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Seeking Kerb Appeal

Hi Everyone,

I've recently moved house and looking at creating a low maintenance front garden that is colourful, classy and wildlife friendly (we get a lot of Hedgehogs, birds and the odd red squirrel). I want to keep the hedge and the hydrangea but otherwise I'm open to suggestions. The soil in the borders is quite sandy and seems to have a lot of pebble dash mixed in despite my efforts to remove this. The lawn is very mossy and I was considering re-turfing but it may not be the right time of year. I can't afford to redo the drive. Any ideas greatfully appreciated. Hopefully my pics load okay.

I plan to update with after pictures once I have re-designed so that people can see the results of suggestions.



  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Difficult to see the area in the first pic.

    Are the 2nd and third pictures the same area, as the third pic the wall has no coping stones and in the second pic it has?

    How much ground id to the right in the 4th pic?

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    I think photos 1 & 4 are the same area from different angles hogweed. It would be the left side, if you were stood on the pavement. Then there's the drive in the middle, and pics 3 & 4 are the right side. 3 is the higher level and 4 is below, look at the birdbath.

    Did you want to keep the grass CumbriMan?  It seems a bit of an awkward spot for mowing.

  • Wow Cumbriman!

    What potential image

    Is it south facing/does it get a lot of sun?

    If so, I'd look at plants that do well in harsh conditions and like poorer soil - loads of different types of grasses (low maintenance) and perhaps a lovely Phormium in that triangular bit, as a real architectural statement plant. My favourite is chocomint, (lime green and choc brown leaves), but there are loads of varieties and colours. Here's a photo of another one:


    Some verbena bonariensis would self seed and create an easy mass that grows fast and attracts pollinators, then birds like goldfinches that eat seeds. They also grow in many soil conditions.

    You could use the walled bits for pants that will hang over the edges and grow in stony, rocky places (aubretias - cheap and cheerful) as well as peppering the walls with saxifrages and sedums (all low maintenance and fairly tough).

    Personally, I'd probably ditch grass and go for a lovely plum slate or gravel, into which you can plant. Lower maintenance too.

    Show us the pics when you're done image

  • Plants - not pants, obviously image

    Look at stipas too:

    And carex:

    Deschampsia is glorious:

    And my personal favourite is hakkoneichloa, for edges of borders and walls - especially All Gold which is tinged gold.

    Here's a photo of standard Hakk:

    (I have no interest in the site by the way - was just to show you some quick examples!)

  • CumbriManCumbriMan Posts: 67

    H all,

    Thanks for the responses and apologies for the confusion; the pics aren't the best. Kitty 2's response is accurate. images 1 and 4 are different views of the left hand side of my driveway, images 2 & 3 represent different views of the other side. I have no idea whether my garden faces south. The sun was coming round from the left of my property at approx. 2pm and it usually sets in front of the house. I will try to find this out and post in due course!

    The lawn is fiddly to mow as it's quite small but I was thinking of keeping the grass as the rear of the property is currently a patio surrounded by mature boarders. I have plans to completely revamp that are too but it may have to wait until next year. I do however like the ides of gravel or slate so may have a rethink!

    Some really nice flower suggestions, I particularly like the ides of having things which will trail and hang over the walls. The aubretias, Phormium, and verbena bonariensis are particularly taking my fancy. I hadn't really thought about grasses. The Mexican one looks lovely but I'd have to be careful it didn't dominate. Another consideration is wind. It is often blowing a gale where I live.

    I was looking at placing a hebe heartbreak / frozen flame or two into my borders as I love the way they keep their colour through winter. I'll have to plan how all these will gel together, my own approach to planting has been haphazard.  It's hard to see from the images but the top left of picture two has lavender growing in the highest border. We had bergonias and marigolds alongside these last year as they seemed popular on our neighbourhood. The next level down has two conifers (?) which we replanted from pots we had at our last home from our previous home. We also planted a small hydrangea in the corner which is just visible in the right of picture three. There is a small rose bush to the left of this. I have no idea what the plant to the right of the conifer in picture three is but it has furry green leaves and is awash with purple flowers in summer though it does tend to take over a large area of the border.

    Behind the front wall which runs around the garden I planted some heather which in all honesty is probably wasted in it's current position. The bush in the front corner by the lawn has red berries on it and isn't the most attractive. I'm thinking of ripping that out!

    The mature Hydrangea on the other side of the driveway has beautiful blue flowers on it in summer so I'm hoping I have pruned it correctly for a similar display this year. Not sure If I could/should relocate this as I quite fancy gravel and a Phorium there now! There is a leafy plant which grows behind that, I have no idea what it is but it has broad cream and pale green leaves and I have to keep the slugs and snail away or they destroy it. It has small purple flowers on spindly stems which grow from it's centre.

    I have some time off work next week so, weather permitting, might make a start!

    Thanks again all, really enjoying the forum. Hopefully I can help others as I get a little more green fingered.

  • That last plant you mention - destroyed by slips, sounds like it could be a hosta!

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    I think jess may be correct about the hosta ID.

    Thinking about the top bed (by the front door?) I like the suggestion of aubretia to trail down the wall too. Maybe think about spring colour from crocus and dwarf narcissus etc planted beneath.

    A blue hydrangea indicates acid soil, I think image. A soil test would confirm.  Pieris, and azaleas would do well there too if that's the case.

  • CumbriManCumbriMan Posts: 67

    Yes it is a Hosta. Looks something like the pic below but smaller and not quite as healthy unfortunately. All those flowers  look great - really colourful. My partner loves daffodils so I can see her being really taken with the narcissus. The contrast with crocus's would work really well too.

    I'm going to research the best times areas to plant and look into improving my soil quality. Might try and pick up a cheap PH tester.


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