what should I do with my garden?

shwubberyJuly 21, 2012

I've just moved into a house with a big (by London standards) garden. It was completely overgrown when we moved and we have had it cut back. We have a lime (linden) avenue to the right of the garden where someone has lopped the tops off the trees. An overgrown wire vine on the right and quite a few trees including a plum, 2 olives and 2 apples as well as a couple of yuccas, silver birches and a copper beech.

Am not really sure where to go from here. I have small children so think w we would like some lawn so am thinking of uprooting the limes and laying down turf instead. What do you think? Any advice much appreciated.

Here is a link that might be useful: more photos

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Wow, I hope you're up for a challenge, it looks like you have one on your hands. I love the windmill palm, I hope that can stay since I imagine they're not rare, but not super common, either, in London.

I think before you can decide what to "do with" it, you need to decide what needs to be removed, and what needs to be cleaned, cut back, and rejuvenated. It is definitely a jungle, I wish I had more words of wisdom for you, but it's a bit hard to judge just by photos, and of course, only you know what you like, what you don't like, and what ultimately you want it to look like.

Best of luck with this project.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Children can make play out of so many different things I don't think turf is necessarily an automatically preferred solution, unless you're trying to cultivate football into them. It depends on variables of which we have no knowledge. In terms of landscape design, it's not possible to comprehend the totality of your space via the photos. In order to make it so that others can make sense of the space, you might start by getting rid of anything that you flat out know is not a keeper. Then, you might limb up some of the trees so that there is space to move (and view) below them. Then, you might post some updated photos that show what your yard actually consists of. With a few good hand tools, a huge amount of "demolition" work can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time such as a weekend.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:55AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

This will be a truly wonderful garden.

I personally don't think the kids need grass to play on, with the exception of sports. A sandbox would be great, with an easily applied/removed cover to keep debris, rain (and cats) at bay.

Hope you'll take and post scads of before and after pictures.

Rosie, Sugar Hill, GA, USA

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:19PM
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That's a wonderland for kids as it is!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:21PM
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Hi -
your picture only shows a very lovely view of what looks like a bigger garden - or does it deceive the eye really well? A plan view would be helpful.
Are the stumps in the middle the lindens you were talking about, or are they a man-made structure?
As a mom of a 6yo boy, what I find missing in my garden are trees suitable for climbing, and trees good for hanging a swing. So if you have such trees, don't hurry to remove them!
With lawns, the thing is, kids need a bigger space when they grow, I'm already thinking I should send them to the playground to play ball since both the flowerbeds and house windows are in danger!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 3:01AM
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Herring, anyone?
Love your user name. Guessing it's a Python reference?
The Knights of Ni have to be in there somewhere ...

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 7:58PM
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If you spread arborist wood chips over the bare soil the kids can play in that space without getting splinters as they would from bark mulch. The irregular sized chips decompose slowly so you start with 4-6 inches and add up to 2 inches annually in spring for the play season. If these aren't available in your area cedar play chips might be though much more expensive.

Collect the trims from shrubbery & trees in piles then rent a wood chipper for the day to create your own chips. Even if that doesn't give you enough for the whole area it is a start. In the USA many gardeners get the chips for free from tree trimmers who clear the area near power lines. Possibly that is available to you as well.

As the years go by & the children become teenagers they will have other interests outside of playing in the garden, so you can plant something different in that space. Years of wood chips over soil make wonderful planting soil. You may want to create a raised bed and grow salad vegetables year round in your climate.

Our backyard has changed several times over the past 19 years especially now that our children have grown it is more of a resting space, but continues to be functional with our patio, deck, BBQ, firepit, greenhouse, dove aviaries, chicken & duck coops as well as rabbit hutch. Since I'm still developing the gardens I have a nursery area with potting table, pot storage, young plants in pots as well as tools in another area.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 2:33PM
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