Help with Garden Layout/Softening look of garden
I am hoping to get a few ideas from you regarding my small garden. We have just moved in last year so i plan to work on the garden this year. I am a newbie to gardening with limited knowledge, but I know what I like and dislike. the garden is north facing so gets moderate sun in parts in summer and zero sun in winter. I like modern, architectural planting and gardening, but not so regimented. Eclectic if you will. I guess I like the modern ideas of Joe Swift
I would like to tackle 2 separate issues in this thread - the idea firstly is to spend this summer "softening" the larger garden (1). then next year, I would like to spend some money developing both garden areas and linking them with new paving, possibly introducing some flower beds and other hard landscaping (2). You may also notice the kids toys - during design i will need to be conscious of the 2 little devils needs and safety (a 2 year old, and a 1 month old).
1. Softening the look - you can see in the larger garden that there is alot of wall space and hard surfaces including the concrete slabs on the ground. It feels cramped and claustrophobic. I would like to soften this area up with plants and take away the harsh look to it. this is mainly a container garden as there is no bare earth to plant into directly. What can be done to make this appear more lush and green? I have some bamboos in here, which I like, but they still have to grow out to achieve this lush factor. Do i introduce climbers? low lying containers with overhanging plants to take the edge of the sharp lines? In the far corner above the long seating, I plan to create an alpine rockery with small water feature. This space seems to lend itself to it. This area does get sun during the summer, hence why the seating area is there (oh, and that lobsided conifer is getting the hell outta there!). You can also see there are quite alot of entrances and exits to this garden, so it has alot of approaches, breaking up any possibility of a long area of planting.
2. Redesigning the "skinny" garden - Double doors open on to this strip of garden. The sheds at the back I plan to remove, making more space. I want to strip out this area including paving and start with a blank canvas. I would like to split this in to 2 sections - the doors opening to a lush green bedding area on either side with a narrow path way leading to the back, I would like to get some planting ideas as I really don't know where to start here, I think if the planting was to grow up high then this would hide the area to the back, adding a bit of depth and mystery to the garden. As you walk through the beds to the back section, there will be an area with bbq, for entertaining and possibly a covered seating area.
Even though this area is small, I hope this can be achieved. Possibly at the very back, I could add more high planting, to disguise the wall and add more depth. Lighting will be important as it will be enjoyable to look at the garden at night time and spend time out there at night. below are some photos of the garden and also photos of what I like