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Time for a new garden design?

Im thinking of redesigning my rear garden. Ive been planning this for a few years, but haven't done anything about it as we had two dogs, who like to trample through the borders, smashing plants. Both dogs have now sadly passed away, with Benson the black lab passing yesterday. Im trying to remain positive at this sad time and one thing that is motivating me is redesigning the garden. Heres some history...

The garden is in two halves, the upper half is level with my patio, at the end of this part there are 3 steps taking you down to the lower half which is about 3ft lower than the upper half. I moved into my current garden in 2007, it looked rather sad and bland to look at, heres what it looked like when we moved in....

Upper half 2007


Lower half 2007


Before we had even unpacked all of the boxes from moving house I had already begun to make the garden look a little more cheerful, by reshaping the borders and edging the lawn. I needed to keep a decent size lawn for the dogs, and our little boy who was a baby at the time. I soon added a gate and archway between the two halves and replaced a dying privet hedge. I couldn't wait until our son had outgrown his plastic slide etc.


I tackled the patio and added some planting, then In the lower half I moved the summer house back a few feet to make room for a greenhouse that my nan kindly bought me just before she passed away. It soon began to look much better...





  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,449

    But deep down I've always wanted to reduce the size of the lawn to increase the planting area, and add a wildlife pond. I'm not really a fan of just having borders at the extreme edge of the lawn. I came up with a bit of a plan in my head, began sketching and then used a bit of software called 'smallblueprinter' to create a scaled plan (patio & house is to the left of the plan).

    Now that the dogs aren't around anymore to ruin the lawn, and our son has outgrown his plastic garden toys I'm keen to get started. I'd appreciate any thoughts/comments on my new plan...


    Being British I do want to keep a lawn, but I know its a pain in the backside dragging the lawnmower out just to cut a tiny lawn, so I need to decide whether to keep it or not. I also want to improve the path in the lower half, and create a veg growing area. It will be my summer project, and I'm hoping I get it done in-between all the other jobs a home owner needs to do.

  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,248

    Can I just say 'Wow, how lovely!' ? Not sure I have anything more constructive or useful to add though. Will come back later. 

    Sorry to hear about your dog.

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Hi LeadFarmer,  I can only agree with LG on this.  I wish my garden looked like that.

    I would defininatly keep your two areas separate.  Perhaps a path on the diagonal from the patio to the "other garden"  Just a thought would a veg patch do up by the shed? 

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,449

    Well I'm certainly pleased with how it looks now, compared to 2007. But some of the borders are quite thin with only limited planting opportunity, and I'm sure I can sacrifice some of the lawn to create planting areas. 

    The closest 'before & after' comparison are perhaps the following two photos..










    One improvement will be laying a path alongside the privet hedge to the left of the garden, it will making sweeping up the cuttings so much easier instead of them falling into the border. The border here is currently very narrow, the path will replace it, with planting on the other side.


    I think the hardest decision will be deciding whether to get rid of certain plants that I inherited with the garden. It seems a shame to get rid of a healthy plant, but maybe I need to be bold enough to get rid of plants I don't really want, and start with a blank(ish) canvas?


  • The plan looks lovely.  I have something similar.   I would say remember that if you keep a lawn, keep it simple and try not to increase the amount of edge!  I find it is the edge that takes time, and I increased mine massively without realising!  I am busy trying to increase the borders.  And DEFINITELY get rid of plants that you don't love.  Someone will have them and love them, make a stall outside your house and sell them!!  Also if you make your borders bigger remember to have a way to get to the middle of them.  I am sure I will end up with no lawn one day, they are so demanding.

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,449

    Thats a good point you make on the lawn edging Meadow7. Im intending to use steel Everedge edging tips which I purchased the other year. I'll be able to use a roller mower around the edge and they should make trimming the edge much easier with edging clippers. Thats the plan anyway!


    Heres a plan of just the upper half of the garden..



  • If you are using Everedge that should make life much easier, I can't afford the amount I need!  Will you put it all around the lawn?  Its a really nice plan, and should look lovely from the house too


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,918

    I love your garden LF. The path down the side is a good idea - hedges are a pain if they're at the back of a border and no proper footing for pruning and clipping.

    You could make your grass an oval - on the angle. Similar position to where it is now. Make the pond as big as you can and within decent sight of the house. You'll spend hours looking at it - especially in winter  image

    If a plant's not earning it's keep- be ruthless. List the ones you're unsure of, then look them up in a catalogue and ask yourself if you were buying everything brand new for the garden, would you buy those?

    That's my tuppence worth  image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,449

    Meadow7, yes I think I'l put it all the way around the lawn, though i may need to purchase a few more lengths.


    FG, I definitely want to be able to see the pond from the living room as I look out of the window. Maybe I should position it further down the garden so its next to the patio, lost to where the outdoor seating is shown?

    The building you see in the lower right is actually my garage. The house is at the bottom of the plan with the patio doors looking out onto the patio, as per the photo below





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