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Woodgreen wonderboy

Not having an army of gardeners to help me with all the many things i want to do one thing that intrigues me is how tidy should I keep my garden rather than spend time creating that new flower border, sow those seeds or move that shrub. Just where in the scheme of things does tideness come in your garden? And what about the wildlife too?


I'm not a very tidy gardener, edges aren't beautifully straight, too many weeds, clearing up sometimes a bit hit and miss. But when I've decided to do a new bed or sow those seeds I get on with it because it won't wait.If you don't do it you won't have it. Sometimes I think I've made a wildlife park, but it got a bit much when the deer ate everything so OH has fenced off part of the flower garden and raised the veg garden fence.

Woodgreen wonderboy

I find it helps to mix the chores like tidying with the creative jobs, preferably 2 of the latter to 1 of the former. 


I find both are important, sometimes one takes priority over the other.

Gardening Grandma

The kind of people who oppen their gardens to the public seem, intimidatingly, to have cracked this balance - beautifully neat gardens and fabulous planting. I suppose they just garden allday. I wish I were neat, It looks so lovely and sense of control very peacweful, but I'm just not. My garden is like my house - OK but never gleamingly under control. I suspect I'm just too lazy - I'd rather spend time on activities like this forum!



My garden is untidy, I wish I could enjoy it but all I see are things that need doing. Now have some one to help 1 hr a week. I say if you do not mind it, go with it. Birds Bees and Butterfies love it.My sister in law says of hers she's not cutting grass as it only grows. Have thought of taking up some lawn but it only takes 20 to30 mins to it less work. than borders etc. Lost a year last year in garden so it's catch up.



When doing jobs that make mess I tidy as I go as much as possible, eg drop prunings straight into a bag rather than create a heap that has to be tidied away later. Because I know what I'm like and the heap would still be there for some time afterwards

I am a tidy an extent. I grow several evergreens like conifers, hebes, etc and shrubs like dwarf berberis, santolinas, etc that are cut to a compact rounded shape to create colourful mounds and I dont encourage too many plants to spoil this. I make sure lawns are cut twice a week if possible but not paranoid about it. I like a certain control. But, maybe in my veg patch I am fussy.....I like to see the neat, evenly spaced veg growing well, weed free and mulched

With pruning and hedge clipping I put down a tarpaulin then it is easy to clear away. Am having the Big Spring Clear-up at the moment; so starting at the back and working towards the house, raking up the last of the Autumn leaves, tidying up the odd flower pot, weeding, raking gravel etc. Up here in the Fens people keep very tidy gardens, I couldn't believe it when I first moved here, maybe it is something to do with the flatness of the land.

Gary Hobson
Woodgreen wonderboy wrote (see)

... how tidy should I keep my garden ...

The important word here is should.

A gardening philosopher (Mara Grey) once said that the worst disease in any garden, worse than any slug, or virus, is 'guilt' - the feeling that the gardener must do this or must do that.

It's your garden and you can do whatever you like, providing that it doesn't upset the neighbours too much.

Tidiness is not compatible with wildlife. Nature would like you to leave things alone. Obsessive tidiness can be a symptom of OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder - it's a form of mental illness. The desire to regiment and control plants in the garden may extend to the desire to control other people.

Chill out, man.


Verdun, I saw the photos of your beautiful garden, which was very tidy. But, do you have to do the housework and cooking and go out to work? I don't do the last, retired.

So long as the veg garden grows food, I don't mind and I put weed supressant fabric over as much as possible, which helps keep moisture in as well in our hot summers. I prefer the flower garden to be tidy, but there just aren't enough hours in the day if I want to do other things too.


I have just spent days pruning & cutting back, theres nothing worse than an untidy bush. Only problem now is that I have got large piles of clippings.

Bunny ...
I don't like a garden too tidy , I prefer natural

Just as I thought Bunny..




Mine is average tidy: patios and paths tend to get swept, lawns edged, borders cleaned of old growth, climbers tied in, trees and shrubs pruned to sensible proportions and the clippings removed- although this year I am making a log stack from some heavy pruning.

I don't like the build up of dirt under gravelled areas so I may clean that away this year along with the twigs that fall off my Eucalyptus onto the gravel every year. I clean leaves off water but my stack of empty pots never gets washed until I need them a few at a time whilst one redundant corner plus my composting area could do with attention. On a scale of 0-10, I'd scrape 7.


I don't do tidy. My big hate is those cliff edges between lawn and border. But I agree with Lyon. A garden is what you want it to be.

I disagree with t he statement that tidiness is not compatible with wildlife - our garden is tidy most of the time and we have lots of wildlife visiting.
Pam LL x

My garden is tidy in the sense that I have a work area for washing and storing pots, potting on, taking cuttings and so on and stashing stuff like canes and trays and hosepipes.   I also hang up tools in the garage after use so I can find them again.

However it is untidy in the sense that it is not pristine.  There are always weeds to grub out, plants to prune, tie in, dead head, paths, hedges, fences and trellis that need maintenance and a forest of seedlings near the bird feeders depending on season.  However, we have a wealth of birds that visit as well as some that nest in the eaves and plentiful insects and slugs plus a natural pond which is never tidy and could do with a good clear out as weeds are now doing their best to terraform it.. 


What on earth has 'should' got to do with anything ing ardening?  I don't do tidy, inside or out, lawn edges long ago disappeared under falling and 'leaking ' growth - lovely to see dark leafed celendine flowing out, ditto geraniums, pansies and whatever else decides to ooze out of the area I once thought they shoud occupy, to the areas they wish to occupy.  There are some things that can get a bit too energetci with it even for me, but bugle is easy enough to remove if I want to - and some of the places I have had snowdrops this year are incredible - I could not have planted them there.  Untidy? Yes. Delightful to my eyes and those of my famioly and friends -Yes - OK then, that will do for me too.