Forum home Problem solving

North west facing garden

Hi not sure if this is the right forum for this but just looking for any advice. We have just bought a newish build in the central belt of Scotland with a north west facing back garden. Having previously had a lovely south facing suntrap garden I know this isn't ideal but everything else about the house was good so we will have to make the most of it. At the back of the garden is a large raised section (with steps up to it) so this will be fine, and the main bit of garden (just grass at the mo and no plants at all) will get some sun in summer and there's a patio area nearest the house that likely won't get any. 
I'm wondering if there's anything I can do firstly now (November) to help the grass as much as possible as it doesn't look great (although previous owners clearly weren't garden people anyway) and is already a bit sodden. I don't mind spending time on it - we laid our own lawn previously in the heatwave of 2018 so I know decent grass can be a labour of love! Secondly any tips for how to get the most out of a garden in this position? Would I be best to wait to see what sun it actually gets eg next year before planning anything? 


  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    Hallo @Carried246, welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new home.  There may be perennials and bulbs in your garden that are not visible at this time of year, so I wouldn't do much to it until the summer, by then you'll know what you have and haven't got.  In the meantime, stroll around the neighbourhood and have a good look at what grows in other people's gardens.  That way, you'll find out what is likely to thrive in your local climate and soil conditions.
  • Thanks that's actually a good idea to look at the neighbours. My immediate neighbour has a few different tiers but have no grass which makes me.worry its not going to grow well - I have kids and really want grass in at least some of it! Will have a look at the others though. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    I'd just stay off the grass for now. The weather's not going to improve any time soon.  ;)
    Grass is fine in that aspect if you have a big enough area, but doing anything just now is a waste of time. Trust me  :)

    If you post some photos, you'll get help with ideas, but if you have young children, it's not worth having lots of blousy plants. Some sturdy shrubs, and then have a few cultivated areas on the bits they won't play on, is the best solution. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks for your reply. I've tried to attach a pic hope it works (sorry hard to get it all in from upstairs window)
    But good to know there's not a lot I can do just now. Would there be any point even weeding just now?? 
    Should I just attempt to de-moss and weed and feed in early spring? It's an eyesore and I'm desperately hoping it's mainly because the previous owners didn't look after it rather than because of solely the aspect! 😕
  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 648
    Hello @Carried246,

    That's a nice space with real potential.
    I agree with all the advice given above  ..... everyone's grass will be looking a bit sodden at this time of year ... mine certainly is. But grass is an amazing plant and once you can get on to give it a first cut, usually late March at the earliest here in Scotland, you'll find it will quickly thicken up and start to look better.

    Meantime, use the winter months to research plants that will suit your new conditions. Lots of things to choose from. This site might give you some ideas ...

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    I wouldn't do anything to that until about April - although if you wanted to spike it with a fork, it might help a little. 
    Then - you could give it a feed only - assuming conditions are suitable. I often still have snow/frost then, so you would wait for a relatively benign few days, and follow instructions. After about a month, use a weed and feed - again, following instructions and waiting for suitable conditions. The advantage of that method is that everything grows well with the feed, and then the weedkilling part of the W&F does a better job. The grass gets a boost, so it's all good. Then just cut regularly - don't scalp it - just take about a third of the height off each time. That will keep it in reasonable nick for your children to play on.
    They annihilate grass very readily, especially in a small space, so it's best not to get too frantic about it.  :D

    The upper part will be great, and you can get more help from this forum, as well as from that very good site that @Bee witched has given. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Carried246Carried246 Posts: 5
    edited November 2020
    Thanks so much for the advice that's exactly what I was looking for re timings etc. The previous owners father in law had planted stuff in the top but and it all seems to be doing ok think there's an apple tree in there somewhere although my previous neighbour had one that grew absolutely massive, suppose this one won't block sun though anyway so there's one benefit of this rubbish position!! 😂One more question - I used to grow some potatoes (in tubs and sacks) and basic veg in raised beds - do you think I could potentially clear a small part of the raised back bit to dedicate to this?? Thanks again 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Probably - I don't grow potatoes, so can't comment on those, but things like lettuce are actually happier with a bit of shade to prevent bolting. You'll get help with that on the forum though.  :)
    The best thing is to track where the sun goes - especially towards the end of winter - and see how much you get in each area.
    My front garden is north west facing, but I have no one to the west of me  - just the adjacent road. The bit farthest away gets quite a lot of sun, and so does the right hand side because there are no houses to block it. The proximity of other buildings/trees, will be a factor for you  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • If your children are small/young and needing safe play space had you considered putting play bark down in the grassed area which would give room for big toys, tramporlines, swings, slides, sand pits,football goals etc. You would not have a big job to keep it clean and tidy for a few years and you could concentrate on the upper level as "your" garden. No go play area, gate across the bottom of the steps and you would not be upset by broken/damaged plants. It could be a temporary measure until the family are more grown up when you could reclaim the play area for yourself. If you want to grow fruit and veg., it may mean removing some of the decorative shrubs etc. depends on how keen you are to grow your food. You might then even have room for a small green house, it is difficult to see how big an area there is on the upper level.
    Just thinking outside the box.
  • Thanks, yes we will consider bark but only if the grass is terrible, which i suppose I'll find out about next year! The upper bit is actually quite big but yes some shrubs might need to be cleared if I want some raised beds or a mini greenhouse. I'm trying to think of ways to maximise use of the rather weird layout and space as our old garden was bigger as well as being south facing, pretty and very practical, I really miss it already  😭
Sign In or Register to comment.