My front garden has left me feeling dis-satisfied for some years now. I posted about if back in 2010 when I was trying to decide what to do with the area. As I said back then when we moved in about 7 years ago the front garden consisted of grass and a ridiculously large conifer which was taller than the house and seemed to swamp most of the front garden. The conifer went within the first couple of months much to my neighbour’s delight as it blocked out a huge amount of light. The silver birch was added, it was a birthday gift from my sons and I really must try to work out how to propagate from it as one day I will want to move and will regret leaving it behind. The beech hedge went in to hide my neighbours trailer that sat on the driveway full of rubbish for months on end and the laurel hedge was planted one Christmas Eve to give us more privacy from their visitors. I like my privacy and found it very hard to be so on view.
The plot is quite large for the size of the house and is as larger, if not larger, than many of the back gardens on our housing estate. However, as with many people I’m not very good at spending time in the front garden. I find it hard to be so on view. Therefore the plan was to go for low maintenance. I added some shrubs by the birch and a border along the side of the driveway, shaping the lawn into a sort of oval (see below) but it was just wrong.
After staring out of the window for over a year – well not constantly you understand but from time to time – I decided that the lawn was too dominant and that I wanted something more formal. I knew I didn’t want to have box hedges etc firstly due to the maintenance and secondly the cost – my budget is non-existent. I toyed with circles but felt that the sides would result in too mean a border. I toyed with digging up the whole lawn but that would mean a lot of work in maintenance even if I covered it in gravel and again that would cost a fortune. I actually quite like lawns in the front garden being an old-fashioned kinda girl so the lawn was to remain and eventually the obvious thing to do was to go for a rectangle.
I measured it out and was very pleased with myself at checking the diagonals as well as the length and width. Canes were put in and then I tied some rope around the four canes to help with cutting the turf at this point I realised that I hadn’t done the rectangle square to the house so the boys started again, there was much muttering about their mad mother, but soon the canes were re-positioned and approval given from the upstairs window.
We, well my eldest, lifted the turf back at the end of April and then the rain came and I have struggled to get the opportunity to take the garden forward what with the allotment and work. When I did get a moment the ground was sodden. Anyway, finally over the last couple of weeks I have managed to set to on three of the sides. We haven’t lifted the turf on the edge nearest the house as we need access to the lawn to cut it. Eventually there will be a border along the path with a paving slab in the middle to give access to the front garden. Yesterday, the sun shone and feeling better from my soul-searching previous post I set too. I still have to clear the area around the birch and also the top right corner but I decided that planting out some of the plants I had waiting on the patio would be more positive plus there is a complicated moving programme where one plant is dependent on another moving its place that I shan’t bore you with.
The idea is that each of the long side will be planted with Alchemilla mollis to tie the planting together and the bottom short edge has a row of Deschampia planted along it. I am thinking of planting a similar row along the top edge. The colour theme for the garden will be reds, blues, purples – a sort of rich tapestry which sounds very grandiose but it’s the only way I can explain the image in my head. So far I had planted out red shrubby salvias, nepeta and irises. I have still to add some peonies and bergenias which are going in near the beech hedge which is very shady. I also have some cistus to go in the deep border at the front but they are quite large so I need to work myself up to that.
Finally, I like what I see when I look out of my bedroom window. It may be that the laurel hedge goes in the future once the current and soon to be added shrubs fill out and form a baffle but I haven’t decided yet. Oh and I have ordered lots of ballerina tulips and alliums to add a dash in the spring. Hopefully by this time next year it will have really filled out.