Help needed to create a new garden

Hello everyone I really need some help and advice with creating my daughter's garden. She has lived there for 10 months and in that time I have managed to build up a small stock of plants from cuttings, division, seeds & supermarkets etc and I was so looking forward to the challenge but after spending the weekend looking at and walking around the garden in all honesty the whole thing terrifies me! I realise it's going to take time and I think the best way to tackle it is bit by bit but I don't know which bit to tackle first.

Anyway here goes... these are some of the main things I need to consider

My daughter is physically disabled and a wheelchair user

It is a new build property which is currently just lawn.

The garden is very uneven and has quite a sleep slope to one side

We don't have a huge budget

It has to be low maintenance

I'm not able to do anything major without express permission from the landlord

It's South facing

NB Grrrrrrrrr I've just spent the past 40mins trying to figure out how to post some photos but I can't post them for some reason! Anyone got any ideas why?


  • Juniper81Juniper81 Posts: 9

    my advice for the slopes would be to buy some native primroses...they are cheap from seed, you can find many on ebay...also ferns are good on slopes.

    not sure why photos arn't uploading atm,...

  • tattiannatattianna Posts: 174

    Yes I did it! A slight adjustment to my setting and hey presto image

    Thank you Juniper81 & Sara 4 for your suggestions so far. At least now with these photos it gives you a better idea what I'm up against

    This 1st photo was taken from the patio area looking down towards the bottom of the garden and is also the view Sarah has from her lounge. I think I'd like to start with this area as it is what she looks out on most of the time.



    This photo was taken looking to the right of the patio across the garden 



  • gardengirl6gardengirl6 Posts: 223

    I think you need some overall plan, even if you attempt it one stage at a time.   If you don't have such a plan, you mgiht wish you had put things in different places half way through completion.    I did a complete redesign of my garden, by drawing it out on graph paper.   I made a list of all the things that I wanted in the garden, such as patio, water butts, compost bin area, etc.    Will your daughter want a shed to hold her tools and lawnmower, for example?    How big will it need to be?    If she has a wheelchair, how wide will her paths need to be, and she will need access to all areas.     Will she want raised beds?     List out all her needs, and then play around with the plan, making everything accessible for her.

    There are gardens open to the public that cater for disabled people, so maybe you both could visit one to poach ideas? 

    Good luck.   Let us all know how you get on. 

  • dannyboy10dannyboy10 Posts: 127

    whats you location?

  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    I,d start with some plants in pots to brighten up the patio area as it is the first area your daughter sees,Maybe a couple of lavenders,as they don,t need much water,but the perfume would be lovely,geraniums would also give an immediate effect.

  • dannyboy10dannyboy10 Posts: 127

    You say it is a new build.

    what I would do first before anything is done is check to make sure the garden does not have tons of rubble buried under the grass.

    I moved into a new build two years and had to remove tons of rubble.


  • Lots and lots of potential and opportunities. You know what the answer is to the question"How do you eat an elephant?" Well you do it a bit at a time. Have a long term plan in mind but start with the patio area and gradually work outwards, a section at a time, or perhaps a section each successive year. This will give you something to plan during the winter and then your project for that year is in place. You probably need a bit of help with the labouring/construction and a good friend should come to mind? Paths and raised beds must be in your long term plan, and be bold, everything is possible. Altho' I am fully abled, my new garden, 14 years ago, was very daunting and money was not plentiful. However it now looks great and gives me bags of pleasure.image

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Is there anyone in your family who can do carpentry? My neighbour has just built his wife who has disabilities 3 or 4 small raised beds (like high coffee tables, with a soil depth of 25cm or so) so his wife can plant and weed stuff. Your daughter could grow salad veg or flowers in them. He used pressure treated timber so that it won't rot for a while (always use a face mask when cutting this stuff because of the chemicals it is impregnated with)image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,830

    I think I'd ask your daughter what she wants to do in her garden - does she want a BBQ area?  Would she like to sit in the shade under a tree?  Would she like a pool with fish to watch, or a moving water feature and the sound of running water, or would she like to feed the birds?  etc etc Maybe give her some old GW magazines or gardening books to look at  to spark some  ideas.

    The answers to those questions will give you some ideas of the areas you need to create - then you can start prioritising and planning - where will you put the water feature?  Where will the tree go?  Look at where the sun shines and where the shadows fall.  

    Well, that's a start ................................... image

    Good luck image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Hi tattiana. Lots of good people on here who can offer help as Verdun said. Raised beds are a great idea but make sure they're high enough- they're often made a bit too low. A bit at a time is definitely the best way -frustrating at times!- and you're doing the right thing wanting to do the bit nearest the house first. 

    Can I make a suggestion. You've already made a start with cutting and seeds etc. and you have a tight budget. Is there any way members here could donate surplus seeds, cuttings or plants? I know you may not want to reveal your address on here but some members already use a seed swap so someone will know how to do it- or perhaps you can just trust us!  Most people here have gardened on a budget at some time and plants are expensive. There may also be members near enough to you who could help arranging extra hands to help with the heavier stuff involved.image

    Any thoughts anyone?

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,908

    Just to add to all the good advise and if you want a garden which is four seasons, consider evergreens which bring colour during winter months, there's nothing nicer if you wrap up warm than to sit on the patio on a crisp, sunny winter's day.

  • tattiannatattianna Posts: 174

    WOW! thank you all so very much for your advice and suggestions and I'm absolutely bowled over with your offers of help and support. I'm going to print all this off and hi-light suggestions of what to do first and keep it handy for reference.


    We are totally aware this will be a long term project and the garden will evolve over time and that it's going to be flipping hard work! We're also aware that being a new build we WILL find lots and lots of rubbish and rubble that will hinder our progress and that we're going to have to enlist the help of family and friends to achieve the most wonderful garden possible for Sarah.


     All that said  I think  it would help further if I give you an insight into what what we need from the garden. So here goes....


    Sarah's disability is such that she is unable to do anything in the garden nor is she able to give much input into it's design and what plants are in there so what she can see and smell is of the greatest importance as is the ease of maintainence. (we really don't mind maintaining the garden but when we visit we want to be spending quality time with her and not always gardening). Also we can't rely on her carers to be watering pots and deadheading plants. At the moment the paving is just around the parimeter of the house and the lawn isn't accessable for her wheelchair so it would be an idea to replace some of the lawn with paving to enable her to get nearer the plants.


    As I said I've already made a start on collecting plants. So far I've got 3 lovely fatsias, about an dozen lavender plants (and taken more cuttings at the weekend), geum, delphenium, more lillies than I know what to do with and dianthus. Gosh that doesn't sound a lot considering what we have to fill   image.  I'm sure I've got more plants I just can't think of them at the moment! All suggestions for other fragrant plants will be grately appreciated!


    I do like the idea of a tree (depending on the size perhaps a couple of trees???) but I do remember when Sarah moved in the landlord said that as the site was built on a former landfill site there is a membrain  covering this so we can't plant anything that is likely to send roots that could potentially penetrate the membrain. Saying that the landlord has planted trees in the front gardens of the properties so the membrain can't be that shallow????  


    Oh dear I'm rambling on a bit now so I'll leave it there and spend some time getting some of your ideas down on paper and I'll keep you all posted on my progress. In the meantime thank you all again and keep the suggestions coming image


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Difficult Sarah- presumably the membrane is quite deep down then and there's adequate soil on top of it? Perhaps you'd need to dig down in a couple of places to see what's there.

    Until I looked back at your original post I hadn't noted that you mention a landlord - is he/she happy to let you plant up the area? That may limit what you do as well.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Verd-I'd say grasses of all types would be good because of the movement/noise and quite easy maintenance - what do you reckon? Perhaps more shrubs than annuals or perennials that need staking etc - you'll know all the best scented shrubs.  As tattiana says - they don't want to spend all their time with their daughter doing the garden.

  • dannyboy10dannyboy10 Posts: 127

    I would also love to her out if I knew where she lives,I live in sunderland and if tatiana lives nearer me I would also help out.

    free plants off garden centres would be one of the first things I would do,but this would depend on the location.

  • tattiannatattianna Posts: 174

    Morning everyone

    Firstly can I say thanks again for all your offers of help and suggestions and we live in St Helens, Merseyside if anyone wants to grab a spade image

    So I've had a good think about this and believe the way to start is to contact the landlord to see what we are allowed to do and find out about that membrain & how deep it is. The property belongs to a social housing association and, after speaking to some neighbours, apparently they're not too helpful with what they allow you to do which is why I want to get them on side before I do anything. Oh my word you'd think it was acres & acres we are trying to landscape here!

    I agree, Charlie November, the fence down the left would look lovely covered in climbers and yes the less lawn the better!  I also like Verdun & fairygirl's idea of lots of grasses too which it just so happens I've got quite a few of after potting up lots of off shoots (or what ever they're called) from my carex buchananii earlier this year so that's a start on the grasses. I'm sure Sarah would also enjoy watching the birds feed so that's another thing I'm eager to include. 

    Once I know what we can & can't do I'll concentrate on the left side of the garden as that's what Sarah can see from the house. 

    So there you have it...I've made a start albeit in my head but at least it's all a little clearer now and I don't feel quite as scared as I did at the weekend  image


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,830

    Hi, I work with severely disabled young people, so planning for them is part of what I do - although Sarah won't be able to 'do' anything physically in her garden, she will be able to listen and hear things and watch things as well as experience scents and the breeze on her skin.  Dancing shadows made by sunshine through foliage can fascinate, as can the sound of trickling or bubbling water, the breeze rustling in foliage etc.  

    Whoops, time I was going to work - there are lots of places to get ideas for Sarah's garden so that you can really focus it on her needs, rather than adapting gardens made for the more physically able.

    If there's anything I can do let me know image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
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