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Help needed for dull new-build garden

I am trying to create an interesting and relaxing garden to enjoy but am totally new to gardening so would really appreciate some thoughts that may help me.

Currently the garden is a grass patch with seven birch trees along the back fence and two field maples on the left. I have tried to take a picture of the plan. The problem is our two dogs, who will eat everything! I think our plan is to run a picket fence around the interior to create fenced borders along the three boundaries.

Any planting needs to be tall to help with privacy. I would like it to look fairly minimal and contemporary with bamboo, grasses and evergreen shrubs, etc. Just not sure how to achieve this!

The garden faces northeast and has a alkaline clay soil. Near the house is very shaded, while the back fence is fairly sunny.

Any help or hints much appreciated.



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Those field maples on the left look to be far too close to the house (they grow into huuugge trees) and may damage foundations and your patio in the future so I would have them out as they aren't really a suitable tree for the average garden.  Good looking trees which are also great for wildlife include amelanchier, crab apple and any kind of fruit trees.  I'll leave it to others to give advice on evergreen shrubs etc.  Also a word of warning about bamboo - many of them are very invasive and won't stay just where you want them! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,266

    Leeds City Council has a guide to how far from a house various species of tree should be.  They say 4m minimum for a field maple, which may grow to 12x8m...

    Is the picket fence to keep the dogs away from the planting?

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • Sarah-MSarah-M Posts: 2

    Thanks for the advice regarding the maples. They are still small so we should be able to relocate I would have thought. Yes the picket fence was a thought to keep the dogs off planting and soil. Not totally keen but other than raised beds (which could cost a lot!) not sure what else to do.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,565

    That is a huuge lawn, it could do with breaking up a bit, which will give you a lot more interest. Different sized rectangles of lawn, planting, and patio with paths running between them comes to mind. Check out Tom Stuart Smith, his style is contemporary and simple, but with gorgeous planting that's somewhere between prairie-style and cottage garden. He uses clipped forms to give the whole thing structure.

    I'm not sure about picket fences; they might look a bit twee; for a contemporary garden I might go with an unobtrusive low post and two-wire fence (paint the posts black) and hope that after the planting had established it could be removed.

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