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Question from Antonia Page


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Hi, I would dearly love to revamp my front garden which is basically just a patch of grass that I begrudgingly mow every now and then. I'd love to have a garden that made me smile each time I arrive home from work!
It's about 2.5m x 4m, west facing and has no shelter, it is raised from the road with a brick retaining wall. I'm on chalky soil but I have no idea what's beneath the grass - it could be a load of rubble for all I know!
If you could please provide me with some advice as to where to start (how best to remove the grass, whether a weed-suppressing membrane would be a good idea, etc), any suggestions on suitable plants (I'm a wildlife nut so anything that attracts insects or other animals would be great) and anything else you can think of would be most gratefully appreciated as it's a bit of a daunting task for me at the moment! Oh and, as I'm sure most people say, I'd like to keep the budget as low as possible too!
Many thanks.

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  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Tue. 2nd June 2009 11:13

Be inspired and put a sparkle back into your front garden!

Reply from Matt Nichol


Great to hear you don't want to pave your front garden. Wildlife is a great thing to want to encourage and I commend you. Grass is high maintenance and when not looked after really makes things look uncared for. I removed all my grass at the front of my house and replaced with a gravel garden, feature pots and some planting.

You have limited space, so perhaps a small tree, like Malus 'John Downie' or M. 'Red Jade' would give you interest and height, somewhere for the birds to hag out! Underplant with predominantly shrubs and a to a lesser extent perennials to keep work load down. I suggest that because the area is raised up and I presume on reasonably free draining soil, a selection of Mediterranean plants (see Shoot lists) would be good. Teucrium fructicans 'Compactum', Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens, Salix lanata, Lavanders, Kniphofia 'Little Maid' perhaps even a Dwarf Lilac. This list goes on but pick plants that are not going to get too big. If you have a fence of cover, a Pyrocantha is great for insects, winter cover and birds love the berries. You should be able to get an APL registered landscape company to do something reasonable for £700-1000 excluding any design work? Need help with a design?


Matt Nichol MSGD

  • Posted: Thu. 4th June 2009 18:31