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Hi All,

Being new to this i am not sure where to start.  I have a new build plot and we have a couple of chickens which i have in a fenced off area i would like to grow veg but i don't know how to design it mainly because the garden is wider then narrow and there is nowhere to hide the greenhouse, bins or shed.  It is a blank canvas which is hard....

Scott Edwards

I believe Chris Bradshaw is going to help a number of people with new build plots design their gardens in 'The Beechgrove Garden' which is shown on a Sunday morning. I don't know but it might help you. 

Thanks Scott i will catch on IPlayer


Can you post some pix Sarah? Views from different angles and also one of the view back to the house etc. That will give us a chance to offer some suggestions. Without a pic it's almost impossible to give useful hints. 


And roughly where the sun is.

I got lots of books from the library and magazines that give ideas. Cup of tea in the sunshine and a garden book with lots of pictures is heaven!  

Another favourite of mine is the double decker park and ride bus from the top of which you can see into other people's gardens 


Supernoodle..............I've always thought it a good idea when starting a new garden to check round the neighbourhood................what people are growing, what does well, etc.

I confess I never thought about doing it from the top deck tho........excellent advice


Glad I'm not alone.  I suspect the village thinks I'm odd.  Keep peering into gardens, sometimes whipping out my phone for a crafty photo.  But it's a good way of plant spotting and finding out what you like. And likely to suit your conditions. 

Busy Bee2

Did you get the 'small gardens' handbook that came with the last edition of the GW magazine?  I thought it was lovely.  The thing the gardens seemed to have in common was that they started with small trees/tall shrubs round the edge, which rapidly 'sloped down' to lower planting, then lawns/patios/paths, and it gave a sense of privacy and depth.  New builds can be so bleak.  My advice would be to:

1.   Work out what you want to blot out - in terms of neighbouring properties, and include noise, which can really be helped by dense planting - eg. dog barking, ugly shed, overlooking window.

2.   Choose trees with a small habit, and a variety of leaf colours for added interest, then maybe some contrasting shrubs in front.  But allow for light.  Height seems to me to be the difference between a beautiful garden and a mediocre one. 

3.   Sweep paths in curves to lead the eye gradually to the end where it narrows. 

4.   Get an attractive greenhouse which complements the garden rather than being something you want to hide.

5.    Incorporate vegetable planting with flowers.  Companion planting is a great idea. 

6.    Wait for your eureka moment, and don't spend too much money in the first instance, so that if you suddenly realise you want to do something completely different, you don't feel 'tied in' to the wrong plan.  Maybe get vegetables out of your system by just turning your garden into an allotment for its first season - that ties you down to nothing (and put all the money you save at the supermarket into more expensive plans).

7     Buy the GW magazine (or others) or buy old books in second hand shops about garden design, or have catalogues sent to you, and 'scrapbook' the things you like.

8.    Put the following statements about what a garden is, in order of precedence....

a.    a place to sit with a glass of wine in the evening and admire the view

b.    a place to grow healthy organic vegetables, salad and fruit, eggs, honey, etc.

c     a place for the kids/animals to play/prance about in

d.    a place for me to explore the world of plants and horticulture

e.    a place for grown ups to entertain

f.     a space which will add value to the property we have bought

If I'm honest, the garden here is 'all the above', but I think if you can work out your priorities and bias, it does help.  Good luck - agree it would be good to see a picture!


I'd echo the don't tie yourself in typo quickly bit.  We're refurbishing the house so the garden had to take a back seat.  I'm glad it did because design changed repeatedly over the time.  I've ended up with something very formal - didn't even know that was my thing - but it's where ideas lead me.  Paths and greenhouse base etc only going in now, over 4 years since we bought the place. 


Arghhh, blooming ipad auto words thingy.  It changes perfectly well spelt words into gobbledygook.  This time it changed "too" into "typo".  Ironic...

Scott Edwards

Supernoodle, my computer does exactly the same - it believes it knows better than me which isn't normally the case. Very annoying when it changes things and makes you look daft!

Thanks guys will take some pics tomorrow.

As requested, i think i have got all angles covered.  please ignore the temporary chicken run i haven't dismantled it yet. My plants are all in pots until i decide where to plant them and the red robin is for the front garden.  The sun rises at the back of the house and sets in the front of the house.








Busy Bee2

Well, I would agree with myself (I often do!) that some small habit trees round the edge to perhaps double to treble the height of that fence, would really improve your privacy, and that sun pattern sounds ideal, because in high summer as it is coming in from the side, you will get plenty enough sunshine to give a variety of planting opportunities.  I would plant a taller tree where your greenhouse is, because that other house is shading anyway, so your garden would be no more shady, but the bland expanse of brickwork would be lost, but then to the right of it, maybe go with shrubs not much taller than the fence because in picture four, it is nice that the early season sun is streaming through there, and you have nothing there that you need to mask.  Taller narrow stuff again where that white box is near your patio doors, again because the house next door is shading there anyway, and you really don't want those windows overlooking you, but it would need to not be something deep at base level, so that you don't open your patio doors onto a lot of branches.

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