Posted: 21/08/2016 at 10:55
I have a smallish, square garden, I also wanted to plant something that I can pretty much leave to its own devices and concentrate on a couple of beds that I swap between summer and winter planting. I planted a fuchsia hedge across the garden to split between a veg patch and lawn, you could add a few feet of plants to the left or right side to give you that break. I split the whole garden, but no reason why you couldn't plant 4 or 5 plants, I used 18 to go across 13m. Bought from Victoriana Nursery - https://www.victoriananursery.co.uk/Ballerina_Fuchsia_Hedging/ - around £2 each, this is their third summer, cut them back to 1' in the spring and away they go.
I widened the fuschia bed in the middle and plant Dahlias in summer and pansys and bulbs for winter & spring, just adds a variety to the garden. The neighbours willow adds a nice touch, sadly not a nice touch when it is across your face at 7am on the way to work and its wet through.
If you can add some shape to the borders you can than add some shrubs that will grow larger, otherwise you'll just get annoyed that the grass beneath does not do so well. I speak from experience, I have a Hydrangea and a Hibiscus that are starting to spread so i think the beds are going to have to grow. Also means they don't get eaten by the lawnmower quite so easily on the way past.
Crocosmia is great, there are some small varieties, I personally like the larger ones, Lucifer being a particular favourite. It will get bigger over the years, I have been amazed who well it spreads, a little too well.
Adding a tree/large bush helps to give a little something else, I planted a black elder, gets cut back every year and still clears the fence in a season.
I have been in this house for 3 years and started with 100m2 of lawn, slowly but surely I am finding my feet, it's not the finished thing yet, still need to get in to the beds with some decent compost as it is pretty much solid clay.
I have sacrificed a few plants that didn't work last year, I think I may have to rethink a few others, Lupins, they grow well, but want something wider than a 18" border to grow in.
There is no right and wrong, there are a few "rules of thumb" to go by, but if you like the way it looks then no one else's opinion counts.