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Dear Community,

I recently moved into a ground floor flat in South West London with a good sized garden - but it was seriously overgrown image  (pictures at foot of post)

There was a huge spoon shaped fir tree that blocked almost all natural light getting into the garden and even the flat.  However that is now gone - responding to previous compaints from other residents in regards to the light the landlord has had the trees cut right down.  I am very fond of trees and would have preferred some kind of compromise but so be it.  At least the garden (and flat) receives sunlight now.

There was a shin-high sea of weeds, brambles and vines (?) covering the entire garden - but the same company that felled the tree took a chainsaw (or similar) to that and has chopped them all to stubs, varying in length and height.

So, now I am left with some good, honest work to do.

I would be deeply appreciative of any tips, suggestions or advice that anyone can offer.

I suppose essentially I just want to rid the ground of the all the weeds and unwanted plants and start with a relatively balnk canvas.

Thanks image











  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,115

    Hi Mark- you have a bit of a task there!  As you say clearing all the debris and starting with a clean slate is the best thing to do. It may take a while but in the meantime you can start planning what you want from the space. If you can give us an idea of the aspect- including any other buildings etc nearby that will cast shade- that will help with plant suggestions, and also tell us what the soil is like and what the overall size is. If the plot's very shady for instance, it's probably not worth having grass.  If you want to get some trees back in, go for some of the airy types like Birch which won't give dense shade, or the ornamental cherries or almonds, depending on how much room you have and what else you want to plant. Amelanchier is another useful shrub which can be grown as a small tree. Make a list of the things you want to have- ie patio/dining area, veg plot etc and make a little sketch of where those things can go so that you can see what you're left with for general planting. If there's features outwith the garden that you want to screen, include those too.

    Hope that's a little help to start you off. In a way it's good that you're starting now, because you've got a couple of months of decent weather to get the clearing done and that means you can take your time planning over the winter to get going in spring! image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you for your reply Fairygirl.  Very appreciated image

    I will gather the information you requested and also have a think about what I want from my plot of land. 

    I will get back to you as soon as.

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Hello Mark, is that delapidated fence at the bottom yours or the council's? How about the one on the side? If they are yours you could spend the autumn thinkng about what to replace them with then get them sorted over the winter. Taller fence would maybe mean less light but it would also mean more privacy. You could put up taller trellis on posts as well and grow things over that.But the plants would have to come along after the clearing of the ground.

  • Hello waterbutts.

    Thanks for your post.

    The fence at the foot is the property of the council.  The fence on the side is my responsibility.

    The bottom fence wasn't originally broken - the damage was done by the tree people whilst removing the dismembered tree.  They are coming back to fix it.  Sometime image

    Your suggestion of putting trellis up on posts is something that my neighbour to the right has already done with theirs.. 

    In fact, my neighbour came over and offered to put up the same trellis on the bottom fence and erect a side fence for 50% of the material costs.

    So, that's an offer that I intend to take them up on.  But before that I will need to get the ground back to good, clean, honest dirt.

    It will be tough work as I am on my own - but I am excited.


  • addictaddict Posts: 659

    HI Mark image 

    To make your life a little easier decide whare you want to start and cover as much of the rest as you can. Black plastic, old synthetic carpet anything that won't rot and excludes light. Then at least it won't start romping away and you end up back where you started.

  • Hi addict,

    Thanks for your advice.  I like the sound of it.  That's how I should start then ?  Get some black sheeting and cover the lot with it ?  This will kill off the plants.

    When would I take the sheeting off ?  And what would I do then ?

    Apologies for my general ignorance.  But I am keen to learn image

  • addictaddict Posts: 659

    It won't kill off everything unfortunately unless you want to wait a good 6 months to a year image even then bindweed will still be alive!

    Notice from your photos you have brambles and ivy. They won't die for a long time but at least if covered they won't grow either! So yes, cover everything now if you want and wait until you are ready to start then just uncover an area you want to work on. Once you've got it all clear cover it back up and move on to the next bit. When its all done give it a good mulch with composted horse or cow manure and get planting.image

  • So, when you say get to work on it you mean use a pitchfork on it ?  And pull up all the weeds/brambles/plants ? 

    I assume I remove these from the garden entirely ?  Or do I make a heap.

    I am very new to this image

  • addictaddict Posts: 659

    Its fine ask away Mark image We were all new once lol.

    Where it is covered most of the perennial/annual weeds will die off...soft stuff.

    Brambles and ivy anything that is woodier won't but will be weakened and easier to get out.

    Plants? Is there anything you want to save in there? Don't cover if you do.

    A common all garden spade and fork will do the trick. Pitchfork not necessary. image

    Make sure you get all the roots out or they will grow back.Do not compost any of it. It will only grow or seed if you do. Get rid of it. 

    Covering up again when you have done will stop any weed seeds from landing on your now nicely cleared soil so don't uncover until you are ready to mulch and plant.

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