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A real beginner - asking for help to start

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Hi everyone

I'm an avid reader of this forum and so inspired by so many of you on it.

I have a very typical garden, with a bit of a patio, lawn and kids toys. I look at some of you gardens with great envy :o and would love to have a garden with parts of it growing nice colourful blooms, lovely scents and lush green plants.

Having spent 2 days reading through this forum, I've made a bit of a start - well by that I mean research. I know my garden is north/east facing. I know my garden is kind of damp. I know from my garden I want somewhere I can go and potter for a wee half hour of an evening and spend the weekend in, with the kids running about. I've a two year old son & 8 year old girl who only go out and play when I'm with outside too but it gets boring for me just sitting there.

Knowing this information hasnt really helped me though in knowing what to plant, where to plant it and how to begin making the changes.

Somebody here has a beautiful garden with a zig zag path, love the changes they made. Somebody else has used high wooden planters in a concrete yard and I think ikea kitchen racks along a wall, loved this idea but dont know how I could do the same.

So what after all this rambling I'm asking is? How to I make a start.

I've got some photo's of my garden from different angles but am still working out how to load them so you can see what I'm rambling about :rotfl:

Thanks so much in Advance
Cate
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  • wifeforlife
    wifeforlife Posts: 2,734 Forumite
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    Ok I have pictures so I hope this works

    Gardenpics

    The first pics with the paddling pool, really just show the way the sun hits on a very hot sunny day, with the pic's with the playhouse which is a new addition showing the shape I have to play with

    TIA
    Cate
  • spadoosh
    spadoosh Posts: 8,732 Forumite
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    Blank canvas like it!!

    Personally would look at getting bushes/climbers growing all around the fencing. You get a very 'boxy' feel from your garden and you need something to draw your attention away from the straight lines.

    A few raised borders on the left hand side (near the playhouse) with a couple of selected pretty plants that can be used around the house for decorating and arranging.

    Could be worth trying to 'split' the garden into a mummy's area and kids area. kids area bark, toys, playhouse, OMG! trampleen!!, and bits. Then a more formal sitting are for you and oh and then a planting corner.

    Youll change your mind loads on what you want and youll see loads that you want and cant make work, trial and error, give it a go, if you dont like it change it! Gardening is always work in progress!!
  • forgotmyname
    forgotmyname Posts: 32,575 Forumite
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    Reclaimed slabs? fitted upside down? :)

    I am hopeless at the planning stage, I plant way too much stuff for my limited space then put trees and bushes in and later find that was the ideal spot for a greenhouse or shed etc.

    I chuck the seeds in and they grow or they dont, No idea on plants proper names, Usually planted too early or too late.

    But the main thing is i really enjoy it. A plant growing and is like a small lottery win, Actually getting something from it is better than a jackpot win. Well maybe.. I have never won anything so i will have yo let you know on that. So far the gardening wins.
    Censorship Reigns Supreme in Troll City...

  • wifeforlife
    wifeforlife Posts: 2,734 Forumite
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    Thank You both for some opinions - I really appreciate it!!

    I have to nip out but will be back, will come back later and stare at the pictures to see what springs to mind hehe

    Cate
  • amcluesent
    amcluesent Posts: 9,425 Forumite
    edited 2 February 2012 at 7:42PM
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    garden with a zig zag path, love the changes

    Was that my one?

    I doodled this on the train...

    Move the patio to the sunny corner with some nicer looking slabs, sized for your table\chair set. I had an idea of putting a corner pergola over this, in which case the make the patio edge follow the curve of the pergola with a brick edge to be neat. Otherwise just keep a simple square edge on the patio. Put a climbing rose or other scented climber over the pergola and scented plants at the ends of the raised beds.

    Raised beds at back and side, so that footballs don't slam right into the plants. Choose plants for sun at the back and shade at the side. Steer clear of plants where snapping a single stem is 'it' for the year, i.e. lillies. Plenty of options for flowing shrubs, bushy perennials, grasses and easy annuals.

    Remove much of the current patio at back door, but re-use slabs along the back of the house, you can put plant pots either side of the back door and half some slabs to make 'planting pockets' for climbers etc. that don't mind shade.

    Move wendy house to the right side, as the shade from the fence will make planting difficult. Hide the black tank with a bamboo or wicker screen, possibly hiding the black bin there too, or keep beside back door for convenience.

    I'd gravel around the tank and under the wendy house and keep going to the toy/tool store to save having to mow that bit (actually, I'm sure you could do something better with that awkward corner - maybe a sandpit for the youngest?

    Keep a main rectangle of grass for the children to play on.

    Stain the fences a bland grey\green so they don't shine out at you!

    NB I assume you have a gate to get the wheelie-bin in/out! Also, can't figure out what the silver box on the patio is for!

    If you did the work yourself, I'd be thinking £500 to £750 for materials, depending on choice of stone etc. put you'd have a garden which stood out and it's far better to do the 'ground works' in a big bang rather that fiddle about.

    8d84c565.jpg
  • spadoosh
    spadoosh Posts: 8,732 Forumite
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    "Was that my one?" TOOT TOOT!!! (thats me blowing your trumpet for you!!)

    As for the design Love it!!! I love that theres people who can just chuck stuff together like this. Im very much like th OP and would think through absolutely everything inch by inch and youve just whacked that together in a couple of mins and think you'd be hard pushed to find a much better layout.

    Keep up the good work! And OP sure you can get plenty of useful ideas out of some of these posters, just a case of mucking in and getting your hands dirty now! :-P
  • wifeforlife
    wifeforlife Posts: 2,734 Forumite
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    amcluesent wrote: »
    Was that my one?

    I doodled this on the train...

    Move the patio to the sunny corner with some nicer looking slabs, sized for your table\chair set. I had an idea of putting a corner pergola over this, in which case the make the patio edge follow the curve of the pergola with a brick edge to be neat. Otherwise just keep a simple square edge on the patio. Put a climbing rose or other scented climber over the pergola and scented plants at the ends of the raised beds.

    Raised beds at back and side, so that footballs don't slam right into the plants. Choose plants for sun at the back and shade at the side. Steer clear of plants where snapping a single stem is 'it' for the year, i.e. lillies. Plenty of options for flowing shrubs, bushy perennials, grasses and easy annuals.

    Remove much of the current patio at back door, but re-use slabs along the back of the house, you can put plant pots either side of the back door and half some slabs to make 'planting pockets' for climbers etc. that don't mind shade.

    Move wendy house to the right side, as the shade from the fence will make planting difficult. Hide the black tank with a bamboo or wicker screen, possibly hiding the black bin there too, or keep beside back door for convenience.

    I'd gravel around the tank and under the wendy house and keep going to the toy/tool store to save having to mow that bit (actually, I'm sure you could do something better with that awkward corner.

    Keep a main rectangle of grass for the children to play on.

    Stain the fences a bland grey\green so they don't shine out at you!

    NB I assume you have a gate to get the wheelie-bin in/out! Also, can't figure out what the silver box on the patio is for!

    If you did the work yourself, I'd be thinking £500 to £750 for materials, depending on choice of stone etc. put you'd have a garden which stood out and it's far better to do the 'ground works' in a big bang rather that fiddle about.

    8d84c565.jpg


    Omg :T look at you go, yes it was your garden, I loved it! It's inspired me to do something with mine.

    There is no gate along the fencing, there is only fields and orchards out the back of my house, the gate is out of sight on the driveway at the side of the house, which is where the bin normally sits. I have it near the back door at the minute as it's cold and I didn't want to walk out of the house :D. The silver box on the patio is the boiler for the oil heating, it also becomes a shelf for when the barbecue makes its annual appearance.

    Also the garden slopes from the back door to the back fence, the playhouse is on the flatest part of the garden, even the current patio had to be bricked up to level, its also the reason the trampoline is at that area, but it moveable and to be honest could be dug into the ground. I never thought to mention it, but I can see were your going with it. :T
  • amcluesent
    amcluesent Posts: 9,425 Forumite
    edited 2 February 2012 at 9:21PM
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    OK, that makes some sense, and also some thing immovable. I've never encountered an outdoor boiler before!

    How about this, it relies on 'inner' and 'outer' curves to provide balance, so the curves should have similar radius.

    Again move the patio to where you'll get the sun. Run the raised bed right across the back, but build into a lozenge shaped pond. While the youngest is a toddler this will be a sand pit for safety! Build a recirculating water chute into the wall of the back raised-bed, so you'll have the sound of running water in the garden.

    The raised beds would be in brick, about 40cm high with plants to tumble over the front.

    As you back onto open land, 'bridge' with some native trees like a rowan and an apple on suitable root stock. This tricks the eye into seeing the garden as extending into countryside.

    Do away with the current patio but allow for the boiler. To make the shape easy, use a brick edge then infill with cement mix. While still wet, press/roll pea gravel into this and then brush off excess when dry so you're not carrying wee stones into the house.

    Cover the boiler with a slatted wooden box, stained to match the fences.

    Leave the grass sloping, but put the wendy house and toy store on flat bases by digging out the ground as needed and/or stand on wooden posts hammered into the ground.

    Screen tank as before with wicker\bamboo.

    This design would need someone handy with laying bricks to get the curves right!

    9743f016.jpg
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,850 Forumite
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    Hi

    I tend to agree with amcluesent but would like you to tell us what time of day the paddling pool pics were taken? If this was morning, then where is the sun in early evening?

    If it was midday (ish) then certainly, that is where the main seating area needs to be. Otherwise put the seatign where the sun will be at the time of day when you will use it most. You can still put the paddling pool on there is you want to, as long as you brush off any sharp stones.

    It looks like you have some potential "borrowed views" on the left hand side as you stand by the back door - some sort of open space?

    It is obviously very new, so you need some structures. Something to give it height and something to lead the eye to the best views and maybe even pretend there is something beyond the fence.

    With respect to planting, unless you have lots of money for a makeover, you need to start with some cheaper plants filled out with annuals this year and slowly add more structural plants over the year. Not least as in 6 years you and the children will have very different demands on the space.

    This year a couple of tripods of canes with climbing plants would help break up the blank canvas. You could grow beans or sweetpeas or both?
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • System
    System Posts: 178,105 Community Admin
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    Wow Amcluesent you should be a garden designer - what a lovely garden that would be!
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