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First Ever Garden

Hello All,


Bought first real home with a small garden at Xmas, after a 3/4m patio area we have a rectangular lawn approx 8m. There is a wooden fence along side with some well established shrubs/trees toward the bottom, she'd at bottom and path running up the other side. There is currently a narrow border (under ft) up both long sides and a slightly deeper one across the back of the house. The garden faces roughly west, sheltered but most parts of the border have full sun at some part of the day.  I am a total beginner and looking for any ideas for planting design or plants, or where to look for inspiration! I have already gone a bit mad randomly popping things in as I did get a bit overexcited waiting to see if anything would appear, I think anything there is long gone now!! In snowdonia but sea level 6-7 miles from coast, soil I am told is generally acidic in the area but really not sure!! Would likeSomme evergreen plants so we don't go. Too bBare in winter and hubby doesn't want to loose too much lawn!! 


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,974

    Hi Kathryn- great that you're enthused about your new garden! Personally I'd take a little bit of time to see what else pops up during the next few months and take a note of whether you like them or not.

    It's always a good idea to take note of what you don't like -ie shapes, colours and styles - by looking at books, magazines and online- even in Garden Centres -as that's often easier to determine than what you do like.  Make a list of your personal  requirements as well and determine how much time you can devote to the space. When you've worked those things out it's easier to decide on the type of planting you want and you can start to make definite plans regarding the main structure of the garden. If there's a bare fence you may want to start there with climbers to cover it and perhaps take away the very narrow borders and replace them with one decent sized one. Narrow borders limit what you can plant and generally just look bitty.  A decent border means you have more scope for a wide range of plans.image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • KathrynJaneKathrynJane Posts: 25

    Thank you! I know I mustn't rush, it's just hard when so excited! 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,974

    I know!  image

    By the sound of it you have a really promising plot and will have great fun in it. If you can post pix on here you'll get plenty of extra help. Read some of the other threads too and you'll pick up ideas. Try and get a  few books to read  - including some design ones - that will be very useful and if you're keen to grow your own stuff there are lots of very helpful people on here with all sorts of tips. It's a great thrill to put a few seeds in a pot and see them transform.

     It's all very addictive!

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • reiverreiver Posts: 32


    I empathise. I retired last year and finally decided to "Do" the garden. Result 12 months physical work, 12 months barrack room language as moved soil, erected a greenhouseall whilst waiting for two consecutive dry days!. This year went mad and planted shrubs and annuals, some perennials.

    Next winter I'll take them out and try and do it properly. I have beautiful plants , just in the wrong place.image But I have ENJOYED what I was doing and as I explained to my head gardener(Grand-daughter Chloe, 8 years pushing 30image), a garden is never finished. We will learn and change and learn some more and change again.

    Have fun. Just remember to enjoy it. Some of my most productive moments involved standing with a cup of coffee in m,y hand and my mind in neutral!!

    PS  Take photographs now and throughout your year. This will inspire you.

  • KathrynJaneKathrynJane Posts: 25

    Thanks again, it's so nice knowing there are people out there to ask for ideas, and to share experiences.  I'll definately take some pics of the garden so I can monitor my progress.image

  • quercus_ruburquercus_rubur Posts: 334

    I agree with Fairygirl, the border is much too narrow. To have any impact and allow you to grow a variety of plants it needs to be much wider. Agree also to be patient (cup in hand) and wait to see what look each season brings to the garden - light, shade. If you've already got some shrubs, start thinking about perennials. Check out the soil type. An easy way to do this is look at what's already there, and also check out what's in the neighbourhood. 

    ALWAYS check out the final size of any plant you buy, especially trees and shrubs. Just because it looks a nice little plant in the nursery doesn't mean it's not going to be 30ft high and 15 feet wide in 10 years time image.

    Ispiration comes through looking at other gardens - visiting famous (and not so famous) ones, in books, on-line. You don't have to do it all at once. I think it's fun as well as cheaper, to build it as you go along. Though I admit to being more of a female Bob Flowerdew than a Chelsea Flower Show designer

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,974

    Yes- the contemplating with a brew is all part of the process!

    As Qr says check out sizes- but we all buy things because we like them regardless! If something outgrows a space you can always remove it. Remember that your soil is a huge factor in the ultimate size of any plant- what grows well in sandy free draining soil may not do so well if you have sticky clay which is why looking at your neighbours plots is important, and it pays dividends to get your soil in good shape before you plant anything.

    We all had to start somewhere and if you can find a recent thread we had on here about what mistakes or daft things we had done in our gardens you'll see that none of us is perfect image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • KathrynJaneKathrynJane Posts: 25


    Shall buy a bigger kettle and commence being a nosey neighbour! 

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