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Hi all, was hoping for some help. I am about to start work on my garden for the first time. Bought it last year and have done nothing outside and have have never even used a spade its a tip! I have read through some advice and everyone seems to say start a bit at a time, but i dont know where to start. I have a patio next to the house witha few weed. A workshop and decking next to this which are in need of a good paint, an overgrown lawn then with all sorts of junk in there, bins, doors, bricks etc! to top it off at the end of the garden the fencing has fallen down due to massive amounts of brambles etc from council land! (should i inform the council or leave it as it is a good barrier from some dodgy council houses!) Stupid question should i start from the furthest part of the house first? i am not very good at diy, so is putting up a fence a good idea with all the brambles behind or could i plant a hedge or something? sorry for the naive questions but would be good if someone could give me some tips!
First of all I would have a clear out of all the junk you can find, take it to the tip and then cut the grass (carefully ) on the highest setting. I would then tackle the things closest to the house so you will have somewhere to sit out, entertain and you could decorate with a few pots, so you feel you have got somewhere to rest at the end of the day!
You then want to buy some long handled loppers and thick gardening gloves and cut back the brambles as far as you can - you can throw them back into the council land and they will still act as a barrier even though they are dead.Then I would employ someone to put up a fence for you to make you feel more secire and keep the brambles at bay. Spray any that sprout on your side or close to the fence with glysophate aka roundup.
If you have unearthed bushes, shrubs and plants by this time then look down your road and see if there is a well maintained garden among your neighbours. If there is, knock. Ask them if they would mind coming and looking in your garden to identify things and help you decide what should stay (the majority of gardeners would be delighted to do this) - if this is not an option then post pictures of anything you find an here and hopefully you will find out if it is a friend or foe in the garden.
Best advice is to do a bit at a time and don't be too ambitious. Get friends/family to pitch in with painting etc with the promise of a meal/bbq as payment. Take pictures of before and after; take pictures of plants you see in other people's gardens which you would like to have in yours, but most of all enjoy making your first garden! Good luck!
Inform the council about the brambles. You don't want them spreading into your garden. You can always deal with a barrier later eg hedge. If you plant a hedge first the brambles will get into it. Several sprays with Glyphosate weed killer will help get rid of them, but ask the council.
Clear away the junk, keep useful things, like bricks - may need them for edging beds etc later. Mow the grass. When it's tidied and mown you can see better what you have. Weed and clean the patio, then paint the workshop. Necessary to keep it from rotting. Cuprinol do good paints for sheds etc.
Buy a good gardening book. Decide what you want the garden for - veg, flowers, children's play, dining out, sitting in etc. Then take some photos and come back here to ask again!
Definetely get rid of the brambles before you think about planting anything. When you're buying tools - e.g. spade (you'll definetely need one), go for quality over price, it will pay off in the long run.
Apart from clearing and sorting out the junk - Bob Flowerdew would probably find a use for most of it I'd personally sit back and watch the garden through the seasons for a year. The brambles and the junk clearing will probably take up that time anyway. Look for aspect (N S E W - facing), soil type (acid, alkaline, sandy, clay) - look at local gardens to help you with this, what grows in theirs. This will help you think and plan what you want (and can) grow.
A skip might be preferable to numerous trips to the tip in your favourite car. Mow the lawn regularly and it will improve by itself ( you can consider lawn weed and feed next year).Control the brambles. Why not turn a problem into an opportunity and use the bramble to create a natural wildlife friendly hedge. It won't take any more effort to look after than a cultivated hedge, and probably less in the long run. And what about all that Blackberry jam? Do it bit by bit... accept that it will all take some time and work with nature, not against it. If you enjoy what you are doing you will succeed. If it's a chore you will lose heart and probably give up. All the very best of luck. You have started well by asking questions and not diving in headfirst.
I'd start with the patio, you'll need somewhere to sit down. Take care what you throw out. Bricks can be useful. Plastic rarely is.