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Stoney, Slopy, Weedy New Garden!!

Hi there,

Hopeful of a bit of assistance, I am a complete novice gardener and a bit overwhelmed with the prospect of what needs done!  

We moved into a new house about a year ago and I have now got round to thinking about the garden. It is on a slightly sloping site and has a huge retaining structure to the rear. There garden is completely covered in stone chips with weeds growing everywhere! There are large trees and bushes around the perimeter which are overgrown but do have some nice flowers from time to time.

I would like to overhaul the garden to create a more simple and ordered arrangement with 1 or 2 levels, I was thinking about the following:

1. Weeding throughout

2. Removing the majority of the trees and bushes around the perimeter

3. Lifting the stone chips and storing for later reuse

3. Erecting a screening fence/ extension to the existing fence between neighbours garden and ours

4. Installing some timber decking from the French windows for a table and chairs (not sure whether to maintain the floor level of house or keep the step down)

5. Upper level (s) would be either lawn, paving or combination of both with areas where I can reuse the stone chips

6.  Having pots with different flowers dotted around.

7. Treating/ painting the timber retaining structure, potentially installing timber planting boxes on the structure.

It would be great if you could give me an idea of any potential no no's/ issues with these proposals and whether there are obvious things which should be taken into consideration.

Here are some photos, the garden is roughly 10 meters long by 9 meters wide (paced out so not exact):








Thanks so much for your ideas/ thoughts/ help!!!



  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    That looks quite pretty. You will be amazed how much better it will look once it is weeded and some of the shrubs given a light trim. You will probably have to lose the tree outside the doors if you intend putting decking there. What aspect does it face?

    I know photos can be deceiving but if there is no reason for grass ie dogs or children, I would leave the gravel down. Perhaps remove the pots on single slabs and build a circular bed in the middle. Edge it with box and have a stunning shrub or tree in it. A nice bench at the back depending on direction of sun........
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • NickoliNickoli Posts: 3
    Thanks for your comments. The garden is south facing but due the retaining wall and high trees above it only gets a few hours of sunlight during the mid afternoon. I am looking into having the trees above the garden cut down to increase the amount of sun we get.

    I was thinking of keeping the tree near the doors and building the decking around it - I've seen that done quite well previously.

    Am am going to get stuck into the pruning/ cutting back of shrubs but have no clue why to cut, what the leave, and how far to go with it. Is there a rule of thumb??


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    You may want to invest in one of the RHS guide to pruning books after you have identified your shrubs. I refer to mine a lot and I have been gardening all my life! Every plant is different and you need to know which will take a hard prune or a light 'tidy up'. For the moment I would take the weeds out and do a light 'tidy up' all round. That should not get you into too much trouble!
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    I'm going to disagree and say the first thing I'd do is get rid of that tree by the doors. It's likely to cause future problems. I'd usually recommend having the decking on a similar level to the interior but it creates a problem with your side access. You'd have to have steps down onto the path  and if you need to bring anything round there you have a lot of steps to negotiate, so probably best to think about that before making a decision. If you can use the other side of the house for access then it's not a problem.

    If that area at the back of the house doesn't get a lot of sun I wouldn't use decking at all - very slippy even in semi shade.


    Pots 'dotted' around never look right. Group pots together - either the same size in a symmetrical, formal way, or different sizes but the same colour or style in a group. That gives a cohesive look. Avoid small ones as they're harder to work with. Large pots with well chosen plants are always more successful.  

    The garden's not that big, so it's important to make the best use of your space for your needs.Tidy up round the perimeter, as Hogweed says, get rid of anything you don't like in the middle and then take stock  image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • NickoliNickoli Posts: 3
    Thanks all for your helpful comments. I will take your advice and tidy up then "take stock" I'm just not a huge fan of gravel and feel much I the garden is wasted space.

    Will post another pick post tidy up. Thanks again.

  • cornellycornelly Posts: 970

    If possible rake the chippings to one side put down a membrane to suppress the weeds, and follow what the others have said

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