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Nightmare Garden To Design Around - Help Needed

Would love some ideas on what to do with my garden.... I will attach a few images soon (assuming its allowed) but for now just describe it.

The garden is sloped with a pretty straight drop to the road on one side of about five/six feet. On the other side of the garden there is a very steep slope which goes to a farmers field which is lined at the top by a tree hedge - trimmed.

It's also a complete mess and has been left completely untended  bar some weedkilling spray each year and strimming - its also got a lot of moss growing on it.

I'd really like to make it useable but I hate how ugly the incredibly steep bank is that goes up the side to the farmers border and I'm not sure what to do along the side which leads to the road. 

I would love to be able to grow my own veggies - not an enormous patch but just enough and have an area to keep 2 or three chickens (enclosed).

I will have to take dimensions of it and photos but if anyone has any suggestions based on where I should start it would be a huge help to me as I will have to do as much of this as possbile on my own.



  • Clearing it of unwanted grass along with the weeds and moss would be a good place to start. It may be better to dig these out rather than use chemicals. You don't give dimensions so if it's large you could section it for veg growing, flowers maybe, a seating area and your chickens. If it's small you can still grow veg in pots and containers. Would be a good idea to know how your garden sits, is it in shade or full sun all day? Any walls, fences or trees? And soil type would be important too. It's going to be hard work but seeing a garden develop is immensely satisfying. image


  • Yes, images are allowed image and would be really helpful - you click on the little tree on the toolbar above and follow the instructions.  

    I think that when you're faced with something like a steep bank, the trick is to ' go with the flow' and find a way of enhancing it and seeing it as it's own specialised sort of environment, rather than trying to change it too radically - but show us the pics and I'm sure we'll have some ideas and a plan of action so you can do it bit at a time and not break your back (or bank balance) over it image

    Looking on the positive side, if it's got a steep drop  to the road, it sounds as if it's unlikely to suffer from too much waterlogging which is what so many of us are having to cope with.image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Here are a few photographs taken today mainly from the upstairs of house. Once the weather improves I'm going to get steps put leading up to the garden but at the moment there is just a template there for them.















     I think the garden is south facing but there are trees at the top end on the neighbours property and there are the trees to the right on the farmers field (although they are trimmed down).

  • Oh and with regards to water... what tends to happen is that it drains away at the bottom underneath the garden as during wet weather I have a mini river which is being piped away from the back of my house with some new drainage underneath walls etc... the garden level is above that of the grown floor of the house.

  • Oooh that bank is full of possibilities - I think I'd treat it as if it was a woodland fringe and create planting pockets within the tree roots - digging individual planting holes for each plant and working in some compost, rather than trying to improve all the soil.  I'd plant the sort of things you find in a hedgerow, both wild varieties and some 'improved' ones - e.g. primroses, sweet violets, red and white campion, foxgloves, ferns, hedge garlic, black leaved cow parley (anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'), native bluebells (not Spanish) and native daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus) and/or, as you're in Wales, the Tenby daffodil (narcissus obvallaris), arum pictum,  honeysuckles, Clematis vitalba (Traveller's Joy/Old Man's Beard) .  You could also put in some rambling roses, hazel, sambuccus niger (black leaved elder) - the list goes on .....  Because you've got all those tree roots when planting shrubs I'd buy small ones and create as big a planting pocket as you can, that way they'll have the best possible chances to grow away, and they'll soon grow bigger than if you planted larger shrubs (if you get my meaning - it sounds a little confused but I know what I mean - hope you do too image)

    I once had a house in a similar situation but in East Anglia - the bank behind the house was solid clay - we did manage to create a lovely garden.  The trick is to garden to your conditions - not try to make your garden look like other peoples'. 

    Oh, and love that moss - I'd be perfectly happy with moss in a 'woodland fringe' type garden - gorgeous image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,471
    Wow you have some work to do but as dove said a woodland with that bank would be lovely , plenty possibilities , good luck image
  • I'd start by keeping the hens on the bank.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Good luck with it, MYfallenheartimage. I know it looks pretty daunting, but how about drawing up a 'map' of the area to scale if poss. Then working out roughly what goes where.

    When I have done big projects I've found that it all starts with research, a sketch and a list. image

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Take time and patience - that slope offers all sorts of wonderful opportunities,lots of early little spring bulbs, primroses, clematis - ferns indeed - get some good books from the library and look at pictures, finding out what you think you will like to look at.  Don't even think of trying to do everything at once, just a bit at a time,  decide which - if any - of the current trees & shrubs you want to keep, remove the rest.  Think about where you want hard standing/sitting areas  -  do you know yet where the light and sunshine comes in?  Do you know what kind of soil you have, test it if not, because that will make a difference as to what you can grow well.   Do you want fruit/vegetables?  If so, where?  Grow the ones that remain expensive so you can enjoy them fresh if you want to do that.  Talk with gardening neighbours, gardeners love to share their stories (and often their plants, be careful what you accept!, or rather, what you actually use!)   What ever you do, and whenever you do it, take your time and enjoy it - there is no rush to do it all at once - that will discourage you and may end up with planting you really don't want.

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