front garden design

hi i am a new gardener and i have just moved into a house with a messy front garden. i want it to look nice but also be wildlife friendly.

the problem is that the garden is only 3 foot wide and seems to be in shade all day. hubby wants to pave it and i need to persuade him that there is a better solution.


  • LynLyn Posts: 8,098
    How about a compromise, let him pave it over and you find some shade loving plants to grow in tubs. It may be a bit small at 3feet to dig up.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • thanks lyn, i do not have access to water at the front of the house so i was hoping to keep the palnts in soil. can you recomend a shade loving plant?

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,098
    I wouldnt like to say Bramble, but if you google 'plants for shade' i think you will be spoilt for choice.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • thanks lyn will try that

  • Will it be dry shade bramblelover?




    Maybe a narrow brick path leading up to the front door and a little bed with one or two ferns, a foxglove or three poking up between them and maybe alechemila mollis ? lovely foliage. Snowdrops will grow in dry shade too. Don't forget to improve the soil before you plant, if hasn't been cultivated it could need organic material digging in...there is loads of unformation online...ask specific questions and you should get the answers you need. Good luck image

  • cheerypeabrain thanks so much for all that advice. it has snowed/rained non stop since we moved in so i do not know what it will be like in the summer.

    i will look at sowing some foxgloves this weekend. am i too late for snowdrops?

  • lucy.lucy. Posts: 1

    hostas might be good as the foliage can come in shades of green,blue, cream or white and all like a bit shade.


  • lucy thanks for the suggestion, i have been warned off these aa i was told that slugs love them? i do not want to use pellets and if they get tatty hubby will want to pave it.

  • neatbushneatbush Posts: 34

    hostas are worth the trouble, planted in groups looks fab.

    no need to use pellets (yuk} go outside in the eveing armed with a torch and tub. snail picking.

  • Sue TSue T Posts: 9

    Make your front patch beautiful in winter when everyything else is dull. My photo is the seedhead of hellebore - winter flowering and a shade lover. Another winter 'must' is daphne odoratum - pink strong scented flowers on a compact shrub, Jan - April. Perfect by the front door.

  • sue  thanks for the suggestion, will look into them

    neatbush will think about them again, how do they fare in winter?

  • AtillaAtilla Posts: 1,493
    bramble lover wrote (see)

    sue  thanks for the suggestion, will look into them

    neatbush will think about them again, how do they fare in winter?


    They pretty much die back to stems and regrow late spring, so half the year you have nothing to look at. I would not say that they are front garden material.

    Cyrtomium falcatum or Japanese Holly Fern would work well as is evergreen, dry shade loving but also takes sun - there is also a large variety of it.


  • catmint2catmint2 Posts: 4

    My shady side of the house grows hostas,ferns,campanula poschkarskyana,heuchera,foxgloves,nasturtions,welsh poppies,geranium Bill Wallace,valerian,pulmonaria,euonymous,comfrey. All brilliant for wildlife. Go for it Bramble lover, you don't want paving.

  • Hostas are great, and you might be lucky and get a friendly hedgehog to come and eat the slugs image

  • i have just got home from work and found some more replies, thank you, i now have lots to consider. i have another question do i start a new post?

  • BeckTBeckT Posts: 1

    Hardy fuchsias are good - our front garden is north facing, so shady for most of the day. There was a well-established fuchsia in it when we moved in 11 years ago and all it needs is a hard prune in April and it flowers its heart out for months. It is bare in the winter, but beautiful in the summer. Aquilegias do well too and the seed heads are quite nice and as they self-seed, you'll have oodles of plants for free. Same goes for Californian poppies - a little burst of sunshine!

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