Posted: 26/12/2013 at 14:12
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.