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Daunting large garden and where to start

Hi Have a large field on the back of my house which is literally a blank canvas. i have no idea what to do or how to even start on such a scale. everything i consider seems small and pointless or that i would have to scale it to such a degree that it wouldn't be financially viable. 

does anyone have any advice on what to do or some picture examples for inspiration? 


Thanks a lot. 



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Does the field have boundary hedges?  If not, that's where I would start as they will provide shelter from the wind and a better microclimate which will allow you to grow a wider range of plants and shrubs.  You need some focal points too, so consider planting some trees.  Some folk here have very large gardens which they created from scratch so hopefully will be able to give additional advice. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358

    In addition to Bob's advice about hedges and trees, Once you have those in place, start with an area nearest the house. If you have a patio or seating area of some kind, get some nice planting there. That gives you a focal point close at hand and some motivation to do more. The areas further away won't be seen close up, so they can always wait for a little while. 

    It can be daunting with a big plot, but tackling it a bit at a time is the easiest way. It will evolve over time anyway  image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Agree with Bob here, unless you want open vistas, a boundary hedge to start with, a wildlife hedge is a good one. Maybe a field maple or two depending on your space. Giving definition will make your space seem smaller and you can then take it in sections. Do one area at a time, planning what you need to include first then planning what you'd like to include second. Doing a garden in sections isn't as daunting and far easier than an overall vision. You'll change your mind several times, if not constantly, so a bit at a time allows you to do it. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,854

    We had the same problem when we started on our field.   Got a man with a  bulldozer to smooth the surface and scoop out a natural pond for drainage as it was boggy cow pasture before.   Then put up a fence and planted shrubs to make a windbreak and attract birds.   Put the rest to grass except for a terrace seating area at the back of the house.

    Over the years we've dug out beds and planted more stuff and bulldozer man came back to build a railway sleeper retaining wall and scoop earth about to make a flat fruit and veg area behind the house.

    You need to decide what you want - seating area, pond, woodland area, shrubbery, island beds, evergreens, fruits, veggies, pergolas, arbour etc, children's play space, doggy space, greenhouse, shed etc.   Work out how much time you want to spend outside enjoying the space and how much time you have to spare to maintain it all.   Will you buy in or grow from seeds and cuttings?  Does it have to be instant or can it develop as you and your ideas develop?

    Try and draw it out on paper then start in one corner and work out, or back, or along as time and budget and plants allow..

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • marinamarina Posts: 2

    orchard of fruit trees with bee hives?  a wildlife pond in one area maybe?

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    For the first few years I would do nothing except: Let the grass grow long and cut paths through it to a - nicely planted group of trees, a sitting area (or two), a piece of sculpture etc or some such thing. You can then sit on your seat, or under your trees and review your rolling acres and think!! Grass paths cut into long grass give a sense of mystery and a journey (and they are temporary so a good thing while you think). Once you get a feel for the place, you then can plan more permanent features.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Since you have plenty of room I'd certainly echo the above suggestions of woodland, orchard and pond (probably in that order). Fruit & veg or pretty things or both?  If both, do you want them in separate areas or mixed up as in a cottage garden?

    What's on the other side of your boundaries?  If it's livestock, does the owner have a ditch and fence/hedge to keep them out?  If not, you'll need a stock-proof one - or a ha-ha.  Or a chat with the neighbour image

  • LandlubberLandlubber Posts: 396

    Love bee hives - but better in a large garden I think ...image

  • Perhaps a picture would help. Half my problem is i don't know what i want. Id thought orchid and hives but don't really know how to 'zone' out each part because of its size. 

    my plot is approx 3 acres, an oblong field cut in half by an old quarry. the middle of the field rolls down into the quarry. Ive fenced off two thirds and left it as 'wiled' which makes the top half close to the house more manageable. 

    I tend to mow this with my ride on as i enjoy. Ive had 800 trees (birch, Larch, Oak, Ceder, Pine, Hawthorn planted down the edge (like a hedge) on one side and filled the last 3rd with trees to make a woodland eventually. 

    Each side of the field is flanked by drystone walls and the right side by mature trees from the neighbours pilot. Im at the top of a hill so the wind can be strong from left to right (east to west)

    Ive built myself a shed in one corner and close to the house i made a drystone wall (badly) that incorporated a bbq and a small decked area... still work in progress. 

    I like the idea of an orchid allowing the grass to grow wound them (save some mowing) but the sheer scale is daunting. I've not had a garden before so gone from one extreme to the other image

    obelixx some pictures would be very inspirational if you would like to share. 



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