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Fully Shaded Border, need help please

Hi There,

 I wonder if any of you could be so kind as to help me. I think I should point out that neither my wife nor myself are in any way competant gardeners. In fact, if you want anything to die plant wise, give it to us to ensure a swift demise. 

Last spring we had our garden re "built"

We are trying to be as low maintenance as possible, so we now have patio, a small patch of lawn for the dog to destroy with her urine and a border.

The border is the first part of our problem. It is surrounded by sleepers & is about 7.5m long by 1m wide. Its is totally shaded.100%. The only daylight the border might see is midday on Summer solstice, other than that, forget it.

I have absolutely no idea what type of soil I have, other than its brown & has small stones in it.

We would like to know, is there any shrubs or plants that are ok for dogs, that would spread out & eventually fill the border. We would like something as low maintenance as possible.

Secondly, the new lawn of last spring is now destroyed by the dog. We did follow the instructions when it was laid and for a few weeks, it looked stunning. But a combination of wet weather & the dog's atomic urine now sees large bare patches all over it.

Should we just get it relaid as its beyond repair or can it be salvaged?

Many thanks for any help any one can give.

The hopeless gardeners


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,669

    Have a look at this site

    I have most of these and I would add euphorbia robbiae, geranium phaem, aquilegia vulgaris and those great big hostas with tough leaves that the slugs are less keen on, such as Big Daddy and Frances Williams. I really like the Brunnera Jack Frost which brightens up the gloom in the shade.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    On this very website is some advice about dog urine on lawns.

    If at all possible make a designated area with a surface that the dog likes and teach her to go in there. It will take a bit of time and effort to get her to use it but definitely worth it in the long run! I had quite good success with my two younger dogs but 'the old lady' won't use it.

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    Dog nappies????imageimageimage

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    The lawn can be salvaged-wait till it start to grow when the temperature rises-it wont look so bad

    Feed it -rake out-the dead patches- re-seed regular mowing- bit of training-you and the dog-it will recover

    Grass is resilientimage

  • Nappies?????

    Please dont even joke about that.... My wife will think thats a GREAT idea...

    Not so sure the dog will though....

    Many thanks for the suggestions so far. I had a look at the plants quoted & they seem fine, just what we need. Im not too far from the RHS at Wisley (I use to fish the canal there years ago), is it possible to purchase these plants there does anyone know?

    I appreciate that prevention is better than cure for the lawn & its certainly something we will be looking into, thanks.

    But, my question is still the same. Am I best just getting the lawn relaid (I appreciate the same will happen again without training) or should I try say the Aftercut Fix repair?

    Has anyone any experience of using this & is it worthwhile or a complete waste of time?

    Many thanks once again, it is genuinely appreciated.

    The hopeless gardeners



  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Cross- posted Richardimage-see aboveimage

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,669

    The Wisley plant centre stocks about 10000 plants for sale, so you should find some of them there - or others which will suit. They may have different varieties of those on the list I sent you eg pink geraniums instead of white. When you're there you can ask them what grows in shade.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    She's a wise woman, your wife!image But can't you take the dog for quick walkies 2 or 3 times a day and let her pee outside the garden? Just a thought.image

  • My mother in law had the same problem and she, in the end decided to get rid of her lawn completely and have raised borders so the dog couldn't access them. She laid a large central patio where the grass had been and put a stone bird bath in the centre for the dog to cock its legs on and each night she just goes out and hoses it all down and it always looks immaculate. As for the planting, my lavender does well and I have it in a shaded area, also what about ferns, they grow in woods so they should be okay too.....I'm very new to gardening though so don't take my word for it. I'm sure you'll get the device you need on here, there are some very talented people out there....good luck
  • Hi Richard

    Having your lawn relaid will not work as you will have the same problem with the dogs after it is relaid as the grass roots will not be deep enough to recover from the urine. I would rake the patches and then reseed. I have 2 beagle bitches and have particially trained them to pee on a small gravel patch at the side of my house. If i see them peeing on the lawn i put my washing up water over it. If they target a certain area of lawn i sprinkle pepper on the grass. .The lawn fix product also works as it encourages a dense sward of grass which is more resilient. There is no magic fix unless you are going to concrete, slab, gravel or lay artificial grass but i find that my spayed bitch's urine does not ruin the lawn as much as the entire bitch something to do with hormones I believe,so this may be another idea!

    shady borders, i have used lavender, hostas, geum, gerainiums,ivy and even dahlias do quite well as long as the border is warm and sheltered.

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