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Help! How can we use this yard?







As you can see we have a dirt yard that is completely unusable at the moment. We need help/suggestions to make it more user friendly. Since these photo's were taken we've cleared the bark chippings away because they were just turning into mulch and we have some plants in containers (herbs, strawberries, raspberries). We used mats last year so we could at least sit in a small part of it but we'd really like to be able to sit down and have somewhere for my daughter to play, more plants and maybe a trellis for privacy? Although, would that block the sun? Any suggestions are welcome because we really can't use it at all. It's a rented property, although we're planning to be here for the long haul, so we can't do too much digging, putting in drainage etc. We've waited 3 years for the landlord to give us a garden as planned but we've decided (and he's happy for us to) just tackle it ourselves. Maybe a  seating area or ground cover of some sort that's not grass? Any suggestions at all are welcome, we're at a complete loss! Thanks.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,094

    It depends a lot on your budget. I suppose paving the end nearest the house would probably be too expensive. Could you deck it? I saw a family garden by a garden designer on TV recently that had fake grass and it actually looked quite nice. Would be fine to play on too, a child was on it playing with a toy train.

    Trellis along the top of the fence with clematis and honeysuckle would give more privacy and be less bulky than planting shrubs.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,094
    edited September 2019

     This is astroturf, with decking and paving. I meant one or the other nearest the house.  Of course it will look better when those planters are full and pots added and if they grew something up the fencing.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Which way is your garden facing and where and when do you get the sun - on all of it or just part of it?

  • It's north west facing. We get the sun in the afternoon and evening. On summer evenings nearly all of it is in the sun which is great, if we could use it!

    I like the idea of the artificial grass and a bit of decking. We can't do anything with the bit nearest the house, it's just a lump of concrete but it's sloped slightly down into the rest of it. It's supposed to be for disabled access we think because there's a similar bit at the front of the house too, so we wouldn't be able to touch that but it could be made to look a bit nicer than it is. 

  • chickychicky Posts: 10,400

    I'd definitely start with a few pots on the hard surfaces to make it feel a bit more inviting.  As Lizzie says, a climber growing along the fence would also be good - you could try nasturtiums this year (but they will only last for this summer), and if you like the effect you could go for something more permanent.  How about growing sweetpeas up wigwams of canes too, to give some height (and a wonderful scent !).

    why have you removed the bark chippings, and what have you uncovered underneath?  Could you grow grass there?  If not, then woodchips are not a bad covering - better than bare earth anyway.

  • I think you can buy tiles made from re-cycled tyres, different colours and interlocking which would hide the "lump of concrete". They wouldn't detract from the disabled access, add a little astro turf and a small raised bed where you could grow a couple of tomatoe plants, some  carrots [ just a few] herbs . Don't  forget to use what vertical space you have, my daughter grows tumbling toms in hanging baskets, carrots in window boxes, potatoes in an old packing crate [ raised bed] and peas up through her buddleia.

    Your daughter will grow up knowing food doesn't come naturally wrapped in polythene

  • GWRSGWRS Posts: 8,401

    lots of good ideas already mentioned , you could paint the concrete ,so it looks different  , you said it slopes , will you great rain draining on to the edge , if so may need to think about a small ditch filled with gravel at the front of the gravel

    best of luck whatever you do , enjoy you garden image

  • Thanks everyone, these are all great ideas. I'm feeling more inspired by the space now! I hadn't thought about the vertical space, we could definitely do something there. My daughter loves watering the few plants we have and she enjoyed the strawberries and raspberries last year, she was out every day checking for more so the idea of raised beds and hanging baskets where she can grow veg is great. 

  • It's what forums are all about, they take the place of nattering over the garden fence which we don't seem to do since the invention of television, how sad....

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