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15 messages
30/08/2013 at 22:52


below is a photoof my garden, we bought the house last year and its 26x31meters fairly flat fairly level slightly running off at the southside. 

i have great abilities as an engineer/carpenter/builder but no design what so ever!! i even let my wife dress me. i love acers/japanese maples and have ordered 9 total. but i want some raised beds directly opposite outside the house. mabe somewhere for a plot... green house... decking ??

any design ideas or full designs would be much appreciated.

 many thanks guys



30/08/2013 at 23:51

Hello and what a lovely garden

May be you could divide up into different areas like rooms but in the garden, ones with smells scent garden with lavender and other fragant plants.

You veg like a small allotment, area for sound like grasses that russel in the wind

May be a seating area - which could be where the decking is, it is good to make curvy path, hidden areas so you dont see all the garden at once

Have a sit in your garden see if you want to be out there in the evening or day - which area to sit in if you want it to be sunny or a bit shady

Pick plants out for different condition Like full sun - part shade

Sit in the garden try to make a rough plan of where you might like things

Hope any of this might give you some ideas

31/08/2013 at 00:27

I think firstly you want to decide what you want the garden for - do you have kids who want to play football on that enormous lawn, or do you want to break it up?  Do you want to grow veg?  Do you want a barbecue/firepit/bar/entertaining area?  Where is the washing line going, and the bins, compost heap and shed?  Those (to me) are the boring bits that somewhat dictate their own location, and after that you can let your imagination run away ....

As you're a fan of acers and (very helpfully) an engineer, perhaps you could start with the idea of a japanese type water garden as a 'surprise' in one area of the garden? I would probably landscape a bit and create some raised areas too -  and I like a bit of height in a garden, so a pergola along a curved path perhaps?


31/08/2013 at 01:13

Oh, Wow.  So much you could do there!  I would never be able to decide on a plan.  I'd just keep sitting there changing my mind every day.  My garden has evolved gradually due to lack of money, time, help etc, and has had to fit around things.  Although I sometimes wish I had had a blank canvas like yours to start with, I think I would still be sitting here designing, 4 yrs later!  My suggestion is to go to the bit on the forum where everyone is showing thier gardens (can't remember the thread name).  There are loads of lovely gardens on there to give you ideas, and I totally agree with both Sara and Gardengirl's ideas, too.

One of the posters had built a fantastic bottle wall.  Will go back to that thread and forward shortly.

You lucky person, no major work removing things before starting!

31/08/2013 at 11:22

It's HOW big? Wow.

Okay then! That's one big canvas. I'm going to need a bigger paintbrush.

Lawn: currently, you have this. As you've probably noticed, it mostly just uses up lawnmower fuel. If you have kids who love to run round in circles on it and yell and/or kick footballs around it, or you like to sit on lawn furniture on sunny evenings (excuse chuckling, as I'm in Yorkshire, where it rains on sunny evenings) the lawn may be valuable, but it's an expensive thing to maintain. Still, it's what you can have under a washing line.

Washing line: the picture was taken in some harsh light, and the near end of the house is overexposed as a result, but it looks blank, so that's a place the laundry won't spoil your view and you can have guests there without them being "under Big Brother's eyes" in front of a window or able to see into your rooms and watch you inside, which some people wouldn't like, so I'd make the first open space at the near end of the house.

Open space: another open space, somewhere further down the garden. You can get 6'x4' sheets of outdoor acryclic from Homebase, so an octagonal pagoda with one of those for each piece of roof is a possibility. So's a raised deck. You could put one on top of the other. This would give you a semi-rainproof place to sit and sip beer or wine. I don't mean pagoda, do I? A pagoda is really tall, with lots of overhanging roofs. I mean, erm, a ... mar... marquis? No. Thing. Legs, roof, some walls. Free-standing conservatory. Four porches back-to-back without a house between them. Thing.

Getting there: two paths, one down each side of the garden, with flowers between path and fence on the outside.

Shed, compost heap(s) et cetera: bottom corner, where you took that photograph.

Between lawn and thing and between thing and shed: here's where you get to do lots of engineering! To psychologically separate the two and increase the feeling of being in another place, raise beds between them. This will also hide the ugly compost heap and shed ... unless you want to build a really beautiful shed with a door that's actually tall enough. Why do sheds all have 5'10" doors, anyway? Boulders or gabions, in interesting shapes, creating tiered beds with pretty stuff growing in them will hide your "quiet place in the garden" from the house and vice versa. Between there and the shed, you could go with dense bushes and trees, but you don't want trees too close to the house.

Plants: entirely up to you in the middle, as you get to decide what soil to have in your raised beds and how well-drained it'll be. Just plan them all first in plan and elevation so the small ones aren't lost behind the big ones and you can reach to prune the ones that'll need it, and plant from the centre outwards and from the fence forwards. Be careful not to shade yourself out by putting tall trees south of your sun-lounger.

31/08/2013 at 13:47

Check out your local garden centres and nurseries.  They may be able to point you in the direction of students studying garden design on horticultural courses who would kill for the opportunity to put together designs for any garden, and particularly one of that size.  They have the added advantage that they probably won't charge at all or their fees will be low compared to established designers.

01/09/2013 at 08:48

Many thanks guys, i realised i left very litlle info in the original post....the ideas so far are very good but heres a little more info. 

the washing line runs from the back of the house straight to the fence opposite... (lush) i dont have kids, but id like to think if we had kids it was a safe area (no ponds)  I would like to grow veg and maybey seperate a plot/allotment and main garden but my main focus is a nice sociable garden (BBQ's/sociable sun traps) 

i know it looks awesome to have a blank canvas but to me with no artistic flare its more daunting than if i had a garden with rubbish plants... id just rip them out and start again with the structure still in place.


keep the ideas coming guys. i keep reading the design projects on here to gather more inspiration

01/09/2013 at 12:20

Assuming that was an early afternoon photograph taken from the SW corner, you've got tree (partial) shade throughout the day in the southern third, fence shade along the west side in the afternoon, widening in the evening, and house shade in the NE in the evenings, so if you want a sun trap it's going to have to be SE of the S end of the house. At least you've got a reflective white wall there. I'd put sun-lovers in the NE, where they'll get the warmest sunshine, with lawn between them and the house providing flop-space. Your sun-trap goes south of there where early afternoon sunlight bounces off the house onto it and the evening sun can light it up too. Between the two you have your washing line, so you're stuck with leaving that space open, but from the washing line south in an arc into the middle of the garden you can surround your sun-trap with low-growing prettiness, like shrub roses. Behind them you either raise a bed for more low stuff or plant medium-height stuff, so you've got an embankment of greenery and blossom around you while you're socialising. Siting a BBQ is a tricky call, because you don't want to stink up the neighbours' washing by putting it against the fence but you don't want a huge brick obelisk in the middle of your lawn either. The simple answer would be to put it against the house. Alternatively, if you go with raised beds, you could tuck it into them.

That'd leave the south end of the house free for sun-loving climbers. Put chunky eye-bolts in, string 2mm wire across them and grow a huge wisteria with horizontal tiers, or put wooden rails on, mount trellis on them and cover the whole thing in a chaotic mixture of akebia and honeysuckle. You could build a full-height strawberry planter and fill it with strawberry plants, but I think that's asking to get sick of climbing ladders. Either way, leave a gap at the top so stuff doesn't climb in under the eaves and invade the loft.

Bird boxes should be in sheltered north-facing spots, so put them on the other end of the house, but bats like to have a box on each side so they can choose the one that gets the right temperatures as the seasons change.

 South of the house is where I've put your vegetable plot, with another raised bed between it and the sun-trap. This is partly because a raised bed of decorative plants looks better than a vegetable plot, and partly so that you can sit and relax in the garden without constantly checking for caterpillars and weeds.

Between raised areas, there's a wide path leading south to the acers. An evenly-spaced and straight line probably isn't what you want, but I was just sketching. The shed and compost heap are right in the corner, out of sight. It's a bit of a trek from there to the north end of the vegetable plot, but you'll have a wheelbarrow, won't you?

Under the acers, you can plant shade-lovers. Grow a bed of English bluebells, perhaps? You could also arrange them differently to have a sort-of-hidden corner in the SW, and put in a little love seat there.

I've left a 17m square of lawn there. That should be plenty.

If you'd wanted a garden for boys and tomboys, I'd have been designing wooden forts instead.

13/09/2013 at 19:12

I've been looking at building some raised beds and felt short of ideas and came across a website with lots of raised bed projects and lots of other stuff! Might help!

Good luck with your garden!

14/09/2013 at 09:05

Many thanks guys, ive taken on board all the great ideas so far and ive got a design in mind, ill draw it up and open it to constuctive feedback


15/09/2013 at 15:43

Wow what a garden to start with... I am looking forward to seeing how it develops over the months ahead.

I would def look to break the garden up with a veggie area and social seeting areas.

I can also see winding paths and borders and planting to take people around the garden with little hidden areas. Maybe a woodland area at the back with some trees and woodland planting

15/09/2013 at 19:41

Cheers mike but thats still out of budget. 

So here goes guys



a little imagination is required!! the brown line woul be a dividing fence with gate 6 foot (same as the fence all around the garden) to seperate the "working area" from the "sociable garden"

inside the working area is the shed, chickens, compost bins, green house, coldframe and vegtable plots (brown boxes) 

the social garden will be mostly lawn. a slate patio imediatley outside the house, a raised bed that runs down the far fence (approx 2-3feet raised) the samll box in the top RH corner is a fire pit with benches built into the raised bed.

the semicircle in the midleish bottom is a decking with a half pegoda?? maybe a vine or 2 growing over it ?? and the pink circle is where i have planted our magnolia. (it isnt that big yet but thats the projected size in the future.) also willing to relocate this

this is all i have so far and i encorage any type of feedback please. 


Many thanks Filbey

15/09/2013 at 22:41

3' retaining wall? Got one of those to rebuild at my father's place.

I'd make a small change in the NE corner by pulling the fire pit and benches a little away from the perimeter fence and having some plants in there so you'll be more "tucked into the garden" than "tucked into the corner of the property."

It also looks a little like "over here or over there" between the fire pit and pagoda. It may be nicer to have them more separated so they're separate groups rather than two groups that don't mingle.

  I've added two beds to the decking, or a bed all the way round it except three access points, if you want. It's less likely to give people stage fright that way. I've also moved the fire pit forwards and added a bed in front of that to make it a more intimate space.

I'm not really happy with that though. The lawn looks a bit fragmented.

15/09/2013 at 22:55

Narrower beds in front of the decking and their E end and the SE raised bed curved around each other to make that corner smoother, plus a big curve in the raised bed in the SE to make the lawn less pointy and give you space for something spectacular like a sunken water feature with cascading water on all sides (except where the hedgehog ramp is, of course) or a group of choisya that'll smell fantasic when they're in flower.

 Any plans for the fence at the south? Are you going to spread the climbers from the pagoda all the way along it or hide it behind shrubs, for example? If that's a 6' fence and those are 3' beds, it'll only be 3' of visible fence anyway, a bit short for climbers.

19/03/2014 at 21:39

ok so I've looked at the dimensions and I'm currently drawing up a scaled design for you all :/ this year id like to make some good headway!

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