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New to gardening, please help

I have just bought my first house and it has a reasonable garden in the front and back. It has been neglected prior to my buying it and it seems a shame to leave it as it is.

I have never done any gardening before apart from cutting the grass.

I know there are hedgehog's and other wildlife in the area so I want a garden that will encourage them. But where do I start?

I have had to remove the hedge as it had mostly died and fallen over, and I intend to put fencing up. But what should I do next?

Please help, any advice would be welcome.




  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,529

    As you have just moved in it is probably just as well for you to get the fence put up as you intend and as the temperature will be dropping soon your grass will stop growing so that will save your lawn mowing duties. I would leave any major changes until you get a chance to see what pops up in terms of bulbs and Spring flowering plants. During the dormant months you can think about what you would like to see in your garden. Decide whether you just want an ornamental garden or if you would like to grow some fruit and vegetables. Work out where NSE and W are and where your sunny and shady sides are. This is a good way to start.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    Hello Ilionosdelyth, and welcome to the the forumimage

    There are lots of friendly folk here who are more than willing to help, but first, give us an idea of where you are in the UK and what you want from your garden.

    We don't need your post code, but a N,S,E or W helps. 

    For example: I have a tiny urban patch in South Manchester, others have acres of land down south, and we have members in the highlands of Scotland.

    Photos are a bonus, and help enormously.

  • Thank you so much for helping me.

    I live in north Wales, not far from Caernarfon, and less than a mile from the sea. I know that the sun rises to the back of the house.

    I've lived in the county all my life so I'm familiar with how changeable the weather is here. Mostly windy, lots of rain and just enough sun to keep you warm. Perfect ?

    I am aiming for an easy to maintain garden, not too formal as I have a dog. And no ponds as I have a 1 1/2 year old nephew who likes getting into mischief already.

    Again thank you for any advice

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    Hello again LD (if I may?image

    This is the season for winding down for most gardeners, a time to prepare for the winter shutdown and plan for next year.

    The best advice I can give you for a new garden is to watch your plot to see where the sun rises and sets for morning vs afternoon sun for your best seating area plan.

    Then decide if you want to keep a lawn. A necessity if you have young'uns, paddling pool, footy for boys,  tent making etcimage How often do you have nephew round?

    All the prettying it up starts next spring, apart from bulb planting for spring 2017, which has started already. (Don't panic though, I've not p!anted all mine yetimage)

    A new garden, and a new gardener?  Hope we can help you make a love!y space that works for you image

  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,787

    S'mae Llinosdelyth? 

    I'm sure you will find a wealth of help, ideas and advice on this forum. 

    You may well require fencing plus some hedging as wind-protection if you are semi-coastal. In a new garden you may need to wait to see what appears each season next year and makes lots of notes and photos. Ask neighbours for some tips on what thrives in the area, they may even give you some cuttings to help you on your way. 

    For some instant impact and colour you could make some pots up next spring - I'm sure your nephew will love 'helping' you water them. 

    Keep us posted and send pics so everyone can help you in your new adventure. 

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • Removing to a home with your first garden, very exciting. Although I have had gardens in the past I too have moved this year and what I am enjoying is deciding what I need to do. If your priority is wildlife then do what you gave to do now (like the fence) and then put up the bird feeders and then watch the garden.

    As others have said, spend the winter planning. No need to rush into anything now. For example do you want some vegetable? If so decide where to put them and then do you need/want a green house etc. How about some chickens, great for using up garden scraps and you have eggs coming out if your ears lol

    Put useful things on your Christmas list like gardening books, tools etc 

    Most of all gave fun and don't worry because I believe you can do no wrong in the garden, if anyone asks tell them that's the way you planned it lol.

  • MarygoldMarygold Posts: 331

    You say you know there are hedgehogs around. In that case, don't go overboard with clearing yet as they could be nesting/hibernating in an overgrown garden.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,338

    and try, if you can, to visit a few local National Trust or other open gardens. Your own place may not have sweeping acres but many of these places label their trees and shrubs, so they can be a great source of ideas for plants that grow well in your area and for ideas about what looks nice together, or what sort of paths or steps you might like (if you need any). Wander about slowly, looking close to your feet for plants and things that make you say 'Oh - THAT'S what I'd like' then find out what it is image

    Try to find a local Garden centre or nursery which has more plants than Christmas decorations (no easy task, I can assure you). There's often a good nursery man/woman at these places who can give you advice on plants for specific situations (sunny or shady or windy or wet). 

    Also get a little soil test kit while you're at the garden centre and test some soil from a few places around both your front and back gardens (it's really easy, just follow the instructions on the pack) to find out if your soil is acidic or limey or neither.

    Then as everyone has said, wait and see what comes up in Spring before you plan any major work.

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,305

    Yes, be careful not to disturb the hedgehogs - we nearly stepped on one hibernating in a bundle of grass and leaves when clearing an overgrown bank shortly after moving in here.

    And if you're putting up fences don't forget to leave access/egress points for the hedgehogs - they need to range over quite a wide area each night, and males can travel up to 3km in search of females.  We have little arched 'gateways' at the foot of our back fence and the hedgehogs come in and out in the summer.  Lots of info here 

    Your garden sounds great - I agree with the others, don't rush things - see what appears and get to know the sunny and shady spots, the areas that catch the wind and find the places you'll want to sit out and read in ... and enjoy image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,211

    Have you any photos you can put on here? That will also help with any suggestions as to plants etc. 

    Click on the camera icon, top right of the posting window, and follow instructions. You may have to resize.

    Feeding birds will be a good start for your wildlife friendly spot, and if you can do a pond, that will be even better. If you have room for a compost bin that's also a good idea, and something you can do now.

    Take your time with planning - it helps if you have an idea of what you don't like. That's every bit as important as what you do like or need. This is a good time of year to make lists image

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

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