Need some ideas on border depth

samtobuk
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:24 am
Location: Cheltenham

Need some ideas on border depth

Post by samtobuk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:05 am

Hi all,

Relatively new here, have been browsing for a few weeks. Like many have been dabbling with exotics for a few years, but now decided to take the plunge properly and see what I can create. icon_king

Have a medium sized garden to work with right now, and we've been here 3 years so had some time to make a start as it was just lawn and some uninspiring shrubs when we arrived.

To descibe what I have ........ we're just outside of Cheltenham in the South West, but up on top of a hill (in a dip) so we are always a couple of degrees below Cheltenham itself which sits in a bowl pretty much. Garden sits to the north east of the house but slopes to the south, so gets decent sun across most of it although there are plenty of established trees around which means lots of shade to play with too.

Not much planted out yet apart from my long term ground ferns and some more recent bamboo (which looks like I've put it in a very strange location, but is part of a longer term plan when that big conifer goes!!). After losing a couple of palms last winter during weeks of snow, despite wrapping it all in fleece, I not have an 8x6 greenhouse which is now packed with plants old and new waiting for spring.

I have also had a bit of a splurge in the JAn sales, 4 different orders en route as we speak! :oops:

So in terms of what I have to work with ..........

Range of bamboos - nigra, vivax, rufa, Pseudosasa japonica of differing heights to use around the perimeter
Dicksonia - 1ft antartica, 2ft and 3ft ordered, nice sized squarrosa
Trachycarpus fortunei - 3 nice established ones with 1ft of trunk or so each and one smaller one
Chamearops humilis - medium
Brahea armata - decent sized one in the post
Butia capitata - smallish one on the way
Yuccas - couple of smallish ones
Agave - one pretty large, couple of small ones
Gunnera - decent establised plant in big pot, still trying to put out new growth as we speak
Cycad revoluta - one large and one small on the way
Musa basjoo - two medium plants in pots just bought
3 x Oleander plants en route
Fatsia japonica and spider web on their way
Cordyline australis and karo kiri, both ground height but decent size
Washingtonia - small one
Lots of Agapanthus, Crocosmia and the like to add some colour

Hopefully the pics give you an idea of what the garden looks like - decent width but mostly laid to lawn, with relatively skinny borders so far to both sides. I really want to expand those to some depth to allow me to use the range of heights that I have available, but not sure two deep, straight borders will look right, and struggling to see right now what else I could do to give the layout more interest (while retaining some grass for the kids to play on).

Would like to get the bamboos in this year as they've spent long enough in pots, likewise the hardy palms to free up the pots on the gravel for the ones I need to move in over winter. Keen to get some bananas going to get some really big leaves in there. Gunnera might go back to top of the garden by small raised pond.

Anyway ........... that's plenty for an introduction 8) . Any ideas on what I could do allow me to get some more planting depth in there welcomed, and whether straight borders or some curves might look better. Right side gets the sun, left side does ok, but late afternoon on gets shaded by a big Laurel.

Cheers

Toby
Attachments
Right.jpg
Rights side of garden
Left.jpg
Left side of garden
House.jpg
Looking back at house
Gravel.jpg
Seating
Rockery.jpg
Young Rockery!


User avatar
fern Rob
Posts: 4901
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:13 pm
Location: Nr Sheffield

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by fern Rob » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:43 am

Welcome, where did you get your D Squarrosa from?
Rob
( Tree Fern hunter )


Tom2006
Posts: 8094
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:23 am
Location: East Yorkshire UK

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by Tom2006 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:26 am

The garden already looks very nice but with those plants and more on the way you can really go for it.

I am certainly no expert but would advise two things. Attack those boarders and widen them and if you can edge the lawn so that you can mulch the boarders each year without impacting on the great lawn. The second would be to really consider where you want the feature plants and don't rush into planting. I rushed mine and always regret it.
Most wanted list - Any Young Trachycarpus and/or fern.


samtobuk
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:24 am
Location: Cheltenham

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by samtobuk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:55 am

Thanks both.

The squarrosa? Got it from trevena cross gc, between helston and penzance. Always call in there on our cornish holidays. Great selection of palms and various unusual plants and a tunnel full of ferns and tree ferns decent prices too. Think they do mail order.

As for the borders, yes I think you're right that I need to widen out, just need to find the balance so they don't visually make the lawn look too narrow.

forgot to mention I also have a 5ft phormium tenax plus a range of smaller ones, and three or four good sized astelias to weave into the mix so lots of foliage colour to work with.


User avatar
Yorkshire Kris
Posts: 10153
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:59 am
Location: Rural South Wakefield, Yorkshire Lat 53.64 Long-1.54

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:33 am

Hi and welcome, I really like your gravel area. Will be nice to see it progress throughout the year. icon_sunny icon_salut


Tom2006
Posts: 8094
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:23 am
Location: East Yorkshire UK

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by Tom2006 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:54 pm

I started with similar boarders and most are now at least 6 feet! If you dont do straight lines it helos reduce the sense of loss of lawn but edging then becomes a problem.
Most wanted list - Any Young Trachycarpus and/or fern.


User avatar
cordyman
Posts: 7129
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:24 pm
Location: Northwest UK

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by cordyman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:55 pm

What a wonderful garden, looks very elevated on par with the roof on the higher lawn, and looks super sheltered too with brick walls and the house encasing it in! Not overlooked either which is a bonus!

I think some trachycarpus forunei would set it off a treat icon_thumright


samtobuk
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:24 am
Location: Cheltenham

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by samtobuk » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:11 pm

Thanks Cordyman.

The house is a little unsual, in that we have double french doors out of the master bedroom on the first floor direct onto the garden ....... so will be like sleeping in a sub-tropical garden hopefully when I'm done (if done is ever a word in gardening!!) :lol:

It is relatively sheltered, with some very large trees at the top of the garden, but the wind does still come through so not a complete sun trap sadly. We aren't overlooked at all, which as you say is a huge bonus, and one of the things that sold the house to us. The house is 400 years old (there's a 40ft well under where that tree fern is perched!), so safe to say some of the trees and shrubs have been around a while! :shock:

The Trachys are ready and waiting, three nice sized fortunei and a Waggy on order ......... you're right in that they'll go a long way to transforming the look. Do people tend to leave clear ground around and underneath, or use something low growing or ground cover directly underneath?


User avatar
fern Rob
Posts: 4901
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:13 pm
Location: Nr Sheffield

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by fern Rob » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:14 pm

It depends how you want the garden to look jungles seems to be filled where as others leave gaps, i like to fill every available space.
Rob
( Tree Fern hunter )


User avatar
Adam D
Posts: 3574
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:47 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by Adam D » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:21 pm

You need depth in your borders to really set your plants off. Whilst they look a wee bit sparse at the moment they will fill out over the years.

Good luck!


User avatar
cordyman
Posts: 7129
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:24 pm
Location: Northwest UK

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by cordyman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:25 pm

samtobuk wrote:Thanks Cordyman.

The house is a little unsual, in that we have double french doors out of the master bedroom on the first floor direct onto the garden ....... so will be like sleeping in a sub-tropical garden hopefully when I'm done (if done is ever a word in gardening!!) :lol:

It is relatively sheltered, with some very large trees at the top of the garden, but the wind does still come through so not a complete sun trap sadly. We aren't overlooked at all, which as you say is a huge bonus, and one of the things that sold the house to us. The house is 400 years old (there's a 40ft well under where that tree fern is perched!), so safe to say some of the trees and shrubs have been around a while! :shock:

The Trachys are ready and waiting, three nice sized fortunei and a Waggy on order ......... you're right in that they'll go a long way to transforming the look. Do people tend to leave clear ground around and underneath, or use something low growing or ground cover directly underneath?
Looks fantastic already, so adding tropicals will take it off the scale icon_salut

I've also got patio doors from the bedroom straight onto the garden decking, a bungalow at the back almost, with street on a lower down level, great for those summer drinks in the garden, then literally fall into bed :lol:

Any pics of the well or is it sealed? sounds intriguing!

Plant the trachys with future height in mind, so try and visualise if they will cause any shadows in the evening sun, its nice to capture those last rays of the day especially when the days start to shorten in the run up to autumn icon_thumleft


samtobuk
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:24 am
Location: Cheltenham

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by samtobuk » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:51 am

The well is not exactly sealed, but is covered over with some bigs slabs of cotswold stone. Not been brave enough to open it up yet, but will do one day and maybe make some kind of a feature out of it ..... perhaps I could grow some nice small ferns on the walls!? :shock:

Will bear the future height in mind with the Trachys, so guess they need to sit further back in the border in front of some bamboos. We don't the sun too late in the day due to the high boundary hedgerows, but plenty to work with through the day.

I'll think on about ground cover underneath too and see what takes my fancy in the spring!

Better sharpen up my spades to get digging some more turf up to give me space to play with! 6ft might be a push, but 4ft should still look sensible.


User avatar
fern Rob
Posts: 4901
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:13 pm
Location: Nr Sheffield

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by fern Rob » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:58 am

samtobuk wrote:The well is not exactly sealed, but is covered over with some bigs slabs of cotswold stone. Not been brave enough to open it up yet, but will do one day and maybe make some kind of a feature out of it ..... perhaps I could grow some nice small ferns on the walls!? :shock:

Will bear the future height in mind with the Trachys, so guess they need to sit further back in the border in front of some bamboos. We don't the sun too late in the day due to the high boundary hedgerows, but plenty to work with through the day.

I'll think on about ground cover underneath too and see what takes my fancy in the spring!

Better sharpen up my spades to get digging some more turf up to give me space to play with! 6ft might be a push, but 4ft should still look sensible.
get a drip feed set up in to it for your tree ferns. :lol:
Rob
( Tree Fern hunter )


jungle jas
Posts: 1453
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:58 pm
Location: Arthog, Gwynedd, North West Wales.

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by jungle jas » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:28 pm

Nice setting you have there, what are your winter lows? My borders are very irregular and range from nothing to eight foot deep, they would be wider if I had a larger garden. Your Trachys don't have to be planted at the back of the border some of mine are planted at the front with plants behind them. Gives a sense of depth and mystery after all they don't have a massive trunks and don't cast a large shadow.
Ignorance is bliss. What I don't know, wont worry me!

Jas


samtobuk
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:24 am
Location: Cheltenham

Re: Need some ideas on border depth

Post by samtobuk » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:21 pm

Thanks Jas. Have to say I don't keep real tabs on minimums in the garden, but we certainly do get some harder frosts up on the hill here (judging from the times I de-ice the car but don't see everyone else doing the same on the way to work!). Nothing really below -5 degrees I would say really though, expect in the really harsh days in a harsh winter.

I'm still pondering on how to work the borders. On the none side I'd like to leave the trellis I have with Trachylosperumum jasminoides, as have been trying to get one through the winter for a couple of years, and it is the best sun trap as that spot gets the sun the longest (to put the hammock in!). That though would leave me with two deep almost round, short borders to each side and I'm not sure if I really need one long continuous area to really get some big leaves going and create the effect.

The left side of the garden I can do one long border, but this is the shadier side so will be better suited to the tree ferns and some others that like partial sun.

Still, at least I have a nice problem of having a reasonable space to play with. icon_geek


Post Reply