My Garden Project - Need some inspiration and advice

Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by Aidan Mallon, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. Eden1

    Eden1 Gardener

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    I work in an office job but have a real passion for gardening. We built our house nearly 10 years ago and since then I have laid all the front lawns myself (along with our little Massey tractor), planted 50m of cooper beech hedge, 30m of box hedge and a few trees. At the start due to financial constraints I had to take on as much as I could, but then I grew to enjoy it. The front looks pretty decent, the back is a different story

    The back was a jungle until last spring. Its on a really steep bank and was un-accessible until last spring when I built stone steps from reclaimed field stone. I need some advice on moving this one on. I have started to build some block walls which I have faced with field stone, these walls will make raised beds and a seated area.

    Pic 1 below shows my vision.
    [​IMG]
    The red bed is on a slope, I'll build another wall at the back of the red bed to retain the terrace where the path will run. The path I'd like to snake along the terrace with planting either side. Then I'll have the blue bed at the back. I've built a new base for the oil tank so it will move and I'd like a living roof on the sheds flat roof. Roughly where the oil tank is now I'd like some sort of hedge partition to split the garden. Large plants/trees that will block light into the back of the house are a no no, especially in the red bed.

    Pic 2 shows a close up of the seat that I've built, I'm going to lay wooden beams on this for comfort and would like to have an arch or pergola over the seat which would support creepers.
    [​IMG]

    On pic 3 I have marked in green roughly where the hedge would go, there would be an old fashioned gate there to allow access to the other part of the garden.
    [​IMG]

    Pic 4 shows another angle with the steps I built.
    [​IMG]

    Pic 5 shows whats beyond the shed. I've sown meadow seed on the slope nearest the house 3 weeks ago and built some stepping stones down to where the oil tank will eventually go. I'm not planning to do too much on this side of the garden for the time being, at the rate this project is moving it could be 1-2 years before I get working over there.
    [​IMG]

    Lastly Pic 6 shows the garden from the opposite angle.
    [​IMG]

    What I'm looking for from you guys??

    Ideas from your own gardens or gardens you've seen that might give me a steer. I have very basic ideas but no firm vision. Ideas on planting. This garden faces west and the soil isn't great. I am trying to compost but this is really in its infancy so I'm not sure if I can rely on this to bolster the poor soil. I like the feel of a cottage garden so plants that would suit that style would be useful. I'm in Northern Ireland, so plants would need to be hardy.

    Thanks for taking the time this essay!
     
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      Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      You've certainly got your work cut out Aidan but it's taking shape. :thumbsup: The challenge you have has reminded me of an old thread. The member in question has a garden on the side of a steep hill and he decided to create tiers of rooms. If you feel it may be of help I'll find the thread and link it here for you.

      As you can see I'm in the Highlands and currently retrieving my garden of 18 months from nature. Hardy plants are a must have and the few I've planted so far are Hollies, Weigela, Viburnum, single flowering roses and a hardy Clematis. I'm also creating a woodland patch and the first to go in there were wild primroses. I also have poor soil, sandy loam on bedrock which looks very much like your own.
       
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      • BellaBlue

        BellaBlue Gardener

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        You should check out Ballyrobert Gardens for an idea of what grows well in Northern Ireland. They sell plants at reasonable prices online too.

        Proven garden plants from an RHS partner garden

        It might be better to simply mulch your soil with compost mixed with well rotted manure and let the worms do the work.
         
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        • Eden1

          Eden1 Gardener

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          Thank you for the recommendation, I hadn't heard of Ballyrobert so I checked their website out and it looks stunning. I will try to get up that way soon.
           
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          • Eden1

            Eden1 Gardener

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            Yes its going to take a long time to do this on a limited budget, I'm thinking a couple of years to do the hard landscaping. I can plant as I go along so its not a complete eyesore. Thanks for the tips on planting and if you can find that old thread I'd really appreciate it.
             
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            • andrews

              andrews Super Gardener

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              We tried to have a cottage border in our sloped (but not as sloped as your) garden. We have mulched for the last 20 years and have now decided to move away from cottage garden to a more drought tolerant garden. Slopes and free draining poor soil make it ideal for more arid loving plants. Being west facing you may have more luck than we had with a cottage garden.

              Whatever you decide to plant, you have a great foundation to make it into a stunning garden
               
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              • Sheal

                Sheal Total Gardener

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                Often it's not a bad thing having a project that will take a while. It gives us more time to get the feel of it and change our minds about certain aspects. :)

                Here is the thread for you Aidan. It's quite a long one but worth staying with it for possible ideas.

                My tiered garden log.
                 
              • Eden1

                Eden1 Gardener

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                It makes me happy that it will take a couple of years to do. That thread has a lot of similarities to my setup, I will enjoy reading it in depth tonight. I might try to keep this thread up to date with photos of my progress and get advice as I go along just as the person in the linked thread has done.
                 
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                • Eden1

                  Eden1 Gardener

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                  Ok so I've made a small bit of progress over the last few weeks and have almost finished the walls for the 1st big bed (red bed). I just need to apply the stone face. I want to start getting plants for this bed. Initially I want low maintenance plants because I'm so tied up with the hard landscaping I'm struggling to even get time to mow the lawn. Down the line I will have time to be more hands on, and I think I'd actually enjoy managing plants.

                  I'm looking recommendations for perennial flowers, shrubs and maybe some tall grasses. I'd like all year round interest. I don't want anything that's going to get too tall and block light into the back of the house. I have a good FREE supply of good quality top soil within a 2 min drive on the little Massey, so that's been a good result. A farmer cleared some ground to build a new yard and is letting me take what I need.

                  This is where I'm at now.
                  [​IMG]
                  [​IMG]
                   
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                  • noisette47

                    noisette47 Total Gardener

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                    Hello, looking forward to seeing your garden develop. Just one tip when planting on a steep slope.....bury cut-off plastic, water or lemonade bottles, neck down, behind each new plant. This will give you a 'funnel' to water into while they're getting established. Sloping beds are a pig to irrigate effectively as the water runs down without ever getting to the roots.
                     
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                    • Sheal

                      Sheal Total Gardener

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                      I would dig some compost into the soil before covering with the new topsoil, it will help to hold moisture.

                      Choosing plants that are happy with their roots in dry soil is probably the best idea. Shrubs....Weigela, Cytisus, Euonymus, Potentilla are just a few. Perennials....Geranium, Lavender, Sedum (Ice plant) or any Sedums and rockery plants. Irises would be happy too.

                      Why is it when a list is required the mind dries up. :doh::biggrin: When I think of more I'll post them.
                       
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                      • Eden1

                        Eden1 Gardener

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                        Really good idea. My brother in law put black pipe down the side of his shrubs and trees so he could pour water down the pipe direct to the roots. Yours is a similar bit maybe easier solution
                         
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                        • Eden1

                          Eden1 Gardener

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                          I'm almost a beginner, I recognise lavender, geranium and Irises from your list so I'll have to look those others up.

                          I have French lavendar in another part of the garden it looks great but the scent is disappointingly weak. I expected to be able to smell lavendar from a few meters away, but you have to hold this right up to your nose to get a scent. Am I expecting too much?
                           
                        • noisette47

                          noisette47 Total Gardener

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                          Only if you drink lots of mineral water and lemonade :roflol: Black pipe would be more discreet.
                           
                        • Scrungee

                          Scrungee Well known for it

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                          The direction of prevailing winds bringing heavy rain? There doesn't appear to be much (any?) topsoil to soak up rainfall, just stony ground to shed rainwater down the steep slope.

                          If the area on plan of that slope is 12 x 8m, that's nearly 100m2, so for every 1"/25mm of rainfall, that's 2.5m3 of water running down that steep slope. Will walls parralell to the bungalow intercept it, and are the paths laid to falls to divert it either side of the bungalow? Or was the bungalow surface water drainage system designed to cope with this?
                           
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