Front drive/garden design help

Help required! 
Have planted privet (last autumn) along footpath Boundary in front of my house but still need some privacy. Neighbours front lawn to the right (looking away from the house) also borders our drive (the tarmac edge and hedgeline is our boundary. Shared access drive to the left. Any tips for separating it visually?

Neighbours to our left have also commendeered the patch between our paths leading to the doors - kinda want to reclaim our half! How can I get round this and separate our houses a bit more? Also any advice for making the blue slate patch look a bit prettier? Budget £300-£400.

Worth noting that it is very exposed to the elements a d the wind howls up the drive in winter.

Posts

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 3,441
    Hello Mark,  What kind of gardening style do you like and do you know what type of soil you have?  Also, did you plant the existing plants in the blue slate bed?  Armed with more information we can then advise further. One thing I would say, DO NOT get into a competition/conflict with your next door neighbour over a tiny stretch of land between you or you could face years of trouble and strife as evidenced by other threads on this forum.  What they have looks pretty tidy and inoffensive to me. Your best bet is to contribute a similar plant or two if there's room or maybe some dwarf bulbs in between the existing plants. 
  • ZeroZero1ZeroZero1 Posts: 564
    Not sure about the privacy aspect of your question but I have a similar front garden. I elected to plant a Camellia in the corner, some rhododendrons and decidous azeleas and a hydrangea, underplanted by bulbs - its working out well as there is always some interest. Camellias and Rhodos are evergreen . You do need ericacious soil.
    I also plonked a Magnolia in the lawn bit. It's about six foot tall at present and establishing. i do admire a nice magnolia in a front garden. Soulanegenea is the classic variety. 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,212
    Marknew, there are some things to look at before entering into choice of plants. You say it's howling with wind which could be an issue with young plants like privet. They may take a long time to establish and need cutting down regularly to create more branching. Secondly, what type of soil do you have? Hard compacted soil, free draining light sandy soil...take a look. Finally, where are you based? Some plants are not suitable for colder areas, especially exposed windy areas.



  • marknewmarknew Posts: 10
    Marknew, there are some things to look at before entering into choice of plants. You say it's howling with wind which could be an issue with young plants like privet. They may take a long time to establish and need cutting down regularly to create more branching. Secondly, what type of soil do you have? Hard compacted soil, free draining light sandy soil...take a look. Finally, where are you based? Some plants are not suitable for colder areas, especially exposed windy areas.



    Soil is heavy clay but I have worked a lot of composting material, compost and mulch into/onto the soil. I have worked the privet back a couple of times already to encourage base growth so it’s just a waiting game/regular watering. In County Durham at quite a high elevation so it does get cold up here and last winter hit us hard! 
  • marknewmarknew Posts: 10
    Lizzie27 said:
    Hello Mark,  What kind of gardening style do you like and do you know what type of soil you have?  Also, did you plant the existing plants in the blue slate bed?  Armed with more information we can then advise further. One thing I would say, DO NOT get into a competition/conflict with your next door neighbour over a tiny stretch of land between you or you could face years of trouble and strife as evidenced by other threads on this forum.  What they have looks pretty tidy and inoffensive to me. Your best bet is to contribute a similar plant or two if there's room or maybe some dwarf bulbs in between the existing plants. 
    Like modern looking planting really. We have the interior decorated in a very contemporary style so only right that it complements the inside of the house. Think you’re right about the land in between. Just annoying that they have ‘ownership’ of it by being there before us. Plants in the slate bed where there when we moved in and the pots added by myself. Got some Morning Light growing in the pots which I’ll move to a sheltered spot in winter. Soil is very clay heavy so not great for a lot of plants. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 3,441
    Hi Mark, thanks for replying Having looked at your photos again, it occurs to me that the development has been deliberately designed to be open plan. That being so, for owners to try to enclose their individual plots means that the overall visual aspect would be lost. although I sympathise with your need for privacy. I think therefore that it would be advisable to keep the boundary planting fairly low.  As to marking the boundary on the right hand side, I think the only way to go is for pots along the edge of the tarmac if there is sufficient room to park a car. A line of matching pots, possibly, low round terracotta ones or square dark slaty ones (to cope with the high winds) with matching tough plants might fit the bill. Was your new privet hedge planted before last winter? If not, I might suggest a temporary measure of protection netting on both sides  on bamboo stakes. As to the blue slate bed, I would be inclined to keep the biggest conical plant as your main focal point (if you like it) but move the plant on the right which looks too close from the photo. The other small plants (heathers or hebes?) could also be retained if you prefer.  I was thinking along the lines of a few large rocks amongst the plants either to match the slate colour or contrast with it - I don't know what your local stone is like but if suitable, that would tie the design in with the local surroundings. 

    It would also be possible I think to move your front path, either a little further over, or at an angle across the slate or right under the front windows to the garage?  Which way does the postman walk?  More possibilities!  Meanwhile, try googling on "tough plants for clay soils and windy situations and see if there is anything you like. Hope this helps to give you some ideas. 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,212
    edited August 2018
    Thanks for getting back with a bit more information. As long as the soil is well prepared, (dugged over and more compost incorporated) and watered well for the first few years, your shrubs will settle in well. Generally, for exposed windy sites, stick with stiff branches and smaller leaves, preferably shrubs with thick leaves.

    I think you can plant a hedge for the right side (looking out from your front door) to create some privacy or boundary. It all depends on how much depth you want for digging into your lawn space. If it's just a low boundary to look formal, you could look at Euonymus Fortunei, they are low growing and respond well to pruning. If you need something taller and therefore more thicker, have a look at Escallonia shrubs, there are many varieties to choose from. Apple Blossom and Donard Seedling are popular.

    For more formal look, there are Lornicera Nitida, Ilex Crenata and Osmanthus Burkwoodii. Note the last two are quite slow growing to begin with.

    With your entrance step area, not sure if you want to keep it like that but I think it's nicer to remove that dark slate chipping and replace with gravel, far more brighter and inviting, creating light too. Those clumps of plants look a bit lost and disconnected, I would either re-position them somewhere else and keep the Buxus in the middle and maybe cluster different size pots around the Buxus for the time being. Again, this is a personal choice. You mentioned wanting modern. Could that be large size leaves or modern style planting...so many styles to choose from.
  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,952
    No ideas for the front path border I'm afraid. But the slate area (I prefer slate to gravel but its a personal choice) would look nicer, again as already mentioned, with the pyramid buxus to the side and some large rocks but also a water feature would look nice in the gravel. Keep the planting simple, choose plants which have, and keep, a good shape to get the modern look. Grasses and prairie planting is quite modern also but don't think it will work on this patch at all. Grasses in pots would work nicely though. Spikey plants may look nice but be careful not to get ones which grow huge like phormium (cordyline would be ok). Another modern and neat  look is to have a standard plant (salix flamingo) this would probably be instead of the pyramid. Enjoy choosing a theme then stick with it and unless you want a cottage garden remember not to overcrowd it and always always read the plant labels for conditions and eventual size!
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