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7 messages
14/05/2013 at 08:43

Hi everyone!

I am need of some advice. I have a fairly smallish front garden that is part laid to lawn but with large flower borders. This was like it when I moved into my property 7 years ago, the borders are far too large for the size of the garden.

As I am not getting any younger (!) I have decided that after spending 8 hours cutting the grass and weeding the beds that my life needs to be simplified.

I am going to remove as many plants as possible, but what is left in the ground, could I put weed killer on them to kill them off? Or any other suitable method!

The border is about 2 inches shallower than the lawn, can I put ordinary soil that you get from the garden centre, that you would put in pots, down? I need a cheap option for this and currently my garden centre have bags on offer. Does anyone know if the seeds would take?

Also in the back garden I am thinking of putting bark down in the beds, does bark prevent weeds from coming up? Would I need to put a ground sheet, like you would use for stones, down?

Oh and one more thing, has anyone got any proven tips to kill off running bamboo (I've got the main bits out but it's reshooting) and how to kill off brambles for good!

Your advice will be well received, simplify and organise and going to be the new me!

14/05/2013 at 09:10

Rosebush

First what exactly do you want there now?  More grass? It's just as quick to mow a slightly larger lawn than a smaller one.

The border being lower is good.  I wouldn't raise it.

I don't like bark as a mulch....it harbours pests, blows around and looks messy.

I dont like weed membranes either.  They make future plantIng or plant removal difficult and prevent birds accessing the soil.

Do you want low maintenance shrubs?  If so what type of soil do you have?  Acid? Heavy?

Bamboo?  Can you dig it out ?  Strong strength glyphosate will kill your brambles and control your bamboo "bits"

 

14/05/2013 at 10:42

I gather that the reason you want to add soil to the border is in order to reduce the size of the border and turn it into lawn, the same level as the existing lawn.

It seems a shame to kill off the plants, couldn't you give them away or sell them for charity.

If you really need the front garden to be easier to maintain and you want to reduces the size of the beds then you will need to remove the plants, either how I've said above or by using glyphosate weed killer which inactivates in the ground so you can replant afterwards. Then you need topsoil, which your GC may sell, but you will probably need it delivered as it will be very heavy. Not just compost, too light.

The reduced in size border will need digging over, fertiliser, compost or manure added. Then cover with a permeable fabric. Cut holes in it and plant low growing bushy shrubs, such as lavender, spirea Anthony Waterer or one of the golden ones, choisya Aztec Pearl, caryopteris (blue flowers, gold or green leaves), santolina. Then cover it all with a thick mulch of bark chippings. I have done it myself with a shrub bed that I did about 6 years ago and I have hardly had to weed at all and the bark has stayed put. There haven't been any pests and the shrubs are healthy.

Once you have added the top soil and trodden it down and raked it (so it is the same level as the lawn, you may need professionel help or a son, nephew, friend), then scatter grass seed and rake in a bit and keep damp until established. Grass seed normally grows pretty well.

Verdun is a really good gardener with a high maintenance garden, but I think, from what you say you need a real solution as you will not be able to cope with a lot of maintenance.

14/05/2013 at 11:03

Hey there busy lizzie

My garden is essentially LOW maintenance....I get countless comments about how I achieve this.    I have it so perennials by and large complement one another ....as plants go over their neighbours cover them.   I try to grow to high standard but that doesnt mean masses of work.  I mulch, for example, to prevent weeds, etc. Grow perennials that do not need stakIng....some do need it of course.....and do numerous things to ensure low workrate

Rosebush, my advice is essentially based on you not wanting a high maintenance garden....that's why I asked you for some details.  

Sorry but landscape fabric is awful..weeds will still grow on it and through it.....have recently removed some for somebody as it started to break up and new plants difficult to put in.  

Adding new soil to edges brings it's own problems.....grass will be different colour, soil there is likely to sink and it seems a lot of work to achieve a low maintenance garden.

Growing low maintenance shrubs to fill your existing borders is worth considering

14/05/2013 at 18:55

Hi busy lizzie and verdun

 

Thank you for replying. I don't think I explained myself properly so I'll try again.

The time it is taking me to mow and weed my front garden is taking most of my day. On average a good 4-5 hours. The garden is approx 15 foot by 12 foot. The borders are about 2 foot wide. I currently have a hydrangea and camellia which are well established and I'm not sure I could get them out, but the rest of the plants are fairly new over the past couple of years. ie ferns, a small rose, perinun flame (sorry for spelling) . I will dig them out and replant in my back garden. The borders in the front are sparse, I can't afford to fill up the space.

So I just want to grass the whole area so all I need to do is mow it. What would be the best option to do this? Buy turf? Seed it but get top soil first?

The bark idea is for the back garden. I thought if I put bark down on the bed, it would cut my gardening work down.

I'm just trying to simplify my life as I work full time and live alone. I'm just finding the garden too much now.

More suggestions please?

 

 

14/05/2013 at 18:58

Verdun

Regarding the bamboo, I got my son to dig up the main root a couple of years ago but I think there are runners in under the ground as they are sprouting up in the same area. I constantly get brambles, I think they are coming in from my neighbours garden, I try to get them out but I wanted to get rid of them for good.

Thanks again

14/05/2013 at 19:09

If the front beds are lower than the lawn then of course you will need some topsoil to even it out. Could you leave the camellia and the hydrangea so it won't be so dull? Seeding is cheaper. It's up to you.

But I think I still don't really understand. How can you spend 4 - 5 hours a day on a front garden that is 15 foot by 12 foot? I spend that and I have over an acre and the veg garden is 25 metres by 10 metres. However, it's not pristine but it is pretty.

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