Gardening Tips – What to Keep From Second Hand Gardens

Gardening Tips – What to Keep From Second Hand Gardens

In a ‘second-hand’ garden it is not always a good idea to clear everything away and start again. If you remove the lot at once, you risk leaving the garden looking very open and exposed with no privacy. Many existing features such as trees and shrubs can be left, and a new garden created around them.

Large, established plants provide instant maturity in a newly planted garden. Neglected features like fences or overgrown shrubs can be easily removed. Unproductive, old trees can be given a new lease of life by planting climbers up them, and patchy, weed-infested lawns soon improve out of all recognition with regular cutting and a couple of doses of a combined feed and weed treatment.

Some existing features may be difficult to remove like paving or outbuildings, but again you can often clean them up or alter their appearance. Old concrete paths, for instance, provide a firm, level base for new paving slabs, or you could put edging tiles along the edge and lay gravel over the concrete. Use the brick base of an old greenhouse as a low wall round a new raised vegetable bed. Take a good look at everything with a critical eye before deciding what to discard.

Starting the plan

Even the best garden designers don’t expect to sit down and draw up a complete plan in one go, so you shouldn’t either. Take your time deciding what new features you want, how you will use the garden and the amount of time you will have to look after it. The trick is to play around with different ideas, sketching several designs on paper before deciding which one you like best.

Start by drawing a rough plan of the garden on squared paper, so you can make it approximately to scale. Mark in the position of the house, showing where all the windows and doors open – this is important as it shows you where you will look out over the garden from. Draw in all the features you plan to keep, such as existing fences, outbuildings, trees and paths, and then, instead of using this to pencil in places you might like to put new features and keep having to rub them out, lay a sheet of tracing paper over the top and use that to try out a new plan. This way you can replace the tracing paper and have several stabs at different ideas without having to redraw the master plan underneath.

If you have a home computer, you might prefer to use one of the garden design programs, which can show you what your garden will eventually look like as they usually produce a three-dimensional picture of the result.

Whichever method you choose to make a plan, it is a very good idea to have one, however rough, combined with your record of garden conditions. This way you can enjoy shopping at garden centers and flower shows, knowing that you’ll only bring back plants to which you can give a good home.

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