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Welcome Deb, my garden is a bit like Dovefromabove's; I wouldn't have it any other way! The veg garden is south facing, but misses the worst of the mid day sun because of tall trees bordering a nearby field. My lean- to greenhouse is East facing with the short wall facing south and it works fine.

Morning Glory love being East facing. I appreciate that where you are may be colder/snowier? than where I am in the Norfolk Fens, but don't worry; all the advice you need is on this forum from much wiser heads than mine.

Deb.  you are right.  You are overwhelmed.  And of course you are grieving for your old garden.  Mine faces east and while I would love more sun I find the mornings wonderful and after all that is often the sunniest part of the day.  And a new project!!  Lucky you!!

OK, be warned, here are the horrible gardens! Taken at about 11am this morning. The back faces west.










can do a lot with that deb.

main thing...that waterlogging.  Or is it just wet like everybody else's right now?  Couple of nice shrubs to give you privacy from the road? check out a holly...golden king.  Evergreen, beautiful and a natural conical shape.  Maybe two, one each side of your gate?

do simple PH test to check if you have acid or alkaline soil.  this will tell you what you can and cannot grow.

think you can have fun doing that garden deb

There was a lot of standing water before the xmas rains started, got a mini swimming pool now lol


Talk to your neighbours.  See what they grow.  

A pond seems increasingly to make sense but it doesn't mean you can't have absolutely beautiful plants there too.  

If after talking to your neighbours etc you think your garden is a wet one then plan accordingly.  Clearly you won't waste money on Mediterranean plants, for example, and ??ou can check out those that will grow there.  Here on the forum we will have loads of suggestions 


Debs I closed my curtains today at 11.00 am as the sun was hitting me in the eyes.

late spring and summer the sun doesn't hit that spot until about 5 or 6 pm

just a example of what the sun is doing NOW so I would wait until may until you can see what the sun is going to light up




It's unloved Deb

You'll kiss it better very quickly.


The plus side of moving into a horrible garden, is you need not feel guilty about undoing anything which has been done before. If the ground is very compacted, try to break through and incorporate lots of bulky organic matter, garden compost , stable manure ( even available in cities ) and try to raise the borders behind a little timber  edging, even adding a few centimetres to hold all that lovely organic matter will make all the difference. 

Try to avoid lawn in areas which are particularly damp / shady if possible. Gravel / paving / planting will be better there.

Whatever you do, get gardening and you can transform it to something magical.

Woodgreen wonderboy

If this was mine I would double dig it all over, burying the grass as deeply as possible ( plants will feed off it, and you don't have to worry about disposing of it).  Remove any perennial weeds.You may find the cause of the poor drainage. Chances are you will cure the problem which is probably compaction of some sort. Just to put in a pond is unlikely to be enough in the long run. You could incorporate some muck and magic, but if the garden has been left fallow for a long time the chances are it will be reasonably fertile as there is nowt to deplete it of it's natural goodness. You can then focus on feeding the plants you put in rather than the whole acreage!

Having dug it you then have a blank canvas. Don't forget that in good design, less is usually more so keep it simple, with a few quality features which appeal to you.  How do you want the front of your house and garden to look to those visiting you. How do you want your outlook to look?A winding path, some discreetly placed shrubs and a small tree or 2 to subtly screen you from the road. Have a pond if you want one. Why not alpines in a gravel bed. No grass??, but definitely no concrete either. Go for as good a quality as you can afford and you won't regret it. And please don't rush. Plenty of time to think through want you want. Hope this helps........ 

I have to admit, I was feeling pretty down about these gardens but you lot have given me some great ideas, I really appreciate it. But be warned I will probably be asking LOTS of questions on the forum lol

that's what we/this forum is all about Deb's

Just remember NO question is a silly one so ask away my dear and enjoy your garden

one of the first thing I did was to set up a sitting area where you can see the hole garden from and get the evening late sun because this is if like me you entertain BBQ or just drinks, I say this because you can then plan,watch and enjoy your garden.



Ps the sitting area can be just a kitchen chair or a garden bench on the grass it doesn't have to be fancy or on a patio/decking later if you decide to may it permanent

it could be just gravel with a edge so the gravel doesn't get kicked onto your grass then you can add pots to the sitting area 

just a thought


CluelessGardener wrote (see)

Debs I closed my curtains today at 11.00 am as the sun was hitting me in the eyes.

late spring and summer the sun doesn't hit that spot until about 5 or 6 pm

just a example of what the sun is doing NOW so I would wait until may until you can see what the sun is going to light up



Definitely agree with this advise Deb. The sun tracks much lower and goes around the garden much quicker at this time of year. You will see a world of difference in late Spring where the sun is so high that it will get into parts of your garden that you can't even imagine at the moment, and will linger there as well.


All very true folks but don't forget the low light levels at,this time of year show off those plants that enjoy these conditions.  Hellebores, for example, simply just don't look as emchanting when flowering in summer.  Many summer flowerers take on a new lease of life when the autumn, with it's lower light levels, comes.  

Hi Deb! hope you had a merry christmas and maybe Santa brought you some nice gardening books or gear?!

Like the others, I think your garden has lots of potential, but I can imagine it is very daunting, particularly as I imagine you have other things to do apart from gardening!

My advice would be ... take your time. You are lucky in that you haven't got a lot of horrid trees or shrubs to rip out. That can be worse - a bit like moving into a house with woodchip on every wall! For the time being, just keep it tidy and spend some time between now and the growing season looking at books/ gardens/ websites for inspiration and thinking about what you really want out of your garden. Maybe plant up some pots near the house with winter/ spring flowers just to cheer you up a bit in the meantime.

Once you have a "plan" (and that can be something scribbled on the back of an envelope - mine was!), divide up the work into achievable chunks that you can do in a short time, such as digging out a border, or laying a patio, or planting a tree. This will help stop you getting overwhelmed and demotivated. Focus on what you have achieved, not what you have to do.

Get some help for the bigger projects from friends, family, neighbours. Some of my gardening friends have much bigger gardens than I do and I help out when they get a bit overwhelmed by weeds, planting out or general tidying up. It's much more fun gardening in a group and we generally get the work done really quickly so we can crack open the (first) bottle of wine!

Finally, think of it as a long term project. Maybe this year, you'll just manage to get a few shrubs in the ground. It's a start! Plus you'll save a lot of money in the long run if you buy small plants, rather than big ones, and grow things from seed. Try and think about how you want your garden to look in two or three years time when buying trees, shrubs and perennials.

Good luck!


Finally met my neighbour, I immediately quizzed her on my soggy gardens. She told me my garden was once full of flowers including sweet pea, bluebells, honeysuckle etc. Phew ! Things will grow !

I'll bet the bluebells are still there Deb


Deb, did your neighbour know why your garden is so water logged? My neighbour in London had a rectangle of poor grass in the centre of his, otherwise, lovely lawn. He finally discovered a piece of carpet buried a few inches down.  With a blank canvas like you have, you could sort out some drainage before planting if necessary.