new border for boring garden

I inherited a very boring garden with our new house which is basically just lawn. I have no gardening experience but would love to transform it over the next few years..... I will try to attach a picture.

So far we have replaced the fence between us and our neighbour & installed trellis to hide the shed. Next job is to create some privacy by planting along the new fence but I have no idea what to choose!! I'd like bushy evergreen base plants to create a backdrop and offer year round privacy... any advice?


  • Sue6Sue6 Posts: 37
    I can't attach a picture image

    Garden gets a lot of sun and is on clay soil but I haven't tested the ph yet.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,896

    Is it in sun or shade and what is the soil like? Will you be making a border in front of the evergreens? Do you like contemporary or traditional? Will the border (if one) be wide or narrow, straight or curvy? To allow for room for spreading plants or not. Why not buy a book such as "How to be a Gardener" by Alan Titchmarsh? Have a look at Amazon and see what they have in the way of how to start a garden sort of books. Gardening is a big subject, also personal taste comes into it a lot.

    Did you want shrubs as your evergreen background? Try "googling" evergreen shrubs. You will find sites like this  It all needs research, you can't be a garden designer overnight and then everyone can make mistakes but you learn by them.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,896

    Your second post just came up before my answer. If it's clay soil it will need as much rotted manure and compost as you can lay your hands on to help make it more workable, which will add nutrients as well.

  • Sue6Sue6 Posts: 37
    Thanks, will certainly get some bags of manure & compost to dig in before planting. Intention is to have lots of plants and flowers in front eventually but not decided on size or shape of borders yet. Thought I'd start by putting in 3 or 4 large bushy shrubs and go from there...

    Would ideally like to buy large established plants (approx 2m height) to get instant privacy but worried about wasting ??'s on unsuitable choices. Am excited to get started so doing some planning whilst waiting for weather to improve!! Will check out Titchmarsh's book.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,896

    Smaller plants tend to transplant more easily and are cheaper to buy. Here are some to get started. Photinia "Red Robin", Ilex altaclerensis "Golden King" (you need male and female hollies for berries), Choisya, Eleagnus "Gilt Edge", Nandina Domestica (perhaps not for background as it's smaller), cotoneaster lacteus (bird's like the berries, so good for wildlife).

  • Hi - I have just been looking for similar! I found some good stuff on the Crocus website - they give ideas for whole planting schemes (inluding clay soil). Look under the 'inspiration' tab.

  • A new border with plenty of Sun!! Sounds like a treat. Agree that you should perhaps take your time with the planning. Work on the soil structure first and then go from there. You are right to start with the structural evergreens and any deciduous plants that will give height. How do you feel about that new fence? only you can plump for climbers on that aswell as long as you can support them.

    Then work down to the sub shrubs and perennials. It'll take time and effort but will be worth it.

  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,455
    I have heavy clay and a full sun side , I bought a few laurels to dot between trees (rheum , hazel, silver birch) I also have red and yellow dogwoods, broom deep red and a yellow, spirea snow mound and japonica forget name pink and white flowers) , potentilla , roses, bamboo, I'm on acid so going to plant a rhododendron into my new bed , also buddlea , clematis , weigelia , viburnum ..
  • Sue6Sue6 Posts: 37
    Thanks stephanotis that's a useful site.

    Am keen on planting to attract wildlife so will also check out busy-lizzies suggestions.

    The fence has small sections of trellis at the top so will definitely grow some climbers along part of it.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 5,109

    As man of Kent says what a joy a brand new border in sun. Take your time deciding what you like but try and make the border as wide as you can. Very narrow borders are not easy to make look good. In the first year why not plant loads of colourful annuals.

    Spanish songs in Andalucia
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  • bookmonsterbookmonster Posts: 196

    That's my plan nigelcoad - I also have a new (sadly not full sun) border on clay soil and am trying to put in the perennials slowly as I work out how much room there is - I will fill out with annuals while things get established (which I believe should also help the heavy soil). How about box for the evergreen?

  • Caz WCaz W Posts: 1,353

    Hi Sue - as Lizzie said smaller plants are cheaper and easier to plant.  If you live near a Morrisons its worth checking what they have.  Last week I had Camellia, Photina Red Robin and Pieris - £2 each.  I have clay soil and there was plenty of choice there for me.  They'll soon grow and before long you'll be taking cuttings from them and getting more plants for free image  Good luck and if you have any questions there are plenty of people on here who can help you!

  • Sue6Sue6 Posts: 37

    Thanks Caz W thats a great tip!  If they're not too expensive I will get annuals as I like the idea of lots of colour.

    I've got a soil PH testing kit and am planning to use it at the weekend.... along with Ticthmarsh's book, coloured pencils and some graph paper.

    Everyone has been so helpful and friendly, this is such a great site am so glad I posted image

  • Sue6Sue6 Posts: 37

    Hi everyone, I've finally manged to make some progress with my garden and would appreciate your thoughts before I actually get planting!

    I've established that my garden is south-east facing and soil is slightly acidic to neutral PH 6.5-7.0.

    So far I've resisted the urge to visit the garden centre and but lots of lovely shrubs and have patiently dug a border by removing the top layer of turf (stacked grass side down elsewhere) and will dig in some compost next weekend....will post a picture if I can.

    These are the plants I'm thinking of getting:

    Choisya ternata AGM Mexican orange blossom

    Nandina domestica 'Fire Power' heavenly bamboo 'Fire Power'

    Buddleja × weyeriana 'Sungold' AGM butterfly bush 'Sungold'

    Deutzia longifolia 'Veitchii' deutzia 'Veitchii'

    Elaeagnus 'Quicksilver' oleaster 'Quicksilver'

    Euonymus alatus 'Compactus' AGM compact winged spindle tree

    Ruscus aculeatus butcher's broom


    Any comments appreciated!!

  • Sue6Sue6 Posts: 37



    Photos from last summer.  The area along the fence with the top section of trellis is where I have now dug the new border, approx 2 panels long and 2m width... will post another photo later.

    The acer tree in the bottom corner of the picture is in a ceramic pot but I have no idea where to best place it... and too scared to plant it in the ground in case i either kill it or can't move it later on!!


  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609 other's have said, it's not a boring garden as it's a blank canvas and I find that terribly exciting,... well, I think so.... a lot to look forward to and it will be all your own work... might already have something in mind here, but one thing I would have to do, if it was mine, would be to get rid of that little paved path running through, as the slabs are too far apart. I would have to either hop along or walk on grass which sort of defeats the object, so I'd be wanting to do something about that eventually... it looks pretty but not sure if it's practical the way it is... do you find it so? especially when wet...

    I prefer a continuous path, all paved, brick or even shingle with suitable edging...something like that...  it's just a suggestion, and you might not be worrying about that now...


  • Sue6Sue6 Posts: 37

    Thanks for the feedback, am really excited to get cracking.  I think I’ll leave the acer in its pot near the choisya and see how it fares in that position... do you think there will be any issues with direct sun scorching it?  I guess if it’s sheltered between plants it may be ok...

    Salino, yes totally agree about the path it’s on my list of things to remove... installed by the previous owners, it’s totally uneven and leads right up to the middle of the shed!  It’s awful.  I intend to put in a more practical path at some point in the future when I work out where and how I want it flow...

  • Pyracantha for clothing fences. Evergreen, grows like a hedge when tied in loosely against a fence, flowers for insects, berries for birds and dark green background for you. I grow on heavy clay in sun or shade, though flowers/berries better in sun. Red column is my personal fave. You could plant those immediately and then spend some time improving the soil in front, but at least they'd be getting going in the meantime. I can recommend COMPOSTED bark for improving clay. You could make pots out of the brown stuff in my last two gardens, but fork in some composted bark plus whatever grit, compost, leaf mould and even a wee bit of grass cuttings and you've got that lovely moist 'christmas cake' soil in no time. The worms love it and it opens the structure better than anything else I've tried. MUST be composted tho - not chipped or decorative. Its worth its weight. Bx

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