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Our small garden - work in progress (need your help!)


 
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sjohanna
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 29 Apr 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Dublin

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: Our small garden - work in progress (need your help!) Reply with quote

Hi all,

I have been a member for quite a while but didn't post very much Smile

In 4 and 1/2 years that I have been living in this house, the front and the back garden have really evolved nicely!

But, you probably know that we also get more and more demanding as time passes Smile

At the moment, we really would like to make the back garden a little bit more like an "oasis". A more private area that we enjoy looking at from the inside AND from the outside.

As you can see, it's not very big, but it's a good size for a city garden.


--> May 2014 / View from the kitchen doors


--> May 2014 / View from the kitchen doors


--> May 2014 / View from the kitchen doors

Our biggest "issue" at the moment are the houses overlooking our garden (and kitchen). We got into our heads that we wanted to add 3 silver birch trees close to the back wall, which would create a nice light screening and create privacy.

However, we are wondering whether they wouldn't get too tall ? We read contradicting info on the distance from walls. We would have them max 1m20 from the back wall. Are they going to annoy our neighbours? I am also allergic to pollen... And I read they can be quite bad.

We are looking for ideas... Small trees, which wouldn't block completely the light, would grow up to 4-5m, and preferably not too wide at the base.

- Japanese Maple ? Are they not very slow growing? Too wide?
- Eucalyptus gunnii Azurra ? Anybody heard about them? It's hard to get info on the growth rate, but they sound nice.

This back wall is west facing. Our kitchen gets the sun in the morning and the garden is quite sunny all day.

We are planning a decking with sitting area in front of the house.


--> View from the back wall

And we are quite happy with our side wall / vegetable garden / herb garden. Apart from the fact that the wall is a bit low and we can see our neighbour passing (not a huge issue and will rise it up when the decking comes up).



Our other "issue", is that side wall with the two shades of bricks... A creeper would be a nice idea but the neighbours might not be so happy... It's north facing.


--> View from the back wall

Feel free to comment / critique / give ideas Smile It's a work in progress and we're amateurs!

Thanks

Photos from 2010 to show you the progress







2011



--> Original idea for the patio...



2012 (after 1 month away)



2013



Last edited by sjohanna on Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:03 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Greengage
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Joined: 09 Nov 2011
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Location: Kildare

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, unfortunately i cannot draw on this site, But i would make the patio area outside the back door larger. As for screening i would not plant silver birch as they would grow too big and use up all the moisture available in the garden eventually.
I would screen using a. A trellis or B. Pergola at end for sitting under. thats just off the top of my head Im sure this post will grow as most people here would be interested in the challenge.
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sjohanna
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 29 Apr 2010
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Location: Dublin

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Greengage!

Thank you for your reply Smile

Regarding the deck area, it's not done yet Smile It will come up right to the edge of the garage and we'll have benches and a nice little cosy area to sit down in summer but also in winter without having to walk in the grass.

I take note for the silver birch... As for trellis, I am wondering if we can install them high enough, but we can explore this!

We are hoping to create a place that feels a bit more like country side (I am a country side girl) and hide those hugly walls as much as possible.

I'm looking forward to more comments Wink
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sjohanna
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I made a very bad Photoshop montage to show the size of our future decking Smile Don't mind the furniture in front of the doors!

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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Common garden Ivy for the North facing two tone concrete block wall?

Loquat trees? They look nice all year. Don't expect any fruit on them in our climate, however.

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A little garden in Co. Limerick.Some non-gardening photographs.
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tippben
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Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the back wall, try using vine yes, or masonry nails and attaching wires. Then train a briar fruit on the wall. Tayberry, Boysenberry, Loganberry. There are various thornless varieties of Blackberry available. You'll just need one plant, and they don't mind stray shoots being trimmed. Plant it in the middle, then train all the shoots one way. They will crop the following year. That year, train all the new shoots the other way, and cut the fruited shoots in winter.

As for trees, what is your maximum height and spread? I planted Sorbus aucuparia "Sheerwater Seedling" about four years ago for its narrow, upright habit. It is now 12' high, 3' at its widest point.
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally i would not go with the decking, I dont think they are suitable for irish conditions, as they get slippy and need maintenance but that is only my opinion, I would use slabs granite or sandstone and use different edging or cobblelock., I like the shape of the photo shopped image. I agree with the use of Sorbus trees they will thrive on poor soil. or you could introduce a pleached hedge at the bottom.
I would also use rectangles off set in the garden for your lawn have a look at this web site and scroll down until you see RECTILINEAR FORM http://notanothergardeningblog.com/2012/04/11/good-lines-mean-good-designs/ you will get the idea.
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a really good website, Greengage. Simple and very clear advice on organising space and relating garden to architecture. Thanks for putting it up.
Sjohanna, I would consider crab apples: Malus Golden Hornet is upright in habit and has good flowers and the fruit is very decorative ( though too small to be of much culinary interest) and M Red Sentinel is reasonably compact, though not that tall, at about 4m, but it holds its attractive small, crimson fruit all through the winter.
Good luck with your endeavours, you have done a lot in a few years. It is good to see how the garden has developed.
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sjohanna
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all and thanks for all your answers!

I really like the idea of training a fruit bush (loganberry, black berries) on the north facing wall. We have raspberries but we are planning to take them out as they are shooting all around the garden now.

We might take out that Plum tree in the corner as well. it's nice... until July, where it's full of black aphids, flies and wasps and the leaves shrivel and look awful. The grass under it is "black" and stops growing...

The trees we would like would be 4m/5m high max (but quickly if possible) and not too wide and thick. We don't want to block the morning light completely. That's why the birch seemed perfect at first.

Maybe we can have more amélanchier (we have one in the front garden). But I am not sure how long they will take to provide the privacy/screening.

As for the decking... We are in planning mode, so nothing set in stone, but my husband is saying that patio/stones would be a lot more expensive. He priced the decking for 500-600e, doing it himself.

We'll try to get feedback from people who used decking in Ireland.
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sjohanna
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I added some pictures of previous years in the original post, and it's very impressive to see how the bushes on the wall have grown. We feel like they are not growing fast enough, but maybe they would create the screen we're looking for in a few years.
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tippben
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The trees we would like would be 4m/5m high max (but quickly if possible) and not too wide and thick. We don't want to block the morning light completely. That's why the birch seemed perfect at first."

The classic problem. Very few cultivars of anything stop at that height. Those that do are extremely slow growing. To get a plant big enough to do the job you want will be extremely pricey, as you will have to buy it container grown, and pay all the people who have nurtured it along in those conditions, for all those years. Trees that grow really quickly have evolved to do so because the get really big eventually.

Abies koreana?
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sjohanna
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Tippben for your input!

We kind of knew that what we wanted didn't really exist Wink

We went to the nice Garden Shop in Monkstown today and they are selling nice tall Birch trees for 40e. (2m +)

They also had very nice crab apples, which would do a nice job.

My husband really likes the birch trees, and I like them too.

They would obviously not stop at 5m... But they also let the light pass and will create that "woodland" effect we are looking for.

We also saw a loganberry plant.
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