Help with designs for odd front garden?

Hi all!

We just moved in and I am l already itching to get stuck into some gardening! However I am not sure what to do with the front garden. It's a bit of a mess at the moment and is very ugly especially compared to the other well kept gardens on the street. 

http://imgur.com/a/gQACT

The garden is west facing and is relatively steep. 

Our ideas at the moment are:

1. Dig up all the bricks, cement, gravel and turn it into lawn keeping the flowerbed at the end of the garden (where the tree was) and adding a few flowerbeds along the sides. 

2. Cover the bricks with gravel and try and create a terraced gravel, rockery style garden.

At the moment we can't decide between the two options, but are very open to hear suggestions, advice or other's experiences. Thank you!  

Posts

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 14,428

    HOW MUCH TIME, MONEY AND ENERGY DO YOU HAVE?

    IF YOU HAVE PLENTY OF ALL OF THEM I WOULD GET RID OF EVERYTHING AND HAVE A LAWN.

    BEAR IN MIND THAT YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE HEDGE TO KEEP ITVTRIMMED. SO NO FLOWERBEDS ALONG THERE.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Thank you for your reply. 

    My OH can do the heavy work of removing everything but how much should we budget for? 

    Why would you not go for the gravel terrace idea out of interest? 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 53,221

    If you don't have a lot of time for upkeep I'd be tempted to have an alpine-style garden, removing patches of bricks and planting in spaces, and scattering seeds of low-growing plants like creeping thymus between the bricks - before long most of the bricks will be covered - you could just retain some meandering pathways around/through it.

    Absolutely don't spread gravel on top of a hard surface like brick - it will move under your feet and cause falls.  My brother broke his ankle because gravel moved under his foot as he walked over it.  

    Last edited: 15 November 2016 13:31:03

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







  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,370

    I think I would go for the terraced idea a) because I lack the 'lawn' gene that makes looking after one properly in any way enjoyable (especially a sloping lawn), and b) I would find the outlook more interesting, particularly in Winter. As you presumably walk past it most days, a mix of colour and scent for the whole year would be more appealing to me.

    As Pansy said, it depends how much money you have to spend getting the work done and then your enthusiasm for looking after it once you've done it. To me, a terraced garden that can be made gradually in stages as resources and time permit is more manageable than blitzing it over a couple of weeks to get it totally renovated. But then I work, don't have a big income and generally have to 'do the gardening' myself, so that's just my view. It's a personal thing, gardening. image

    To search for perfection is all very well, but to look for heaven is to live here in hell
  • Thank you all so much for your replies!

    Me and my OH both work but we can spare the time needed to work on the garden. 

    Thanks for the advice about avoiding gravel on bricks Dove! 

    Raisingirl, I really love your idea! Is there anywhere I can find examples of that type of garden? 

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,370

    Look for 'dry garden' or 'drought resistant' planting ideas. I'm not sure where you are in the UK, so don't know what might be near you. Perhaps have a look at Beth Chatto's dry garden - slightly different scale, of course, but quite a few banks and terraces to inspire with gorgeous planting groups.

    As Dove describes, if you remove sections of brick and plant shrubs and plants that thrive in warm dry conditions (assuming the soil will tend to be dry under all that concrete and stone). Mix in grit (if it's not already gritty) and plenty of compost as you go because the 'nature' has probably been lost with that big tree taking nutrients out of the soil and the hard paving stopping any new life getting in there - by the looks of it for some years. 

    Exciting - new project image

    To search for perfection is all very well, but to look for heaven is to live here in hell
  • We had a small patch of lawn on our front garden and it was a tad annoying having to mow it out the front and access to our front was- judging by your photo's- easier for us than it will be for you.  Not to mention the large hedge that will no doubt block light and generally prevent a good lawn forming.

    I love those worn bricks; you could remove a few here and there and plant in the gaps that creates.

    I've added a path around our front garden and I'm planting it up currently, basically it gives me a reason to go there and can hopefully help wildlife out a little better than a pristine lawn will.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,370
    BobFlannigon says:

     can hopefully help wildlife out a little better than a pristine lawn will.

    See original post

    Excellent point image. A nice mix of long season flowering plants is far more bee friendly than a 'green concrete' perfect lawn 

    To search for perfection is all very well, but to look for heaven is to live here in hell
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,721

    Is the brick bit supposed to be an extra parking space? I would def go for the gravel garden look. And for gravel gardens I think less is more. As well as plants add some groups of large cobbles to add interest. Perhaps a very large pot in the paved bit if not a parking space, planted up or left empty. A couple of pots at the door to add seasonal colour and you are good to go. A good tidy up of the bricks, edgings and hedge will help as well.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • How do you want to use this garden? Do you need to keep the parking area? Ifso, you could still plant in some resistant low-growers, such as the various thymes. If you want to sit in it, add a simple barrier alongside the drive to enclose it; a trellis, for example, with suitable climber. If you just want something nice to look at and easy to keep tidy, then the suggestions for removing some bricks and planting there are good. But be sure to choose carefully for year-round interest. You could also attract birds to watch if you installed a birdbath/water feature.

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