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Some beginner questions

I know these must seem like stupid questions but I have to ask! Currently, I just have grass and some pot plants. Half my garden is currently rubble but soon I'll be removing this and adding topsoil and plants. I'm wondering what to do with it. 

Part of it will be on a slope and I've heard that slopes need groundcover plants to stop erosion. Can I not have grass?

When I add plants/shrubs do they have to be in a 'bed'? Everyone seems to do this, having plants in beds/borders. Is it wrong to just have single plants in various places over the garden? 



  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 37,277

    Hi ripply. Never think that your questions are stupid. In answer to your slope question, grass is a ground cover plant and it stops erosion - just look at the planting of Marram grass around our shores to stabilise sand dunes. Your garden is your own and you can do with it exactly as you please. Some gardeners like to have neat, straight line gardens with perfect lawns, others like a more blowsy wild effect. Nothing is ever 'wrong'. Basically whatever pleases you is right. If you like to have your shrubs dotted around go right ahead and do it. Never feel that you have to justify your choices to anyone - you garden to please yourself, not other people.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 37,277

    Very much in tune Verdun!

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • ripplyripply Posts: 73

    Thank you. I feel much better about it now. When I tried asking people I know about this, they just laughed when I suggested having plants in different places, and told me it would be ridiculous and they must be in beds.

    I'd like to plant my hydrangeas so that they stand out and have plenty of room. And I love the thought of Spring flowering bulbs spread out in the grass. I don't want it to be too formal. Of course, I'm just starting out with gardening so maybe I'll change my mind later, but I can see it all in my head and it'd be lovely to give it a go. 

  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 5,168

    It must be quite exciting to have a blank canvas. I agree with Ladybird and Verdun about making a garden how you fancy it to be. PS2 makes a good point about planning for years ahead. A garden evolves through time and you can add to it or change aspects to suit your needs, tastes or to improve a plant's environment/vigour.

    I have found that if you are struggling with planting ideas, plant care or would like inspiration - then this forum will point you in the right direction. Have fun and enjoy! 

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,633

    If you are planting shrubs in the grass, remember to remove enough turf, so that the shrub is not competing too much with the grass for nutrition. A hole the size of the root ball is not enough.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,904

    Yes you can do whatever you want but if you're thinking of dotting plants all over your lawn you will kick yourself to death every time you have to cut it. I have two willows in just over half an acre of lawn and that's enough to get right on my wick! 

    I do have large groups of planting with no formal beds as such but do think of the practicalities before the hole digging begins. image

    Have fun.

    ps go look at the garden pictures thread. Amazing.

    Last edited: 18 August 2016 20:29:26

  • Tray14Tray14 Posts: 210

    Totally agree - do it your way - you will find over time that your garden is never finished - it changes as you change - ENJOY image

  • ripplyripply Posts: 73

    I can imagine it would be much harder mowing the grass but I won't be having loads of plants all over the place. I just really want to avoid having one straight border with plants and then lawn. The front garden is quite neat and formal looking so I want the back to be different. I'd prefer grass on the part that slopes and it's not so steep that mowing would be hard. Groundcover plants just seem to take up space and then I can't walk on it. 

    I'd prefer to have plants I really love and put them wherever suits them best in the garden, rather than choose things that suit one area. I won't have a lot of them. It'll still be mostly grass as I like the open space. It is nice having a blank canvas and imagining what it'll look like, though I'm sure I'll make plenty of mistakes! 

  • ripplyripply Posts: 73

    I did consider terracing it, but I think for now at least I'll just have grass. The area with the slope gets dappled shade from 6 large cherry blossom trees and I want to try growing snowdrops or some other bulbs there. It could be a nice area for my camellia too. I might end up terracing it someday as it would give me more space for planting, since I keep coming across more plants that I'd like to have.

    I'm not sure when the garden renovation will be done but the plants I have at the minute (in containers) will still be quite small. Is it bad to plant these in the ground? I keep reading that it's bad to put something in too large a pot so is being planted in the ground even worse? 

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