I am new to gardening - well, I have done lots of the 'pulling up weeds and tidying' kind of gardening - but now I'd like to spend some time making my small urban garden beautiful. And learn how to keep my plants alive!
My garden is fairly narrow and faces NW. A patio takes up the first third, then there is a semblance of a lawn, followed by a bedding area with one shrub and a nice flowering tree, then a shed. (See pics).
So here are the problems I'd love some help with:
1. The soil is really hard and full of stones. Shall I dig it through and add something to it to make it more suitable for growing plants?
2. The lawn is sparse and the ground is cracking beneath it. Is there anything I can do to revive it or shall I dig it up as well and get the soil in better condition, before planting lawn seeds? I have a small dog - is it possible that he has damaged the lawn with his urine?
3. Any ideas for planting? I think that evergreen plants will fare best and might just survive my version of TLC... but the left side of the garden is in shade most of the day. I love ferns and woodland style planting, and would love to encourage wildlife (if there is any left in Lambeth!).
4. What climber could I grow up the fence and the shed?
5. Currently the garden is always dry and only weeds grow. Should I put bark chips down after planting to keep the soil moist and weed free?
I would greatly appreciate any pointers, ideas, hints, tips - I am eager to soak up every drop of information.
Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.