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How to create height and separation

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by sandhun, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. sandhun

    sandhun Apprentice Gardener

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    This garden is fairly uninspiring and flat. Surrounded by a fence, path up the middle, borders at the edge of the lawn (yawn).

    In order to create interest I was planning to add some height to the garden and perhaps slightly section off the area in the top right to make it more private.

    As you can see there's currently a piece of wood (a trellis type object painted the same colour as the fence) - but it's only a metre high and doesn't really create much of a 'shield'.

    Any suggestions in what I can do to turn this into a prettier space? In particular I'm looking to add some height and also create a little separation / privacy -any thoughts on how I could go about achieving this? Does the little orange trellis need to go? Can it be replaced by something?
     

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  2. clanless

    clanless Super Gardener

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    A couple of ideas:

    add some height and privacy by planting mature shrubs - I like cherry laurel - they are evergreen - grow quickly - are cheap :spinning:. I'd put the seating area to the rear left - it looks like your tree provides some privacy from the neighbours on the right and the white wall from the neighbours on the left.

    I'd get rid of the path and go back to grass - to make the flower beds larger.

    The main issue I can see at the moment is no colour - I hope you don't mind me saying but it looks rather drab - it's a little late to grow annuals now - but I've seen some very large plugs being sold in Morrisons - so it might be worth getting a couple of trays.

    The orange trellis looks a little odd and out of place - it's not my cup of tea :coffee: - I'd get rid of it.:smile:
     
  3. sandhun

    sandhun Apprentice Gardener

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    I don't mind you saying it looks drab. I know it's drab, in fact the whole thing is an ugly mismatched eyesore. I'd rather people be honest.

    The rear left area has less space, besides I am planning to tidy up the BBQ area on that side so it wouldn't be ideal as a private seating area. I'm not really planning to get rid of the paving, I feel it gives some structure to the garden.

    Good call on using tall shrubs as a 'screen'. Is it OK to leave them growing in pots or best to plant them in the ground?

    Agree about the trellis. It needs painting another colour, or perhaps removing entirely.

    Ultimately the aim is to create something along the lines of this (see attached).
     

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  4. Tetters

    Tetters Super Gardener

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    Well I don`t think it looks drab !! I think it looks like a brilliant start to a lovely garden.
    The walls and the steps are fantastic. I would leave the path alone for the time being - you need a practical walkway. Get some well treated timbers and some trellis for the wall, and start building ... you need an archway over where the steps are for starters, and maybe a pergola type covered area at the bottom of the garden, part of which could be roofed to give a rainproof seating area.
    I would get rid of all the grass, and start planting climbers on a trellis fixed to that wall, and I would choose a couple of small flowering shrubs - preferably perfumed ones, and fill the rest with perennials.
    If you were to make raised beds each side of the steps where the archway would go over, you could fill them with colourful plants too.
    Where do you live? What is your soil like - acid or chalky?
    Oh, and i don`t agree about planting laurel I`m afraid - horrible boring stuff that is.
    Please keep us posted when you have your plan drawn up, and maybe we could talk plants when you have sorted out the woodwork :dancy:

    PS, I thought the title of your thread was a bra advert to start with :heehee:
     
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    • sandhun

      sandhun Apprentice Gardener

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      @Tetters - I love the ideas you have suggested, including getting rid of the grass entirely and replacing with shrubs/perennials. That's the kind of ambitious plan I have in mind - but it's daunting. I think I'm going to need to enlist outside help to aid with design and execution but ideally I'm not looking to spend more than £500. Is it doable?
       
    • CarolineL

      CarolineL Gardener

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      The shape is great with the curved walls, and the white walls on the left would make a useful place to grow climbers against. Temporarily, why not get some chrysanthemums in pots from Morrisons to add late colour? It looks pretty much surrounded by trees, which could give you a problem with too much dry shade. Can you reduce them? As @Tetters suggests, if the grass areas are too small, think about replacing the grass by a gravelled area. You can let plants like genista lydia cascade down over the walls near the steps.
       
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      • Tetters

        Tetters Super Gardener

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        Of course it is doable. Have you never heard of re cycling...and I don`t mean on that bike!
        You can get a bundle of roofing battens cheaply enough, and knock up your own trellis - much sturdier than the stuff you buy...or even put some screws in the wall and run some wires along it for climbers. Which way is south - where do you get shade?
        I built lots of walls with my neighbours broken paving slabs, and pinched loads of left over topsoil he didn`t want. Look out for stuff on freecycle in your area.
        Another thing - don`t try and do it all in one go. Have a plan, and tackle one corner at a time.
        There are plenty of jolly good gardeners on this site who will be only too pleased to come up with a few ideas, and helpful suggestions as you go along.
        Why do you need outside help? It`s only a little garden. I know you are only a man, but you can still do it - if this old girl can, anyone can.
        Why not concentrate on the archway to start off with. It doesn`t need to be ornate, just strong.
        Either side of the steps, you need to dig four holes for the upright posts, and invest in a couple of bags of that cement mix that you shove in dry, and it sets itself. Once the posts are in wop on some cross pieces. As long as it doesn`t wobble about - that`s it - you wont even see it again when it`s smothered in roses, clematis, jasmine, or whatever else it`s going to support.
        One step at a time! Think positive!DSC00031.JPG
        Those are roof battens on the top of my structure, and on the trellis at the end of the garden.DSC00030.JPG
        I painted the rather ugly wall, and had a go at building the walls with broken bits of slabs.DSC00001 (5).JPGDSC00020.JPG
        It`s beginning to look a bit better - but still loads to do.
         
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        • Clare G

          Clare G Gardener

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          You've had lots of good advice already and plenty of ideas to get you going. I wanted to add in the idea of garden obelisks - made from trellis or wire, some very inexpensive ones around if you google - with climbers growing up them as a quick way of adding a bit of height. They can be placed in a bed or in a substantial pot. (My first thought on looking at your photos was that I'd replace the small areas of grass with gravel and have an obelisk in the middle of each.)

          £500 will take you quite a way if you're prepared to DIY. As @Tetters said tackle one thing at a time, don't feel daunted and do come here to post progress/ get more ideas! Someone else has made a good start on the layout - those steps, walls etc are nicely done. Even that lonely piece of trellis looks decent quality and will come in handy somewhere (as a screen for bins maybe?)

          Woodpaint is cheap and easy to apply if you wanted to change the colour of that and/ or the fence, which will be most easily done before you start growing stuff up it. There are some nice dark/ mossy greens available, which could work well with all the trees beyond, though as @CarolineL says if you are able to reduce those in height you will get more sun in and that will increase your options for the plants you can grow.
           
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          • Tetters

            Tetters Super Gardener

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            When it comes to obelisks on a budget, I thought Monty Don`s efforts on making rustic ones with birch branches were brilliant on the Gardeners World programne.
             
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            • sandhun

              sandhun Apprentice Gardener

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              As some of you have pointed out the garden is quite a shaded area, partly due to the overhanging trees. And the border where the white wall is doesn't get a great deal of sun therefore I've mainly selected plants that can tolerate shade.

              The garden is west facing - it seems to get more sun towards the afternoon & evening.

              I agree the fence needs painting at some point - I'm most likely to go for a green or grey.

              I am tempted to get rid of the grass entirely - despite having treated the lawn with evergreen and planting new lawn seed it remains dull, dry, patchy and lifeless. I hadn't really considered replacing it with gravel but I suppose that is an option. My first thought was just to replace it with lots of shrubs & flowers but that may take a lot of effort & cost a lot.

              @Tetters asked why I feel that I need 'outside help' to aid with this project. Yes, it's just a small garden and yes I'm just a man (albeit not a very practical one). I don't have the knowledge to design a decent plan nor do I have the ability to execute the plan to a high standard. With guidance I can do the basics but I'm not great at assembling things so I don't really trust myself enough to do a good job.
               
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              • clanless

                clanless Super Gardener

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                Yes, you can leave them in the pots - or preferably move them into larger pots - the mature potted Laurels I have purchased were nearly root bound - so larger pots or plant in the ground.

                Shrubs come in 3 flavours:

                - grown in pots - these have a high success rate when planted (expensive);
                - grown in the ground and then dug up along with its root ball - these are not as successful as the pot grown (not so expensive);
                - bare root - smaller plants - fairly good success rate - trick is make sure the roots do not dry out before planting (least expensive).

                I was unsure where the plant my laurels, so for a couple of weeks, left them in the pots and placed them where I thought I wanted them to be. I ended up shuffling them around and eventually found the final position, left it a week to make sure I was happy and then took the plunge and planted.

                You're being a little harsh on yourself - it will take time to bring the garden round to something more to your taste - and like everyone else on here it will be a case of trial and error. I've been working on my garden for the last 5 years - it's getting there and I haven't even started on the front garden :dunno:.

                When it comes to gardens - the only opinion that matters is your own. I think it looks drab, Tetters thinks it looks fine - its what you think that counts :).
                 
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                • Irmemac

                  Irmemac Gardener

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                  All of the advice above is great (even when it is contradictory!), and I agree that you are probably being a little harsh on yourself. I think your garden has great potential for being a beautiful haven, filled with lovely little spots to wander in. I grew up with parents who had a large wraparound garden and they created a stunning garden with no plan, or expert gardening skills. They worked on little areas at a time, and just tried things out. If they worked, fine, but if not, dig it up and start again. I have spent the last number of years keeping my garden as low maintenance as possible, and have just over the last couple of years started 'spreading my wings'. I, like you don't have much confidence, or much of a plan, but I'm trying things out, and looking for advice from the wise and big-hearted folks on here, who have been fantastic at helping me out.

                  A lot of what you end up with will depend on your taste - do you want an open garden, where you can see from one end to the other, or would you prefer it broken up into little areas which you move into as you go round the garden? Grass is a big issue, but if you are not bothered about it and have had little success improving it, then alternative covering seems wise. Masses of planting in place of the grass sounds great, but will be an enormous job for a beginner, and may or may not work. You didn't sound especially keen about gravel. Could you get someone in (sorry, Tetters!) to lay a network of interweaving paths, which means you can fill in some areas with shrubs and others with gravel, gradually expanding the plant-filled ones as you learn more about plants?

                  Personally, I think the steps, wall, circular paved area and path are lovely as they are, and you have a well-shaped garden. It has a lot of potential. If Tetters could build you one of her stunning pergolas, and some trellising, you will be well on your way. Very best of luck, and as others have said, please keep updating. It will be very interesting!
                   
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                  • Tetters

                    Tetters Super Gardener

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                    There was a time - about 300 years ago when I felt totally useless, and was so close to giving up. My grannie told me to put ''can`t'' in my pocket and pull ''try'' out. When I took her advice, I suppose I surprised myself. As most of my projects have had to be on a very strict budget I had to ditch ''can`t'' altogether.....and :yes: I can be very very trying... :embarrassed:

                    I look forward to seeing your progress @sandhun
                     
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                    • Irmemac

                      Irmemac Gardener

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                      There was a time - about 300 years ago when I felt totally useless, and was so close to giving up. My grannie told me to put ''can`t'' in my pocket and pull ''try'' out. When I took her advice, I suppose I surprised myself.

                      Brilliant! Haven't heard that one before. I'm a teacher.... definitely going to use that when a pupil says they can't! :yay:
                       
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                      • sandhun

                        sandhun Apprentice Gardener

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                        Update:

                        So far, my attempts at enlisting outside help have drawn a blank. There are some landscape gardeners / designers in the area but they're either too busy ("call me back in September") or they just don't bother answering the phone / returning calls. Therefore it's looking like it may have to be a DIY job.

                        Below I've posted some additional 'before' pictures for reference including one from the terrace overlooking the garden. My wife spends time on the terrace but rarely does she venture down into the garden itself. Hopefully she'll feel like spending some time down there once it's been transformed into a more attractive space.

                        FYI - the typical British-Indian isn't much of a gardener - in my experience they tend to put paving slabs all over the garden and little else....but my ambitions go beyond that.

                        I'm grateful for the encouragement / advice received on this thread.

                        There are some things I can have a go at myself including:

                        • Build an archway at the top of the steps
                        • Re-paint colour the fence / trellis another colour
                        • Place an arbour in the top right hand corner
                        • Section off the top right hand corner somehow - perhaps by using shrubs / obelisk type objects as a screen
                        • Consider placing a trellis against the white wall

                        As for the lawn, what's the best way to get rid of it? Is it just a case of digging it up and discarding the turf? I'd love to have swathes of tall perennials / shrubs in place of the grass, perhaps with a couple of walkways for access but @Irmemac warns this could be an enormous job for a beginner. Therefore it may be easier for me to replace the lawn with gravel - If I go for this option would I need to get the ground evened out beforehand or can I simply place the gravel over the turf where the lawn once was?



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                          Last edited: Jul 18, 2017

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