Sunday 20 March 2011

Re-vamping the front garden

For a long time I have been wanting to do something about the front garden of my house. Well, the term "garden" is a bit of an exaggeration actually. It's just a tiny patch, but it has given me a lot of grief. Over the years I have struggled to make it look respectable. The little area of grass has never been any good - full of moss and weeds despite the addition of copious quantities of various chemicals - and it's not a good place to grow anything much because it is very exposed. For a few weeks every year the Crab Apple tree looks nice (it flowers in late April), and the miniature daffodils and irises can normally be relied upon to create a nice splash of colour for about a month in the Spring, but the rest of the time the whole thing is a liability.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have now finally got round to having this area properly sorted out...

You may remember this photo I posted a couple of weeks ago, showing the daffs and irises (and the little sticks to stop people trampling on them). But just look at the scruffy grass...

This is how it looks now...

Much neater! Unfortunately I think the Iris Reticulata have been done away with by the workmen. I was out at work when the task was being done, but Jane tells me that one of the workmen said "We have managed to keep the daffs, but I think the bluebells (sic) have had it"... I may have to plant some more in the Autumn.

This is what the whole area looks like now:

The light-coloured areas (where the grass was) are 20mm shingle, laid over a weed-suppressing membrane. We have had a line of paving stones laid alongside the drive so that when you get out of a car you don't step into unstable shingle. This will be a great improvement on the muddy "grass" that used to be there!

To the right of the front door I have a large plant-pot sunk into the surface, and into this I can easily slot a pot of whatever plant I have that is flowering at the time. Right now it is daffs, but later on I will replace these with Geraniums or something. This will help to make the area look a little less austere.

And I've just had another nice thought -- I can get rid of the lawn-mower and free-up some space in my shed. For the last few years (since I had the grass in the back garden removed) it has hardly seemed worth getting the mower out to cut those paltry 5 or 6 square metres of grass out at the front, which was another reason why the area tended to look less than picturesque!


  1. Looks good Mark. Ridding oneself of the mower is an admirable accomplishement! Your pictures are nice, I can almost feel the warth of the warm spring sun!

  2. Wow !!! Nice job, it's much better. I like the rock you put in the last picture.

  3. Looks great, good job on the design! Bet you can't wait to re-home the lawn mower. I'd love to get rid of my grass and have a garden like Monty on TV lol. :)

  4. Hi Mark
    The front garden looks lovely and it will be easy to maintain, so more time for the veggies !!
    Have a lovely week.

  5. That looks great...I love gravel, I have gravel down my back yard around the vegie beds...and in my lets me know by the crunching sound, when someone is coming up the path..and its great for the environment, still letting water much better than pavers with the runoff of water....
    Though, I am in Australia, and not so much of a concern to you guys I guess...those daffs are glorious...

  6. Great makeover. You may want to consider replacing the mower with a leaf blower/ vacuum - getting autumn leaves off gravel is a chore.

  7. I looks lovely Mark but what is growing at the other side of your door - is it another pot.

    Could you grow a clematis up the tree to give colour later - one of those that is cut to the ground each year so that it wouldn't interfer with your crab apple at flowering time.

    I can't wait to get a move of with our front 'garden' but still waiting for more plants.

  8. The thing growing at the other side of the door is another clump of daffs. The workmen just left them in place when they removed the turf. When they have finished flowering I will have to dig them up and put in another sunken pot, I think.

  9. Great job! Love the way it turned out, and the idea of sinking the pot into the ground is genius. My front lawn is torn to shreds, the city flooded our house with 7 inches of sewage in 09 and they had us tear up the front yard since they thought it was our line, turned out it was theirs in the street. Long story short, we decided to waterproof the house since 1/2 of it was dug up anyhow and the lawn is still mainly dirt and rocks. I have 4 young kids that keep me busy, so for me to do it is just too much right now. Hoping to hire a landscaper this year if he/she is fairly affordable, I would help!!! Will make sure I use your idea of the pot though :D


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