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Large overgrown garden on a hill

we have taken over a large overgrown garden...

overwellmed by it..

ive started but end up doing bits all over.

how do I plan what's important and where do we start.

we live in Ironbridge 


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,361

    Hi Pete, welcome to the forum

    let's see some pics  image

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,159

    Do a bit at a time, starting with weeds and pruning. Decide on a bed, do it until it's done without getting side-tracked. Then do another. Leave the plants for the first year so you can see what comes up. Find a notebook and as plants come up and flower note down what you like and what you want to get rid of.

    Or is it a wild sort of garden that needs re-designing and hasn't got beds and plants? Buy a book on garden design, look up about gardens on Google and do some sketching of what you would like.

    Blank canvas or already there and lost in the undergrowth?

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,012

    Do you live in the house that came with the garden? I would suggest two options: the part of the garden you can see from your favourite place to sit in the house, or chose a place you like to sit in the garden. Start clearing weeds either moving from the window outwards along the view or from the seat in a widening circle. Cut overgrown grass, pull out anything you can recognise as definitely weed, take photos of plants you aren't sure about and ask the good people here for IDs (they seem to be really good at it image ). And then spend a while sitting and looking at it and decide what you want it to do - open up a longer view? entice you to walk out? provide a private sunny spot to eat lunch? offer a glimpse of wildlife at work? Then design a patio, or a path, a border, a pond or a bed to work with the landscape as much as possible, filling in between any good plants you have there.

    By autumn, hopefully you'll be able to sit in your seat and feel a sense of achievement for that bit you can see from there and time spent out in the garden this summer will probably have shown you next year's target - a veg patch, a lovely shrub that's overgrown and needs a 'setting', a path to a compost bin that gets too slippery, a better view to sit and stare at, a flat piece of grass for the kids to play, whatever.

    Bite sized pieces is the only way, unless you have unlimited manpower to clear it all in one season. If it's already overgrown, another year or 3 still overgrown won't make much difference. You can sheet mulch areas of really bad weeds to reduce them seeding into your hard earned clear spaces. This I think is the best way to take over a garden - form it around yourself and your family and how you want to use it - and be patient. All of it part done will leave you facing the same challenge this time next year. One section done properly allows you to feel like you're making real progress, however slow.

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Keep the grass cut this year then sit in it a LOT to get some ideas of what you want and where. If it already has borders try and keep them weeded and see what comes up. Go and visit any nearby gardens to get ideas of what plants and styles you like. I think the first year should just be rumination and trying to get the neglect under control a bit. Spend the winter putting your plans down on paper. Prioritise and then  get started. Gardens evolve over years especially large ones so take your time. 

    Some photos would be good!

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845

    Has it been loved in the past, and what are the overgrown plants that are in it?

    Down the way from us there is a property that had an amazing californian lilac, and quite a different sedum front lawn, that was amazing when it all flowered, but for the rest of the year you might never know.

    Anyway, people moved in, and demolished the lot!

    If someone has taken a lot of time and care over a garden, it's worth noting what is there, and what works.

    It's taken me about five years to get to know my garden, and actually the best bits are probably the parts that I haven't touched.

    I wanted to do my own piece in it.

    I've planted too densely in places and haven't done what's suggested above and done one section at a time.  Which is all good advice.

    It does take some time to work out where the sun falls.  You might want a morning eating/resting area and or and evening one, and they could be in totally different places in the garden.

    At he beginning of the summer I crave for the sun.  Come mid summer I crave for a nice shady area to retreat to.

    So a good mix of areas is nice.

    Get out there now before buds burst and get some photos of the scaffolding.  If you have deciduous plants it could look totally different in a couple of weeks - it will close in.  Bulbs may come and go, other plants may spring from the ground where you think there is nothing.

    It takes no time to cut down a garden - though it takes time to clear up the spoils - but it can take many hours planting out, and waiting for things to grow.

    Having said that, I planted a hedge at the beginning of last year (2 year old bare roots) that were only about 30cm/40cm, and now they are happily about a metre and half.

    There's a section of the garden I planned to plant some dogwood.  I turned my back and some wild dogwood had seeded and grown without any intervention from me.  So there are also happy accidents.

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845

    I know someone has already mentioned aspects, but do work out where the sun rises and falls.  I have a west facing garden on a hill - house at the bottom.  In the evening the sun sets opposite the garden which is great.  If I was on the west side of the valley, I'd get great sunrises no sunsets.

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