New to gardening-need help!


I'm new to this gardening lark and need advice please! I've just moved into a house with a backyard - and it is just that...a yard. So I'm looking to brighten it up with some tubs, hanging baskets, whatever I can really. So we're in July now, is there anything I can do now to make a start in transforming it? I'm also thinking about getting some growbags and maybe try to grow some veg, any ideas?

I would appreciate any advice anyone can throw my way! Thanks. 


  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    Depending on your area, many garden centres still have planted-up hanging baskets for sale - those would brighten up your yard immediately. You will may also find that they still have fuchsias and begonias, which can both grow in tubs for the summer; they are also likely to have Shasta daisies, coreopsis and rudbeckia, that will keep flowering into the autumn.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,755

    One of the first things you need to find out is how much sun your little yard gets.  Which way does it face?  Where does the sun rise and set?  Are you surrounded by high buildings or trees which will cast shadows in the spring and autumn?  

    You need to know these things so that you know where you can plant your sun-lovers and where the plants that need shade will like it best.

    I think the first thing I'd do to cheer it up is buy a few pretty pelargoniums (what used to be called geraniums) in pots and put them by your back door step to make you smile as you go in and out.  They'll need to live indoors in the winter, but that's ages away.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • Hello fabulousemmalina:  the best advice is - make haste slowly!  When you first move to a new garden, be it large or small, you need to spend some time appraising it, seeing how much natural light you get, whether or not you have a microclimate, and also checking soil conditions.

    It would seem that you have little natural soil available, so are thinking more about tubs and troughs etc.  It is very late in the season to start, so unless you want to invest in a few "quick fixes" for colour, which will be expensive and may be wasted effort, you may be better off observing what you have, and gradually making plans.

    You say you have a "yard".  How big is it?  Where are you located?  Do you know which direction your yard faces?  It may be that you will be lucky enough to create a mediterranean feel.  But if it's north facing for example, you will have to deal with much more shade, which will restrict the plants that are possible to grow.

    Let us know on the forum some of the basics, and we'll see if we can help.  Doubtless there will be differences of opinion and of suggestions - but I'm sure some of the people who post here are extremely well informed and can give invaluable help.


  • TheSlothTheSloth Posts: 31

    Hi Fab. When you do your hanging baskets, don't limit yourself to flowers. I have planted up baskets on my allotment this year with trailing tomatoes called Garden Pearl, filled out with salad leaves and they're actually doing better than the flowery ones. That way you get some veggies in a small space plus some interesting (and useful) hanging baskets. Good luck! 

  • titanhqtitanhq Posts: 1

    I'm in the same situation, with only having a small yard I have many pots everythere! I find strawberrys are one of the easiest things to grow with such limited space, as they grow well in pots - but must be kept well watered and fed with liquid feed weekly, and they produce both lovely white flowers and delicious strawberrys! They are also produce more plants easily with both runners and seeds, and even the plants themselves can be split, so do pay for themselves.

    I did manage to grow sweetcorn once in a very large pot! and potatoes too, but I found these took up far too much space. I have an allotment for these, which sadly has been turned into a lake with all the rain we've had, and the weeds and slugs love it! image


  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    I noticed in this weeks What to do now that there was a load of veg to be sown, look here.


  • Thanks everyone. Here's a few basics about the yard. 

    -The yard is north facing

    -surrounded by 6 foot fence 

    -about 8m long

    -shed and wheelie bins on the left 

    -appears to get morning sun directed on the right of the yard

    I also have the problem of a corgi which is likely to nibble on things. I have acquired a patio rose and a hanging basket with fushias. There are already a few tubs/troughs with fushias (no flowers) in them too and also some parsley & chives. Everything is out of the way on a table or a crate, and I also got an iron and wood bench from freecycle. 

    I can put some pictures up to give a better idea. 

  • image

     Excuse the storage tubs, waiting for it to stop raining so I can clean them and put them away!

  • TheSlothTheSloth Posts: 31

    With such high fences a vertical garden would look great. Lots of pots on the fence full of trailing plants and veg, salads and grasses. There was one on gardeners world a couple of weeks ago at a show but can't remember which one. Google will know image

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    If you hang things from fence you need to establish who owns the fence first

    and that it can take the weight-bearing in mind you need something put onto the fence to support whatever it is.

    As for flowering plants you need something that will tolerate mostly shade-begonias instantly come to mind but there are plenty of others

    As for vegetables you may struggle in that situation from lack of sunlight-and they are high maintenance-you haven' t got a lot of space -what did you have in mind?-what do you like?

  • I think I'm more keen to get some colour in the garden, so would like to focus on flowers/shrubs, but am very keen to get some herbs going too. 

    In regards to what I can do now, is there any seeds/bulbs I could plant now for next year?  For things like lavender and herbs, maybe rosemary/thyme/mint, would I be best buying a plant and transferring it to a tub or growing from seed? I'm a complete novice to this so apologies for the lack of knowledge. I really appreciate all your advice. 

    I'd like some colour all year round so maybe there is a shrub  that would be ideal for autumn/winter colour that could be grown in a tub?

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    Get yourself some good sized containers and around August/September -spring bulbs like daffodils tulips,hyacinths will start appearing in the stores

    Take a trip to a garden centre,Homebase or B& Q they will have some plants on sale now -you might even pick up some bargains.

    If you can get to car boot sale there are usually plant sellers

    It depends on what conditions you can provide for raising plants from seed -it is the cheapest option-some are easier than others

    Lavender like a sunny spot -grow it in a container -you can increase stock by taking cuttings

    If you can get hold of some mint that will just romp away

    July is not really the time to start a garden- in theory we should be lazing in ours- all the hard work is done in the springtime-by now it should be growingimage

    Just keep asking -we all love a projectimage

  • gardengirl6gardengirl6 Posts: 223

    Don't forget that small trees can be grown in pots too, and will give your garden some height and help cover those fences.

  • Well - you like to set a challenge, don't you?!!!  The north-facing aspect will be limiting, but not unsurmountable.  I like the suggestions given by others, but will again suggest you make haste slowly.

    With regard to herbs - just check where they come from originally.  Mediterranean herbs are unlikely to thrive in your conditions.  You need hardier plants that will respond to the reduced light levels.  We'll put our collective thinking caps on for the future, but for now, I think you could perhaps go with the suggestions for instant results from the GC with ready-planted hanging baskets, and then plan for next year.  It won't be long before the spring bulbs are available - and they are always cheerful additions to the garden after winter!

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    Not a planting suggestion- there are so many excellent ideas already suggested- but painting the fence in a lighter colour, and maybe putting a couple of strategically placed garden safe mirrors about could help with the amount of available light.

    OK, one planting suggestion...Acer Senkaki does well in a container, and though deciduous, has wonderful coral red bark that glows in the winter.
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