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My garden is a jungle

Where do I start? I have recently moved into a new house with a large garden. The garden is completely overgrown with grass and brambles up to my waist. The soil has lots of cracks and holes appearing all over the place and I can feel myself sinking when I stand on the so called 'lawn' area. 

Any advice on where on earth I begin and which types of tools are best, would be greatly received 

From a very daunted parent :-/

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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,050

    Can you post some pix Donna? The tree icon on the toolbar above the posting window is where to do that. 

    I'm assuming the soil could be clay if it's cracking - it bakes solid in hot dry weather and cracks appear, and when it's wet, it's soggy! The good news is that it's very fertile and once you get some well rotted manure and grit dug into it, you can grow loads of plants if that's what you want to do.

    You need to tackle the brambles and grass and you'll need a strimmer or something similar to cut it all down so that you can remove it and see what you've actually got. If it's very bad you might want to 'get  a man in'  to save you the grief. There may be all sorts of things lying underneath it. If you just want a simple area of grass for children to play initially, you'll need a lawn mower, and a spade and fork to tackle the planting areas.

    There's plenty of people here to help you along the way and offer advice so keep posting and asking questions and we'll all try to help. Photos are a big help if you can do some, especially if there are any plants and shrubs you want identified. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • ChunkChunk Posts: 19

    I am a novice so unfortunately can't offer any great advice but I thought I would share my experience of taking over a large overgrown allotment this summer. I hired a brush cutter to cut down all the weeds which I think was the right thing to do, however, I then rotavatored the area. I think, with hind site that this may have been a mistake as all it seems to have done is multiply everything! I can't possibly dig the whole area over so I have decided to be patient and use some kind of weed cover left in place until I am ready to work on that particular patch. Hope someone has some good advice for you, I will be checking back as it may be useful to me!

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     This has taken me 8hrs today to clear of brambles, weeds, small sprouting trees from the neighbours monster tree next door. I only had a small hand garden spade and a pair of clippers  

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     Neighbours monster tree! I think this is the culprit for all of the roots that I keep finding throughout the length of my garden. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,050

    Better than the gym though Donna! image

    It looks better than I expected from your description so you've done really well to get that much done.  It's important to get rid of perennial, deep rooted weeds - don't rotivate whatever you do as it will only make things worse -each bit left in the soil will re grow. Hand weed or use glyphosate whenever new growth comes through and keep on top of weeding till you get plants and grass in where you want them. If you're not  ready for planting, you can cover the cleared areas with landscape fabric and bark or gravel for the winter, or cover them with some well rotted manure, if you can get hold of it, and that will help suppress weeds while the worms take it into the soil and improve it for spring.  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Sorry for the poor light in the pics. I will post more in the daylight

    Fairy girl - thank you for the fast reply. I was losing the will earlier and felt that I was just not getting anywhere. This used to be my Grandparents house and they were avid gardeners until my Grandad passed away 12years ago. They grew every kind of fruit, veg, salad and plants galore. It was a gorgeous garden back in its day. My Grandma was too ill to maintain it hence the state it is in now. 

    I think initially I just want to completely start from scratch. Take absolutely everything out, including the slabs and lawn most of it for my daughters to play. Just have limited funds, limited time and limited little helpers so this will be a long term project (as well as renovating the house at the same time) 

    Chunk - thank you for the post. i was googling brush cutters and thought this sounded like a good idea. I think I will go for it now that you recommended it. Thanks image 

  • DaintinessDaintiness EssexPosts: 977

    Wow you have done a fantastic job!

    Advice (as you have already done) start closest to the house and do a bit at a time. If you are taking some old carpet out of your new property, don't throw it away but lay it on top of the next area you want to clear - it can stay there all winter/spring preventing weeds from growing and making clearing the area easier.When you are ready to work on a new bit you can take it off and dig over the soil beneath digging out any remaining roots.

    You can also put thick black plastic/carpet or something similar on top of what you have already dug to prevent regrowth. In spring when regrowth happens (and it will) have some glysophate aka Round Up handy and spray the new growth as it appears - this weedkiller will go down through the whole plant and kill the roots too without you having to dig them out. It is perfectly safe for kids and pets to be in the garden once it has dried - plants have to be in active growth and so it probably wouldn't be so effective at this time of year. 

    If I were you I'd ask Father Christmas for some tools or garden centre vouchers! Put an ad on your local free cycle group for old carpet and plant up pots to give you something to look at in winter /spring until you get planting. Good luck, I'd love you to post another picture next year so we can see the changes  image

  • Great. Thank you for that. The only problem is that throughout the whole garden are roots which have sprouted all over. i think they are from the big tree next door and are sprouting up against the house. The deeper I dig down, the more roots I find :-/ They have cracked one of the drain pipes underground near my garage. My neighbour can't afford to have the tree lopped. In my old house I had a tree taken out professionally with a route chaser as well. I can't see this working in this garden as the roots spread too far. Is it just a case of chopping them back each time they sprout? They have shifted all of the paving slabs as well and are really tough to cut through

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,050

    Only the first pic was there when I posted Donna! It's hard at this time of year because you're running out of daylight and weather so just do what you can - the way you're already doing. It will gradually get better!  image

    Winter is for plotting and planning and getting some encouragement from people on here so keep posting. Take plenty of pix as you go along because looking at how far you've come is a big boost when you're feeling a bit fed up with it all.

    Come spring, a bit of renovation to the grass will give your girls a great place to play outside and you can start getting other areas in order. Before you know it, you'll have a garden image 

    We have a seed/plant swap thread here too Donna, so you'll be able to get some freebies to get you going  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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