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Plants for future driveway beds

I'm looking for some advice on planting in the driveway. It's not going to be happening yet and the drive itself will be a big job, but I already know I want a border on either side. In summer, the top half is sunny and the bottom is shaded. In winter, the entire driveway is in the shade of the house. What does this mean for the type of plants I should use? Am I able to use sun loving plants in the top half if they only flower in summer?



  • SplandySplandy Posts: 161

    Any advice at all? I'm quite new to all of this and have never created anything from scratch before. Would sun loving plants be ok at the top in summer or would being in the shade in winter kill them? I assume I can't plant shade loving plants at the top because it's sunny in summer.

  • Herbaceous perennials or deciduous shrubs will be dormant in winter anyway so may be ok. Things like lavender & other Mediterranean plants will not. I am not the best at design myself so you could try writing to GW & see if they print your query. look on rest of GW website as well. The RHS have a greening grey Britain campaign to encourage people to green up front gardens and driveways, you will find some help on their website even if you are not a member.

    AB Still learning

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    Hi Splandyimage. I think more info is needed for best advice.

    From your description I'm guessing that the drive is north facing???

    Where are you?  Plants that thrive in SE of UK may struggle in NW Scotland. Give us a clue and you may hear from forum members gardening in a similar climate.

    Things like soil type, how exposed the site is and the size of the beds is important also.

    There is a huge choice of plants out there, do you want low maintainance evergreens or a splash of colour?  What's your desired look?

    Sounds like you have a blank canvas at the moment. Post a photo, they help us to see the space.  Good luck?

  • SplandySplandy Posts: 161

    Thanks for the replies. I will certainly have a look at the rest of the site, Iain. I have had a look at the greening grey Britain site in the past, but generally browsing - not with a view to sorting out my own driveway. Will have another look at it now that it's more relevant to me.

    Hi kitty2, yes, the drive is north facing And slopes downwards towards the house. I'm in the midlands. I'd like the beds to be quite large, but am probably overestimating the space. Soil type and size of beds etc aren't known yet. Haven't started any work on it, it's currently a mess of gravel, slabs and cat poo! I think it will have space for 2 cars and a border either side, as it is fairly wide. Really don't want a plain block paved driveway - I need the space for the cars but my main ambition is to get some plants in. I don't like conifers at all and definitely don't want any lawn as some people in the street have. I find that most gardens described as low maintenance look quite dull, though i don't have lots of free time. Perfectly happy to postpone housework in favour of getting into the garden, though ? The information Iain gave above is what I've been wondering about. As a complete novice, I don't know whether things requiring full sun need full sun all year round or whether they will be dormant throughout the winter months and sunlight doesn't matter. I will take a photo to add to the thread a little later on, but i dont think it will add too much because the beds don't exist yet. Only in my daydreams at the moment ?

  • SplandySplandy Posts: 161


    Have spoiled you with three photos instead ? First two are taken from upstairs window and show the right and left hand side. Last photo taken from inside the porch, couldn't capture that bottom bit from upstairs. Apologies for all the rubish - it often gets blown down and trapped, haven't managed to clean up after yesterday's storm yet.

    The top half is sunny all day in summer, it's currently all in shade.

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Do you intend to turn the stepped paved area into a drive for two cars? If so, it only looks about 20 foot wide which would not leave much room for borders. You have to think of opening  on each side of the two cars. I don't think you will have any room for borders.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • SplandySplandy Posts: 161

    I think you're right, I haven't measured it properly yet but i don't think your estimate is far off. Quite a few houses have one half as a driveway, with one car parked behind the other, and the other half as a lawn. It doesnt look long enough for that but they manage it. If that wasn't possible, I'd have to decide what was more important. We don't have two cars at the moment, only one very small one, but i thought making it a double one would future proof it. I suspect that my husband would choose the extra parking space and I'd want a single space with planting. Probably not the most sensible option.

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    Are both sides yours Splandy, the stepped half and the graveled side?

    Good to see that next door (left side) seem to have a healthy looking lawn, which means it's not that dark despite being north facing.

    I'm guessing that the gravelled bed area beside the steps gets the most sun. A potential spot for your summer colour.

  • SplandySplandy Posts: 161

    Yes, both parts belong to us. The gravel bed area is supposed to be a driveway but we can't use it at the moment. The grass on the left of my photo is a grass verge along the street belonging to the council, the left side neighbours also have gravel and slabs. Neighbours on the right have a lawn which looks quite dark. I do need to get measurements before I start dreaming about my impossibly huge borders. I haven't noticed that the gravel bed is any sunnier, all of the top part seems to be sunny in summer. Also need to decide whether to keep steps or just have a slope for walking down. The steps are a pain for the pushchair but I won't be using that forever. Are there any advantages to having steps instead of a slope?

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    Doh! I got my left and right mixed up imageimage

    Just to clarify, the side with no wall and the bins is your current driveway?

    The stepped side (with wall) leads to your porch and front door?

    You hope to combine the two into a double driveway with borders either side?

    Sorry if I seem a bit dim image.  I think hogweed is looking at just the stepped bit, I'm thinking the whole lot is yours.

    When I first had a pram (20 years agoimage) I had OH dig up the narrow crumbling concrete path. We relaid it with tarmac £££ cost effective at the time.

    We only have a gentle slope though. I hope someone with better knowledge of working with a slope can pitch in with this one.

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