Forum: Advice / Do It Yourself




Do It Yourself
Doing up my garden - any advice from keen DDN gardeners?
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Sat Apr 20, 2013 06:57 AM

We've lived in our house for about 7 months now and I guess it's about time we sorted out the back garden. ^ That's it at the moment.

Problems - it's not all on one level, it has two sheds that I want to remove completely (one has light and power to disconnect first), it's got no lawn, and it's full of little bits and pieces that need to go (ornaments, pots etc etc). There's also a conservatory as you can see, and as it's 23 years old that will probably have to go at some point.

Plus points - south facing, pretty big for a British suburban garden (18m by 8.5m)


I don't have the funds to completely gut it and start again unfortunately so it'll have to be bit by bit. The urgent (to me) things I need to do are...

- Tidy up and get rid of random pots, ornaments, and bits of rubbish.
- Weed-kill the patio areas
- Remove the trellis/archway thing and think of something to put in its place as it marks a step up/level change
- Put some pretty things in

I have NEVER gardened before. Truth be told I'm probably going to have to get a bloke in because I hate getting dirt under my fingernails and on my clothes, and I'm terrified of things crawling on me. But obviously I'm going to have to do some of it myself so I wondered if you guys had any advice on the following points:

- How do I find out what kind of soil I have? Is it likely to be the same throughout the garden given its size?

- What's the best time of year / weather conditions to lay turf? I'm not going down the grass seed route, I'd rather buy rolls of turf and put that down. How do you care for it in the early days?

- Most of the plants I like seem to be quite hardy and woody - I'd like lots of herbs and things like lavender, little evergreen shrubs etc. What time of year is best for planting those types of plants?

- Are there any plants I definitely should NOT get bearing in mind we have cats? I know you're meant to cut the stamens out of lilies if you have them in the house but I doubt I'll grow lilies. Are any plants dangerous to cats?

Plus any other advice for a completely clueless gardener! So out of my depth with this one.

2 Replies to Doing up my garden - any advice from keen DDN gardeners?

re: Doing up my garden - any advice from keen DDN gardeners?
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Sat Apr 20, 2013 09:42 AM
Edited by kandykane (157761) on 2013-04-20 09:45:45
Check with your local home improvement store or nursery for tips. Many of the answers to your questions are specific to your region, such as times to plant and the types of plants that will thrive in your region. There is a simple test you can do to determine alkalinity.... put some baking soda in a small jar half full of soil, if it bubbles, it's acidic. Do the same with vinegar and soil, if it bubbles, it's alkaline.

Pinterest has a great gardening section with lots of tips.

I have to say, I just LOVE the space! the arbor, trellis and little building are so lovely! Squee! I'd work with what you have to start, it can be very costly to make extensive changes. Of course, I can't see well enough in the pic to see the condition of the buildings and fence.

Are you going for an ornamental garden or kitchen garden?

kk~
re: Doing up my garden - any advice from keen DDN gardeners?
By Gioiamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3024, member since Sun Jun 20, 2004
On Sat Apr 20, 2013 02:51 PM
I just LOVE your garden! I know nothing about soil and such in your region, but you can always build some raised beds if needed! If one of those sheds is in good shape, I think I would keep it and give it a nice coat of paint! It would be nice to keep all of your gardening tools and extra seating in.

I would be inclined to keep some of the trellis in tact as a separation between garden and patio, but make the opening wider. I love a trellis with actual seating built in like this

Image hotlink - 'http://www.woodworkersworkshop.com/store/media/ccp0/prodlg/R14-1239.jpg'

if you can imagine that where your current trellis door is, it would be a cute divider with some extra seating for company!

If it were me I would get out there with some gloves and just start cleaning everything up. Pulling weeds and cutting out dead/unwanted plants to see what you have to work with. Then take pictures to a garden/home center and get some free advice. If you have places like we do in the States, they often have free classes on the weekends that you can take for a few hours to get you started. I would also want to replace any broken/worn out pieces of fence and refinish them before planting hedges/bushes next to the fence. Also repair any of that brick on the cute planters and plant new flowers in there, and plant veggies in the rear garden by the sheds. I would completely remove the concrete walkway, but that is just me. It can get costly, but I think even if you just clean it up it will be a lovely place!

ReplySendWatch