposable cash at the moment.  I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to return the garden to former glory.  I ideally want a lawn and a place at the back to grow veggies.   I have a 10 month old who would really love to be able to crawl in the garden!

The front of the garden is sand, the middle is grass, there is a section of hardcore that acted as the foundation for a concrete base and the back seems to be mostly clay.

Any ideas on where to start would be most welcome, thanks!





  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    The sand is presumably where a patio has been taken off, and was originally put there to level the area to prep for the patio.  If you don't want a patio or decking, you may need to think about removing it, unless there is anyone who thinks it might improve the soil??  Ours here is quite sandy, so I wouldn't want any more and I'm not sure what kind of building sand is okay as a growing medium and what isn't.  The hardcore is presumably standing for a shed or greenhouse, again consider whether you would want to put one there, and if not, then a patio/deck - anything that would avoid taking it up, but if not, then you will have to take it up.  The soil may need aerating and improving before you start, as soil which has been beneath a patio or concrete base might not be all that great.  It's a good idea to think about your boundaries first - would some small trees or shrubs improve the view and give greater privacy?  Then work inwards with your design, but look at different path ideas - curved lines give a greater sense of space.  How you are going to walk through a garden often gives you a backbone for the design.  Don't spend much money until you are confident about your design ideas and time spent improving the soil will never be wasted - as you dig it over you will be looking around you and forming pictures in your head. 

  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..I won't give much advice as I'm not one to garden 'on the cheap' so to speak... so my advice wouldn't be of much use... but what I would like to say is that you have a simply fantastic plot there, with so much potential it's unreal.... ready made curves, a mysterious tapering round a corner at the far end... high fences... not too many houses overlooking... and a blank needs time, effort, flair and I'm afraid probably a fair bit of money if you want something other than grass... I do hope you are able to make something special out of it, in due course....  very best of luck...

  • Thank you for the replies!

    I think ultimately, we're not wanting to stay in this area for too long so putting lots of time and money into the garden would be daft.  I think I'd rather just lay a lawn over the whole thing if that is the simplest way of making the garden look more appealing.  

    Your comment about the hardcore has scared me Busy Bee,  I hope it's a little easier to get up that you think! :S

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 63,786

    I absolutely agree with Salino - what a fantastic plot!!!  It shouldn't be too difficult to prepare and seed a lawn at this top end to join on to the existing lawn - that will involve some work from you but not too much expense.  Then as Salino says some curving beds - clothe the fences with climbers and perhaps some espaliered or fan trained fruit bushes - a play area for the little one, somewhere secluded for you to sit out in the evening, screen the house at the end with a couple of pretty trees - you've got loads of space and so many options image

    Start learning now, beg cuttings from friends, buy herbaceous plants from stalls at garden gates - loads of them around if you go out into the countryside - it needn't cost that much if you do it like that - and later in the year lots of people on this forum swap/give seeds away image

    Even if you're not planning to stay long, a pretty garden can really bump up the sale price of a house - ask any estate agent.  image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    If you don't want to take up the concrete, you could use it for something else; a shed or raised beds or cover it with fake grass and a paddling pool? The more you improve the garden, the easier it will be to sell the house when you want to move onimage

    Good luck with it and show us some pics as the work proceedsimage

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    If you are not staying long, then find something to put on the hardcore to cover it up.  To take it up you might need to hire a suitable tool from the hire shop to break it up.  If you don't want to go there, mask it with a building of some sort.  A bit of height wouldn't go amiss in this garden.  Morrisons have trees at this time of year for less than a tenner, or at least have in previous years - haven't been there this year. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 63,786

    Can you design the garden around the area of hardcore so that it could be a BBQ area, with some nice planting around it? 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • It should be possible to do something simple but effective without sepnding a huge sum of money, especially if you want to move on in the future. I guess you need to decide how much your budget is, how much time you have to spend on gardening and what kind of look you are aiiming for. Places like Freecycle and Ebay could be good for getting bargains. Also asking neighbours, friends, etc for any unwanted items or cuttings off their plants/shrubs. A nice garden is always a good selling point ( personal opinion only here ), its extra living space in good weather. 

    Good luck with it and don't forget the before and after pics.

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