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Sara Collings

I,m in the process of transforming the plot above (if you can see a picture that is because I can't !!) I have done the plan and decided what plants I would like I,m just struggling with deciding planting positions. I have taken into consideration heights etc etc and put together a bit of a plan do I just use this as a guide and use gut instinct when I have the actual plants in front of me?

Just need a bit of help and hand holding please !

Thanks in advance

Sara x


What plants have you got already Sara?

Sara Collings

Absolutly none, a total blank canvas. The garden used to look like this

 So all the trees have gone and there is nothing in the garden at all



Unless you are familiar with what you are planting, I think it is best to make a plan because when you buy the plants you may think "Oh this shrub looks big and healthy so I'll put it behind that little one". Then you may find that the big one will be smaller than the little one when they mature!

See if you can find pictures on Google of what you choose, or buy a good gardening book with pictures and advice.

If you can run to some trellis, or you could use metal eyes and wire, that fence looks as though it would look good with a few climbers, like clematis.

Make sure the ground is well prepared before planting, add rotted manure or compost if possible. Don't make narrow little beds around the edges, generous curves would be better, then you could have shrubs with perennials and bulbs in front.

Will you have a path? Best not skinny and straight and best if it actually goes somewhere, like to a seating area.

Sara Collings

Thanks Busy-Lizzie !

I have made a list of plants I like and what the size will be and then have drawn a plan taking the size into consideration, so sounds like I have that right ! Just needed some conformation I was on the right lines. I have planned some climbing plants but hadn't considered using wire or trellis so thanks for that great idea. We re having a seating area and I had planned a nice path to that which will also help with the washing line, just need to choose a material for those. I have put a pic of my plan below for any comments !

Great advise re preparing the ground, that was going to be my next question as we have grass, weeds, ivy and brambles lurking where the beds are to be so they will take some hard work I think. Looking forward to it though !





Sara   we have two of these fixed to our house wall - at the end of the garden we have a trellis 'arbour' and the posts have one of these on them for the line to hook onto.  (we fixed a little clippit-type thingy on the end of the line).  That way we have loads of washing line space but on days when the washing line isn't needed it's retracted and doesn't get in the way, decapitate OH when lawn mowing, scrape my specs off the top of my head and in general doesn't look unsightly.  We think it's a brilliant idea 


I think you have made a great plan and I'm sure you're garden is going to look great. It's hard to imagine how it will all look, but that is part of the fun.

When your plants arrive, you can position them around the garden while still in their pots and see how it looks, and when you think you have the look that you are after, plant away.

Just make sure you know the finale potential height of each plant, so you can decide where in the boarder it should sit (front or towards the back); remember some plants are fast/slow growing, so your design will take a few years to look how you intended; and even if you have planted everything and 6 to 12 months later you think.."that's not working out there.." you can dig up plants and move them (maybe the next year they may not flower as well for exampe, but they will recover).

Good luck, but I love you plan and I think you are off to a great start.

Sara Collings

Fab idea, I had been thinking I would like a different solution to my washing line, which I am strangely rather attached too !!! and this seems a brilliant idea.

Thank you very much

Sara x

star gaze lily

Good luck Sara, looks a great plan, and what fun to have a blank canvas!

The washing line looks a great idea, might pinch that one. We have a twirly type one, great as it takes up little room but a pain to keep removing and putting away.

Sara, just  come across this thread

You need to ph test your soil.  Find out if it's acid or alkaline.   Very important.

Soil?  Is it heavy clay or light Sandy?  Is it a sunny garden?  Where is it shady?

What size is your garden?

Do you want a veg patch?  Some fruit?  A play area?  Seating area?

Always good to get some compost into your soil.

Those fences could be planted according to which are in sun or shade.  

Look, I wouldn't rush into getting loads of plants just yet.  Those fences and a lawn (?) sorted first and then sketch different options.  Sketch again and rethink.  But do planting as your knowledge of plants and your comditions improve.  In everybody's garden there are micro climates, areas which are more sheltered, etc

Its exciting planting and planning a new garden but there is no need...and no rushing it

Good luck Sara 


Verdun has just written the next bit I was going to say! It was getting late last night and I didn't want to write too much at once.

Knowing your soil is important, some plants, such as azaleas, like acid soil, others prefer alkaline. Some hate clay (clay can be improved with compost) and some hate light and sandy. You are lucky if you have loam. Same applies for sun or shade. Sun and shade can be interesting to plan, woodland type plants for shade, colourful flowers in sun. Gives your garden character. You can create shade by planting trees or use one side of the fence, but trees give dappled shade. The fence will give solid shade but may be sunny in morning or afternoon.

Make sure you remove the bramble roots. They can be a real nuisance when they grow up in the middle of a shrub. But sometimes I think that is because a bird has sat in the shrub and dropped or pooed the seeds. Also ivy can be a nuisance when it grows up your fence where you didn't want it. But ivy in the right place is lovely for the birds.

You may already know all that, but it can be more complicated than one thinks planning a new garden! But it's fun.

Sara Collings

Wow, Thanks all for the wonderful advise. I will ask the man next door about the soil, he is a keen gardening and should know what we have.

I am intending to get beds dug and sorted over the next few weeks and I am doing a lot of "just looking" to see if inspiration strikes. I would like to encorporate some veg along with my other planting but may keep that to pots, tubs etc on the patio. We basically want the garden to be a bit of a refuge, someone to chill out with a glass of wine and read a book. We have no kids so only have ourselves and my elderly dog to consider.

Once again thanks for all the good advise, all food for thought and I have no doubt I shall be back for more.

Happy Gardening

Sara xx




Sara, what size is it?  Maybe "compartmentise" it into "rooms" with a pathway meandering to "visit" each room.  (instead of keeping to the squareness of the garden as it is now)


Roy Hill

My own observations/thoughts.

A garden plan is always a 'work in progress'. Nothing ever finalised. Always something that requires improvement. Or something that didn't quite 'work' (it looked good on paper, but...)

The big key elements (long-term trees.shrubs, hard landscaping) are the 'bones'. concentrate thought on those. The more space you have in a garden, the less important the individual placements become  (minor faults fade into the background).

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