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Hi there

We've just moved into a new London flat which has a lovely garden at the back, but a messy patch of grass/weeds at the front (about 3m x 2m, sloped towards the flat, and catches the sun). We wondered what our options were for a low maintenance way of making it look nice without needing to use a mower, and without it blocking the light to the flat. The neighbours have covered theirs with ivy, but i'd appreciate some alternative suggestions before deciding whether to do the same.

Thank you!

Gary Hobson

You don't need a mower to cut grass. An area of 3m x 2m is really too small to consider using a mower. A small strimmer would do the job of cutting the grass and clearing the weeds, and make it look tidy.

If the area is sloping, it must be well-drained, and if it catches the sun, then you could grow an enormous range of small plants. Ivy seems a bit boring and unimaginative, IMO.

You should grow something that reflects your own personality. What image do you want to give to visitors and to your neighbours. Do you want something smart, or pretty and colourful?

A front garden covered by ivy gives out the message 'lazy and unimaginatvie person lives here', IMO.

Jean Genie

Hi Booboosilk, you could also consider removing the grass and have gravel or cobbles covering the area . That way you could have some pots of plants dotted around.  You would have to put a membrane down first of course but you could also make some planting pockets in it . There are a lot of plants which would enjoy those conditions.  My neighbour has opted to do this .


I also think that you should want it to reflect your style. One option would be to remove the grass and replace it with gravel and grow a collection of sedums and house leeks. Another would be a chamomille lawn or you could go for a knot garden with lavender and hebes.

Thank you for the suggestions, I am a complete gardening novice so all ideas are much appreciated! Would like to make it neat and tidy, but also colourful and interesting. Really like the sedums and house leeks idea - the Gardeners' World website guidance suggests they are hardy and easy to grow which sounds perfect Can anyone recommend any other plants which would grow well if I cover the area with gravel and cobbles?

Thank you!


Lavendar, thymes.....yellow and silver foliage plus scent.....convolvulus cneorum, santolinas, Upright and prostrate varieties of rosemary....there are some lovely dark blue varieties around now. I think Potentillas would be happy in gravel too as will the smaller hebes with glaucous blue, bright green and variegated foliage; some have red colouring in their leaves. I would mix some rounded plants with spikey grasses and other linear plants like libertias, iris variegatus and bronze carex. In gravel it's nice to see the shapes of plants with space to walk around them
For some seasonal pots you could try for next spring some small daffs such as tete a tete with some crocus corms and a few pansies for this autumn. Or you could try some little box plants trimmed into shapes such as balls or boxes. (but don't go mad as they might get pinched: mine did!)
For next summer, primroses, geraniums (actually pelargoniums) are great in a sunny spot in a container. You can get different types which either grow like a bush or trailing types.
For this winter, maybe some little conifers in pots or other evergreen plants? I am sure any garden centre would be happy to offer advice.

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