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Ugly new garden

I am moving at the end of March to a slightly bigger house with a bit bigger garden (still on the small side but not pretty like my present one - (see photo) I am buying from an elderly couple and the back garden is functional rather than aesthetically pleasing (he grew some veg in rectangular beds and there is a rectangular brick fish pond painted in a maroon colour) To the side there is a concrete path which goes up in about four steps to the rear of the garden. The whole thing is fairly hideous and I plan to gravel most of it with some containers, shrub borders and lose the fish pond. Any suggestions regarding the concrete path to make it more attractive? I can't afford to replace it with brick or tiles as the house needs work inside and I have a limited budget. My friends in France have a stepped gravel path edged with timber to prevent the stones washing away which is quite nice, however this seems rather labour intensive (I am fairly fit but retired so there are limits as to what I can physically tackle!)


 The pond is just out of shot, higher up the garden but the path is visible.  The end of the brick 'shed' to the left of the brown door, will be going and so will the wheelie bins (a pet hate!)

any other suggestions, short of bombing it, would be welcome!



Apologies for the length of this post! 



  • Hi Lyn image

    I can see why it will be difficult to leave your garden, its very pretty image

    Theres bags of potential in that new garden, all those walls will make some lovely sheltered areas to grow beautiful climbers, any scent should linger too.

    How would you feel about chiseling some of the slabs out along the joins? just enough to make a space to plant creeping plants like thyme.

    I certainly wouldnt be put off by the steps and all the concrete, its good to have different levels, they give interest and a cheeky place to sit with a cuppa, it will be blissful to sit on a summers evening with the smell of thyme wafting around you. The concrerte will also help to retain heat, win win image

    I reckon if you take the corners off that lawn and make it oval, it will soten the whole thing immediately.

    Dunno if im being thick (probably!image ) but i cant see the pond, i wouldnt be too hasty to get rid of it, they can bring a very peaceful atmosphere to the garden image

    I think by summer, you will have a really beautiful garden image
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,744

    if the concrete path is level, you could add some timber edging to it to raise it a few inches then add a layer of gravel? Hey ho, gravel path!!!

  • Your own garden is all feminine curves and the new one is all masculine straight lines at present, so it doesn't feel right to you. However as Bekkie says, it has walls and fences that you can quickly soften with a couple of clems. If you introduce some curves and widen that long straight border in places, it will start to look more interesting.

    If you are keeping the lawn then curve that too as Hostafan says, or remove the edging and gravel across both path and lawn. As there is some height difference you could have a gentle slope up or have  a couple of rocks at the steepest part (which isn't very high, from the photo)and add some planting that would prevent you walking along that join. Pretty rockery type plants would happily grow out even over gravel on concrete if they were planted in soil and mask the path edges.

    The fishpond could still be an attractive feature if you added some plants to creep over the edges and one or two marginals to break up the straight lines. And a waterlily! If you can't remove the maroon paint (does sound hideous!) then repaint it stone colour with a suitable paint and then paint it with yogurt. It will soon blend in.

    I think maybe you are feeling sad at leaving your pretty garden, obviously much loved, and this is preventing you getting excited about the new one, but I am sure in a year or so you will feel much better about it. We gardeners have to be optimists, next year is always going to be better than this one, isn't it!

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,744

    Lyn, if your surname is " Plant-Wells " you were destined to be a gardener.

    Clearly you're a little down about your new garden, but , as I've said before on this forum. I'd rather move to a house with an ugly garden than a pretty one, That way I never feel guilty about undoing what the previous owners had done.

    When we have a nice warm( ish ) patch of weather, take a cuppa outside and just walk about, take your time and just look at it from every angle . There's no need to rush into things. As my Dear Late Mother would have said " Act in haste: repent at leisure"

  • YviestevieYviestevie Posts: 7,063

    Hi Lyn,  When I moved into my house it had a gravel path leading from the front gate to the front door and a gravel path leading from the drive to the front door and looked very attractive.   However, I soon found out that they had laid the gravel over an old unattractive concrete path.  The reason I found out was that I walked on the edge of the path unknowingly and went over on my ankle.  This happend lots of times to me and visitors so in the end I planted along the edge of the path in the gravel.  The gravel on the path moves an awful lot because it cant get any form of anchorage.  I would love to take up the old path but like you feel that it is a job that I couldn't do.  I don't know what the answer is, just be careful about gravelling over paths especially if the gravel extends beyond the edge of the path into your garden area.  Picture below.



    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • image







    Wow! Big thank you to everyone for your input. I may well end up covering path with gravel - but edge with plants as per photo. The fish pond will have to go - the sides are raised (about 5 bricks in height) and just like a rectangular box. Nothing restful and too high to plant around edges. It's rather like a fish breeding tank. I will take more photos of the top end of the garden next week. It is better than the lower end with a hedge and small rockery above the 'potager.'  I do plan to fix trellis to the side of the shed for climbers and also have wall containers. I don't mind hard surfaces but the concrete path is quite ugly so if not gravelled I may go with small paving slabs. I put so much effort into the 'old' garden, as didn't plan to move at the time. Actually, I quite like a challenge so look forward to completing the makeover. The 'lawn' is a waste of time - too small to mow, so that will have my blonde gravel, as in the old place. Sorry, I am waffling. 

    Out of interest, I attach pics of old garden as 'work in progress! Not sure if they will come out in correct order! May be fairly obvious I suppose.

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    I think whatever you do it will end up looking lovely Lyn judging by the before and after pics of your current garden. image

  • Thanks for the encouraging comments!

  • TesniTesni Posts: 163

    It's going to look great - so much promise there! Take photos of the transformation if you remember.

  • Oh I will bore you all with garden progress!  Watch this space!

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