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i wonder if any could give suggestions or steer me in direction of any good books.
i am not a gardener, but i am moving into a converted farmhouse with an acre of garden !!! and the thought is quite intimidating ; although for many gardeners i would suggest a tremendous opportunity.
Garden is in essence a complete blank canvass. the garden is effectively all lawn, albeit overgown as the house has been empty for 6 month +.
The garden slopes down towards a nice pond at the bottom, and (without checking compass) east facing.
my thoughts were to 'section' the garden off into areas..eg meadow, orchard. i have 2 daughters ( 6 & 8) so want to make it fun for them too.
any suggestions would be appreciated
I would suggest that initially you just keep the garden as lawn for the first year, just to see how the garden changes throughout the spring and summer. Note things such as areas of shade and full sun, what pops up plant and bulb wise, and which parts lay damp/wet and which lay dry. It will help you long term doing this.
Provided that your daughters have somewhere to run, play and hide, everyone will be happy. I would also suggest that you make sure that your daughters understand the importance of safety and awareness around the pond.
Book wise, join your local libary, and see what they have to offer.
You may also get some ideas from this. http://www.gardenersworld.com/forum/garden-design/work-in-progress/1650.html
With regard to books there are endless mountains of practical advise from the general to the specific but in terms of inspiration there are a select few (in my opinion) holy grails of insight. These four names should get you started if you havent already come across them. Dan Pearson - Piet Oudolf - Noel Kingsbury - Beth Chatto. In my opinion you are best to come to a strong framework of essentially hard landscaping, this could only be a single simple path working through the space or a more in depth journey perhaps a change of levels or a hide and reveal process. From that point you can in affect create another layer of foliage over this intial structure. I suppose have a think about places you have been where you or your family have felt relaxed, places you felt comfortable in, for example I went on a holiday to the Burren in Ireland and was quite taken aback by the simplicity of the limestone and native vegitation. From the point of view of the little ones a sense of open and hidden spaces regardless of the intricacies of planting and plant selection...although it may run amuck Gunnera was endlessly facintaing for me as a kid. What you will always hear is start from the soil up, decide what you may want to incorporate into the space plant-wise, and then decide if your soil can cater to the plants or if changes in fertilty, drainage or acidity need to be made.. I think you will be surprised how many of your own ideas you will have once you start spending time in the garden, you will probably naturally sit in certain places or wander down to others, they do have that affect on us.