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Blank Canvas

Hello image

So I've joined this forum to hopefully get some ideas and advice about my first ever garden. Its not massive but at the moment its a pretty blank space with a few unknown plants in it (I've put pictures in another thread). 

I would really love to have a wildlife garden with plants for birds, bees and other insects but I'm not sure how possible it is with the garden being so shady. So far I'm planning on extending the borders out a bit so I have more room for planting, but its so hard to know where to start. I've bought some bulbs to plant but again, I'm not sure about the best place to plant them if I'm planning of changing things about next year.

I also really want a Japanese Maple and maybe a small apple tree but I'm not sure where to place them. 

My first few pictures are from June when we were looking at the house.

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These are from today:

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  • I look forward to hearing any of your ideas image x

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    You have a pretty blank canvas to work with and a lovely old looking wall. Keep an eye on that ivy, it can go mad. Monty Don did a programme last night about people's gardens and one of them was in Snowdonia. He showed the guys how to plant little things in tiny gaps in a slate wall. Perhaps you could watch that on iplayer.

    What do you want to use the garden for? Do you have toddlers, young footballers? Do you want to grow some veg? Soft fruit? Apples and pears? Do you want to split the space up a bit? A wildlife area? A pond?

    Can you give us a photo taken from upstairs, so we can see the whole thing at once?

    In the meantime, while you are thinking about these things, have a look at the neighbours gardens, what are they growing successfully? This is important as different soil types support different plants.image

    You are going to have so much fun sorting out the garden, I'm almost jealousimage

  • Well I'd like to keep most of the lawn because although we don't have children now, I would like to have the lawn for when we do. But I do want to extend the borders so I can plant more. 

    I'm not sure about vegetables, as I don't know whether I have the patience or skill for that yet. Apples I would love to have, but its figuring out where to put the tree on the lawn so that it gets enough sun and space. We have two great big protected trees in the neighbours garden that block a lot of sun. 

    I would love it to be wildlife friendly, and a small pond would be perfect for frogs etc. 

    I'll have a look at the neighbours gardens tomorrow, and also see if I can get a photo. Its a bit difficult because we have a single story extension that blocks most of the view from the upper windows, but I'll see what I can do.

    Thanks for your reply image

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Katie, you can now get 'patio' apple trees, 'step overs' so it could be in a sunny corner and only 1.5m high or less. Black currents are delicious and not a big plant, they can go in with the flowers. I think flower borders need to be no less than 1 metre in width, possibly with wider bits here and there.

    You can grow salad veg and herbs in troughs near you seating area.

    Have you considered re-painting the shed, perhaps a mid green so that it is not so imposing? Also the fence needs a bit of work doing on it, this should be done before you start planting flower beds, so you have good access to it.image

  • Do you mean the fence next to the shed? I am planning on painting the shed next spring when it gets a bit warmer, that's when I'll likely do most of the planting as well. But I would like to get the tree planted before winter, although if it goes in a pot, its probably not a good idea right now. 

    I have looked at big planting troughs for herbs before, that's a great idea. The smells would be lovely next to the seating area. 

    I have some plants at the moment which have been identified as having berries which are poisonous for children, so they are going to be going. In their place it would be nice to have blackcurrants. I'll have to see how they would do in partial shade. 

  • So I managed to get a photo from the upstairs window, although the extension is a bit in the way. I also took a couple of photos showing what the neighbours gardens look like:

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     Thanks image

  • ginagibbsginagibbs Posts: 756

    Hi Katie, welcome to the forum. I would suggest making a list of what you want from your garden and drawing a plan of where you want things to go You can play around with plans until youve got it right. Bear in mind the position of the sun and shade and your soil type. Read up on plants you like and where they like to be positioned so that you dont waste your money on plants that wont thrive in your garden. The wall is a lovely feature by the way. Good luckimage

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,349

    Hi Katie. Lovely to have a blank canvas and an exciting new project image

    I'd agree with artjak and gina - lovely wall to make a real feature of. Don't get too worked up about berries being poisonous - many plants are as well, but it's simply a case of being aware, and they're an important food source for many birds at this time of year. There are lots of threads here about ponds, so if you're keen to do that you can do a search on here, or simply ask about anything you want to know.  

    Knowing what you want the space for is the most important thing, and take some time to see where the sunny/shady areas are so that you can plan seating/dining areas etc. Your budget will be a big factor so research costs for any major things you want to change - it's often much dearer than people think - and you can save a lot by doing things yourself. image

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


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    All those trees in the distance are wonderful, what is called a 'borrowed view'.

    That wall is going to look great.

    If you have any carpentry skills you could make your own troughs from pressure treated timber.image

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,349

    Gotta love a nice wall artjak  image

    My raised beds and apple tree boxes weren't expensive to create - they just take a bit of time and effort. Well worth it as pots or large containers can be very expensive and you can get more scope for planting if you make your own. 

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


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