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Montyfangirl

2017/18 is the year of the garden! I spent 2016/17 reviving the lawn from being 90% weeds and moss and painting walls - so creating a blank canvas really. Now I need some inspiration as to what to do. We have very little budget but I want to get it right, especially in terms of disguising the garden in the garden and integrating the driveway into our garden design. We can't do away for the drive/garage so need to find ways of screening or re-focusing what is seen when looking in that area. Any ideas gratefully received right now as I am finding far too many hours on Pinterest trying to decide on a course of action.

photos to follow when I work out how to stop them importing upside down!

Montyfangirl

 
 
 

Ok - resized as suggested on the forum. So this the back garden from left at the hedge to right to the garage. The final view is taken standing in front of the garage looking down the driveway which is where we get sun in the latter part of the evening. My dad has suggested simply painting the garage (walls and doors) black will help it "disappear". The garden is west facing so in front of the wall and hornbeam hedge are shaded in the afternoon. Not sure whether to go for a raised border in front of the wall. The area paved to the left of the garage is sunny in the morning to lunchtime and then shaded, was thinking of this for veg beds? The soil is clay and gets very wet in the winter/early spring, especially in the left corner of the hedge/wall. If my daughter has her way there would be a hot tub in there somewhere! I'm being drawn to white and green planting, not cottage garden but not totally modern or formal either! The funds are not huge and we will probably have to break things down into smaller projects for the next couple of years. I will sketch out some ideas later but if there are any budding designers that want to make suggestions - please do! Thanks.

WillDB

A bit too much to wrap my head around in one go, but I like the idea of painting the garage in black / dark grey. Did my fences in that colour (Cuprinol Garden Shades 'Urban Slate') and it really does make them blend in. Perhaps with climbers like Hydrangea petiolaris, perhaps with a pergola alongside / fixed to the garage, it would blend in successfully.

Do you need the full width of the driveway to be surfaced, or could you rip out half of the surfacing and create some planting? You could even put your veg plot there. And just leave a 2.5m wide strip to access the garage.

Montyfangirl

we don't need the full driveway - just wide enough to get a car to the garage - mainly for re-selling in the future. 

It's not looking too bad as it is already, that lawn is looking good.  It does feel a bit paving-heavy but I guess if you want to be able to turn a car in there you can't really remove too much of it.

Could you share your pinterest board or provide some of the things you've shared on it?  I think that would give us an insight into the kind of things you like and help us make suggestions that you might like.

My feeling with regard to the garage is that it already looks quite dark over that part of the garden; dark garage doors; shade from hedge; shade from tree.  I don't think I'd paint it black.

The seating down the side of the house is it there due to the path of the sun?  Which way is your garden facing?  You could make a little courtyard area (with mirror(s)) between the tree and garage wall but if it doesn't get useful sunlight when you're likely to be sitting there, then there's little point.

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WillDB

Quick impression of the garage in black/dark grey

 

WillDB

Planting in front would contrast nicely

 

Montyfangirl

Oh Will that looks fantastic. I'm sold. It looks a lot like some of the pics I've pinned on Pinterest.  Do you paint too ;) 

Borderline

I do think you should cut a generous border running along the left hedge right round the tree area. A gentle curve to mimic the edge of your grass area. I wouldn't attempt too many curves as it will look busy and fussy.

There is so much potential for growing all manner of plants. Where you have your seating area, leave a wide enough gap to get through to the grass, but maybe install a raised planter in very rustic style wood (railway sleeper thickness) that is around 1 meter in depth and around 80cm in height. If you like a pergola in-between that gap, it will look nice if it matches the wood of the deep planters. Instantly, you have height and whatever you plant will start higher up. The base area can be an area for you to dot pots etc.

I think the driveway area is not wide and doesn't need altering. It's probably the photo angle making it look ultra wide. As others have said, there is so much potential. It's more about the style of plants you like and colours you like.

Last edited: 14 September 2017 18:30:37

Montyfangirl

Thanks Bob and Borderline.

So yes in answer bob the dining seating is there as it gets the most sun in the afternoon and evening. The table is starting to rust and I am trying to persuade dh to invest in a new corner sofa dining set so it can be seating and dining and will be in grey. I have a phormium in pot that needs replanting and u I was thinking about planting it in the area to the left of the table, just out from the rhodedendrum. The area in between the tree and garage gets the morning sun so I guess I could set that up as a little bistro breakfast area and plant things to climb up the garage wall (which I do fancy in black having seen it photoshopped).

Borderline, I too was thinking of curves to compliment the existing curve in the lawn. I've been told/read that you shouldn't plant too much under a hornbeam hedge so I was thinking of cutting a narrow border along the hedge, laying chipping to improve the drainage and then a thin layer of grey slate on top, but along the back wall, having a really wide border, curving it out where it comes under the tree and having shady plants on the tree side. I just can't imagine what goes in the curved bed area very well.

I will try and scribble some ideas later. for now here's my Pinterest - I warn you there are a lot of pins and not enough budget to create my dream!  :) https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sayasara/home-outside

Borderline

Montyfangirl, there can be a lot of dos and don'ts in gardening and also plenty of grey blurred areas. About the Hornbeam, whilst there is some truth in that, but if you factor in shrubs can dry out soil areas, and you mention clay based soil, the two combinations can work in your favour. Clay soil always need compost/manure to loosen its structure if you are to think about herbaceous plants.

With the hedge sucking up some excess moisture and the conditioning of the soil yearly, I think you will have a nice base to plant on. I just need to know what aspect is that side. Then I can work out the rest of your garden. I'm still a bit confused with your original post's information.

Had a quick look at your Pinterest and think I have an idea of your style. 

If you are using the garage, I'm assuming you are thinking of a climber to cover the roof, tops and sides of the garage? The next question is, will the climber be from a planter on the left wall or have you another plan. I cannot see what is to the right side of the garage doors. Is that a hedge?

Papi Jo

How about drawing a (2D) plan of your property so we can better see what things look like. A simple sketched plan showing dimensions and aspect (N,E,S,W) might help.

Montyfangirl

Ok - a not very good 2D plan and definitely not to scale! Hope it makes sense! I've also added the key window views that I'll be planning planting/features for :) 

Papi Jo

Thanks for the plan, Montyfangirl, the second, larger, version is much better. Pity that the garage is sited at the back of the garden and the driveway is "lost space".

It's also a good idea to post views from your windows. When planning a new or renovated garden it is essential to take into consideration the spot(s) where the garden will most often viewed from.

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Borderline

So the right hedge is a Rhododendron. So you may have Acidic soil. That is useful as it opens up a bit of choice for plants like Tropaeolum Speciosum - can scramble over bushes and around the ground. 

Your left border could have Ajuga Caitlin Giant, lovely glossy base leaves and most striking blue flowers. Luzula Nivea, fine strappy green leaves and white flowerheads in summer and base of Asarum Europaeum, the wild ginger. Rounded glossy deep green leaves to cover the soil.

Against dark walls of hedges, Hesperis Matronalis 'Alba' will be the repeated accent plant that anchors your whole garden together. Other interest to dot plant around the back and if you have a raised planter either running along the right curve of the lawn or to the front of the lawn, Salvia Nemorosa Caradona, Salvia Pratensis, Knautia Macedonica, Scabious Columbaria, Lychnis Coronaria 'Alba' and Achillea Terracotta, Hemerocallis, Cranesbills - so many varieties, just take a look to find your right one for height and flower colour. They are also the best plants for leaf form when there will be dips and gaps in colour interest. I could go on and on as it goes with herbaceous planting schemes.

I find myself saying the same thing when advising on narrow or smaller borders. Scale is important. The ideas are usually the same, but it's just the scale. Block planting is good if you have the space, but very often we don't or we want too many plants in a confined space. Think about planting young plants into diagonal strips. You will hopefully get a more naturalistic look on a smaller scale. Ground covers near the edge of lawns makes a nice formal feel and the more 'wild' look is held back by this low mound.

Sometimes, it creates a pleasing contrast of control and natural which I think is best usage in a medium to small size area. Leaves of size, shape and surfaces are also things to think about when choosing plants.

The Salvias are a risk on your soil, but if you have worked in lots of grit and compost, and continue to do so every year, there will be loads of plants to add on your list.

Last edited: 17 September 2017 13:39:50

Montyfangirl

thanks so much Borderline - I'm being drawn to a white/green planting scheme. I'll go away and look up all those plants and see which ones I fall in love with. I'll also get a soil testing kit.

Montyfangirl

ok soil test kit bought so will do that tomorrow. Can I check, if I do a large bed at the very back against the wall, will it be east facing tolerant plants that I will be looking for?

Montyfangirl
Borderline, some lovely flowers in your suggestions, though too much colour for me. I seem to be drawn to Libertia grandiflora, Queen Annes lace, astrantia, sweet woodruff, Veronicastrum virginicum, clematis, hosts, ferns, white hydrangea, lily of the valley, alliums. I'm loving the Asarum Europaeum (wild ginger) that's definitely going on the list.

Last edited: 21 September 2017 20:19:35

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