My 1st post - small garden, blank canvas...


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Hi everybody! :)

This is my first post on the forums. I am a complete newbie to gardening, but I'm never the one to shy away from a bit of hard graft so try to give most things DIY a go where I can.

Up until about a month ago, my garden was not very well looked after. It was a completely overgrown mess. I cut everything back and binned the zig-zagging path down the middle. The path was made from old bricks and was, well, in a state. I dug it up and found the path bricks to be on a 6" thick bed of concrete! Built properly, back in the day
Took about 15 loads of a 120 litre builders wheelbarrow to cart it all away once broken up.

Anyway, here is how it looks now:



I was on my bike the other day and saw this front garden, I quite liked the little trees there, I think they are called conifers?



My idea at the moment is sketched out below. The red lines (ladder looking things) represent a granite path going around the edge of the garden, while green blobs represent little conifers I am thinking to plant, just like in the image above. The idea is that once they grow to about 6 - 8 ft, I will top them off to prevent them growing taller.

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Views? Comments? Other ideas?
I am all ears
 
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That's a nice little space! What are you planning for the middle bit?
I have some cautions about the conifers...first, you'll have a very shaded yard pretty much year "round. Second, l believe this will acidify your soil somewhat. Over time you'll be limited in other things you might want to plant. Unless you're going for a private, Japanese zen style garden look? Which would be cool.

Just my opinion...l like growing a messy variety of native-type plants that flower a lot and attract birds and such so l probably have a different (messy lol) style.

Oh and welcome. :)
 
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Hi there and thanks for your reply. I forgot to mention that the part in the middle will be green grass for walking and lying on.

Is there another type of tree that grows quite dense and that I can shape and cut with an electric trimmer? I only say conifer because that is the only thing I know, ha! Perhaps there is something better?
 
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I'm not that knowlegeable about trees...do you have a good garden center nearby? I suggest wandering around one. Most should have labels with all sorts of information, plus in a good garden center (as opposed to a chain store) the employees should be pretty knowlegeable.

Two common ornamental small trees l see here are Japanese maple (lovely color for three seasons) and rhododendron (gorgeous flowers in spring, fairly dense leaf growth the rest of the year.)
 
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The "conifers" you mention are only one of many in the huge "conifer" family. Anyway, I agree that those need more sun than you seem to have. Some one said "Small tree". you can instead of a small tree, get a tall Hydrangea, and shape it into a tree, I have one that is about 20 feet tall, and has a main truck at the bottom for about 3 feet then opens to two trunks for another 3 feet then spreads out. But, anyway, I see your "Red notes" of possible planning. First I'd be thinking of pressuring washing that back brick wall and putting a lattice on it, for something to climb on. Then I would ask myself, "How do I want to set up my room " where do I want to put my benches, and table for morning coffee or a late meal. As you already have the structured straight line fence, I would put a curvy walk way leading around the garden. Lastly, my focus would be on nature, finding plants that butterflies and hummers like. And a small water feature is nice. there are solar fountains that you can place in a huge pot of water which will run from 10Am to 4PM every day, not wires/plumming. Also before you plant, does that fence need mending? or painting?
 
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I think your idea is great, but what do you plan to plant in the middle area? That looks like a lot space just to let plain :) I think a couple flowers here and there would do the trick.... maybe a pond?
 
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I was aware that the Queen Mum was tough, but didn't know that Elizabeth was so badass! Welcome. Like what you're doing.
 
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Thanks for the warm welcome folks! :D

It wlil just be grass in the middle. One of the issues with living in inner London is that space really is minimal and even a garden of this size is considered quite spectacular, it's crazy, I know!
 
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Welcome to the forum, your Maj! (y)

My concern about planting conifers down either side of the garden is that it may end up looking like a hedge, and you would lose a lot of space. Some ornamental shrubs would look nice. What kind of gardens do you like? Formal, cottage, colourful etc?
 
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You can place an arch and a sitting bench where 'not your fence' portion in the far corner is. Just my idea on first look at the yard!. I'm also one that will not like too many of the same plant in a row. This will, as Beth said, will block new plants you may like later and want it in your yard and will find it hard to find a place for them! On that arch I said, you may grow a climber or a vine that suits your garden and taste. May be you can place a bird bath or feeder somewhere.... and you may hang a wind chime at a suitable place! In my own opinion, paving along may not be necessary to start with... may be this can be thought of later. You can make kerbs and plant within that... You can use the far left corner [wall + fence] to raise the bed - may be a little hill... something like that.. it is visible from where you have photographed it.. or even right opposite... and also plant something you love there.... visible directly.
You can grow a few veggies on the right side where small trees are already there.
At this stage I scroll up and the comment by Esther catches my eye.
The water feature can be placed in the centre... where it looks blank.. You can use the centre and the wall at the back to good effect.
What do you think?
 
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Welcome to the forum, your Maj! (y)

My concern about planting conifers down either side of the garden is that it may end up looking like a hedge, and you would lose a lot of space. Some ornamental shrubs would look nice. What kind of gardens do you like? Formal, cottage, colourful etc?
Morning, thanks for the warm welcome.

I guess what I am trying to do is keep as much of the garden as possible in the middle, but I want green down the side, partially to hide the crappy fences. What about some box plants, which I can shape? I have done a bit more research on conifers and they grow very tall and take up lots of moisture.
 
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Just thought of something. Google "privet hedge." This may be exactly what you are looking for.
 
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I guess what I am trying to do is keep as much of the garden as possible in the middle, but I want green down the side, partially to hide the crappy fences. What about some box plants, which I can shape? I have done a bit more research on conifers and they grow very tall and take up lots of moisture.
If you're looking to hide the fences but not allow too much of the garden to disappear then how about putting up some trellis? You could grow a variety of climbers along it, and it wouldn't take up as much space as a hedge. An alternative to trellis would be to string wire along the fences, but trellis looks nicer IMO.
 
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Welcome to the forum! I agree with Becky, if you want to keep your gardening space and still hide the fence, opt for trellises. They are easy to build and definitely open up space since you go vertical. You could also try planting Buxus sempervirens and trim it into different shapes once it's big enough. But I think that since you have a small garden it'd be better to go with trellises and climbing plants or ornamental shrubs. Maybe this article will give you some ideas and directions on how to design a small garden:
Small Garden Design
 
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Just thought of something. Google "privet hedge." This may be exactly what you are looking for.
I just looked into that, following your advice, looks good. I like that and something called box too.

Not a fan of trellis folks, sorry!
 

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I know you said you weren't a fan of a trellis but if you placed one on the back brick wall, you could give the illusion of a bigger garden. Here are some examples I found.


trellis idea (4).jpg
trellis idea (3).jpg
 
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I think your idea is great, but what do you plan to plant in the middle area? That looks like a lot space just to let plain :) I think a couple flowers here and there would do the trick.... maybe a pond?
haha, this is what always gets me into trouble with home and garden projects. I start out just wanting to tiddy something up, then next thing you know I am at Home Depot buying a pond.

But I would at least look at lining the trees (whichever you decide on) with some type of low-light decorative plants, otherwise the area right under the trees will look a little brown. But that all depends on where you live, maybe the grass will get enough light to grow right up to the small trees.
 
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the lawn can be seeded with two types of grass seed. One for shade near the shaded areas and one for more sun in the open areas. We have lots of trees and have to use only grass seed for shade.
 

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