Forum home Garden design

New house, new to gardening - where to begin?

New to the forum and fairly new to gardening,it looks like a great forum and I’ve been browsing the forum for ideas but any advice is welcome.

I’ve just moved into a new house “up north” with a medium sized garden – its in a bit of an “L” shape with a section down the side of the house. Unfortunately it was quite overgrown and is on a bit of a slope. I’ve managed to clear out most of the weeds and cut back on the overgrowth a bit but I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do with it now.  

My main thought was to try and plant a border along the bare fence but was wondering if the slope might cause problems? Would it be feasible and would I need some sort of wooden edging?

As for all the larger trees at the back I will probably get someone in to tidy those up before the end of summer until I know what to do and acquire the correct equipment.  Any other suggestions most welcome! 









  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    Hi Overgrowth, it depends what sort of look you want with that sloping area. You could simply plant the whole slope with some climbers on the fence, and a selection of shrubs and perennials which will like the (presumably)  quite shady site. The soil won't be great under the grass so you'll have to improve it with some manure and compost etc. before planting.  Whatever you decide, you'll need to blend the bed/border into the rest of the rear garden. You could add an edging and make the slope less pronounced, but I'm not sure that's necessary - it comes down to personal preference - and budget!

    An alternative, if you have the time and energy,  is to move your shed down there and have a 'work' area with compost bins etc. You can still have some planting at the junction with the rest of the garden to hide all that. A trellis screen with climbers or a few larger shrubs. 

    Hope that gives you a couple of ideas to think about for now image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ^ Good ideas there.

    You can take advantage of the banked border and indeed I've done that in my garden for some borders.  Albeit I'm thinking mine won't have quite so much shade.

    I posted here a couple of times in response to a similar question that you've posed and you may find some useful stuff there:

    You can use the height at the back to get maxiumum viewing of what you plant.   Traditionally you plant large at the back, but when you've a banked border you're part way there.   

    I wouldn't have thought you'd need anything to hold it back as it is just a very gradual slope.   But you can just leave a little strip of grass to the edge of the path or else dig a little gulley at the edge of your path so in effect you're using the path ege.   Once you're plants are established they'll stabilise the soil with their root system.

    I always think it's nice to plant lighter coloured flowering things in areas of shade and to brighten it up.  I'd be tempted to go for white and silvers and pastel pinks there.

    If you wanted shrubs as well then Camellia might work well (if your soil is acid).  White hydrangea.   Skimmia japonica. 

    All just grow about 3 to 4 ft high and wide so won't take over that area.

    For flowers I'd go for the likes of: white or pale pink and white phlox, white or cream digitalis, hostas,  astrantia, dicentra.   My style is pile everything in and I'm best at thatimage

    One of my banked borders.   It's not all neat at the front edge.  I just used the gravel path and put some stones at the edge:




  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,299
    Wow that border is beautiful!

    And I agree - that's a great blank slate to work with. My approach would be to spend some time living with it before doing all that much, though I can imagine you're keen to get going - maybe focus in whatever tree work you want doing while you spend some time sitting in different parts, thinking about what you'd like to see from each vantage point next year. It's also worth taking photos at different times of day each month or so (noting the date and time) so you can be more aware of where the light falls and when.

    But then I do take my time over stuff like this. It's not necessarily the right approach, it's certainly not the only approach, but it's my approach.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,739

    FAB border NL2.

    Don't look at the bank as a problem, more of an opportunity. 

    Enjoy it whatever you do. 

    Take your time and work out what you want. 

    As my dear late Mother would have said " act in haste: repent at leisure"

  • Great advice on here - thanks for all the input.  I'm much more optimistic now with that section of garden with all these ideas. 

    Any bigger shrubs that are particularly well suited to a shady part of the garden where I'm guessing the soil isn't great? 

    I'm certainly in no hurry (plenty of internal work to keep me busy as well) so I'll spend some time looking around for further ideas and maybe post back here when I've made some progress. 

    Love the garden northern lass! 


  • Love this forum-am a total newbie gardener-still at the is it a weed stage! thank you so much for the lovely photos and ideas.



Sign In or Register to comment.