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Help with planning my garden

Hi there. I am a complete gardening novice so have absolutely no clue where to start with planning my very first garden!

It's only a small garden, about 9m x 9m and we have built raised beds, all about a metre wide and varying in length. One is about 3m long and the other is an L-shape with one side 4m long and the other side about 3m. Then at the back there will be a large patio area with BBQ etc. and a small lawn in the middle.

I already have a smallish Fatsia Japonica, a small Acer and a few little ferns. In the smaller bed, I'd like some big, tall, leafy plants, the patio area is behind that bed and I want it to be sort of screened from view of the house. I thought the Japonica and the Acer will get pretty big so they might be best there but I think they will take a few years to get big so I was looking for some suggestions for some nice leafy plants, maybe some which will have nice flowers, that will grow quickly.

I like ferns, spiky leaved plants and also plants with big leaves. I wanted some bamboo but I heard that can spread really quickly and take over, is there a way you can stop it from spreading?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


Sophie image


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348

    Hi Sophie. Are both beds in shadier sites or are some parts sunnier? That will help with suggestions.

    The Acer and the Fatsia will prefer the shadier areas and I'm assuming you've planted those, but perhaps that's wrong? Most ferns are shade lovers too so that group will work well together. Fatsias grow quite quickly in the right conditions, but the Acer will take a while, so just make sure you give it the room it deserves. It also depends on which variety it is. 

    For a sunnier site, I'd recommend Phormiums to give you a spikier foliage plant.There are lots of varieties so you can mix colours. Many are variegated.  If you're able to provide protection in winter - ie a greenhouse or conservatory - you could try Cannas for the sunnier site as well. there are good perennials like Crocosmia which will give you big foliage and bright flowers. The variety 'Lucifer' makes a big plant with striking stems of red flowers.

    Google these and see what you think. There are lots of other choices too. If you can put a few pix on it will help with further ideas. Click on the tree icon in the toolbar and follow instructions   image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi Fairygirl, thanks for your reply.

    The garden faces east so it gets quite shady in the afternoon because the house casts a shadow over it, by early evening it is pretty much all in the shade. The smaller bed gets the most sun.

    I will google the ones you have suggested.

    I could put some pics on but it's still a work in progress and looks a bit like a building site!

  • Bamboo is lovely if it doesn't escape.  If you put it in a raised bed you should be fine.  The roots are really shallow.  No more than a couple of inches beneath the surface at most, so the rhizomes will just hit the side of the raised bed and try and escape over the top - where you can easily see them and chop em off.

  • Hi Patsy, check that you haven't accidentally 'ignored' Fairygirl as it's very easy to do.  Go to 'My settings' (at the top right of the page) then to 'Forum settings' and then look in the 'Members I am ignoring' box.  If Fairygirl is in there click the red 'x remove' and things will be fixed. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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