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Small Urban Garden Re-design - Suggestions appreciated


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DaveOShea
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Joined: 17 Apr 2012
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Location: Castletroy

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:27 pm    Post subject: Small Urban Garden Re-design - Suggestions appreciated Reply with quote

Hi all,

Would anyone be able to offer some suggestions on how I can transform my swampy garden on a budget (photos and map of current garden attached).
I would love some simple guidance on where I could put some raised beds and the materials I could use.
I have only 1500 to spend for starters but if I had a good plan then I can do it in stages over the coming few years.
I don't think that money would go too far if I got in a professional Landscaper in to do it so I will try and manage myself.

To give some background...
My garden is surrounded by Concrete panels (as per photos), beyond which on one side is a public green elevated about 5 meters above the height of my garden.
Naturally the water from the green, comes through into my garden and causes very wet conditions throughout the year.

A few years back I dug 3 large sink holes and put in quite a number of French Drains. Took 2 years of a really tough slog Smile
This helped reduce the visible surface water issue however since then the ground is still very boggy and poor quality.
It is difficult to get any nice growth (even the grass struggles with moss) with anything I plant due to the really bad ground soil.
So to me, the only way is to build raised beds with better soil and maybe use some ground covering plants etc to create a wild garden affect ?

In the picture attached, I plan to retain the grass area highlighted in Red for the kids but remove the patio area.
Also I need to move the bamboos into proper beds to contain them.
After that I would love some ideas on creating areas where I can plant some shrubs and flowering plants all year round.
I would be happy to replace all grass areas outside of the red area with alternatives.

There is possibly not much scope in a garden this size (approx 150m2) but I would love to get more into gardening but with my current garden it is impossible.

Hopefully someone out there can point me in the right direction.
Thanks a mill, Dave



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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well that is going to be a challenge. Is the sub soil marl? If not consider replacing the top soil. You would be spending a similar amount on bringing in soil for the raised beds anyway. Do you want raised beds or a flat garden as a starting point? Good guy would be of great help to you but he hasn't been on in a while. Kindred spirits thread on his own garden development is worth a read. http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about1885.html
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Last edited by tagwex on Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TMAK
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave,
Part of my garden is really wet, what I did was build a raised decking path (almost like a boardwalk)through the area to a deck at the end of the garden and cleared the grass (well mainly moss) I put down a weed membrane and sowed some bog plants in the area. Gunnera, ligulara etc around the path in hope that they will grow in and make a jungle type path. I put some raised beds at different locations on the path too.

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Photos TMAK photos.... Give the man some ideas.
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave. Raised beds will only go part of the way to deal with the wet ground (it will still be wet underneath!)

To me the main thing is - what do YOU want? What are your favourite plants, garden styles? How much work do you want to do? What is the sub soil like?

You'd be surprised at what you can pack into a small space. Let me have a think, I'll get back to you. Very Happy

PS - which way is South? Where is the driest/wettest part of the garden? Do you use the patio much?

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DaveOShea
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The soil is very clayish in most places. The garden is south facing. I.e Sun rises gradually over Shed and travels from left to right on the picture. Issue here is that the back walls are high (circa 8 feet +) and do shade plants close to them.

How much would it cost approx to remove a few feet of soil and replace with better quality soil ? I would imagine that would be a huge job and very costly. How deep would i need to go. I would imagine 3 feet ? And also to put in drainage stone as well. My wife would kill me Smile I have suggested we move out to the country side so I can get a proper garden but she is staying put Smile

I did have a look at the Kindred Spirits thread however it is now hard to follow as the pictures don't show anymore. Is that the same for everyone ?

So to answer the other questions in no particular order Smile
    - Do you use the patio much? - I don't use the patio anymore.

    - What are your favorite plants, garden styles? ---- I don't have any particular style in mind other than enough space (good soil) to plant small shrubs and plants and to be able to experiment, maybe Cottage style. I love weeding and being out in garden but these days there is nothing there to prune and trim Sad

    - How much work do you want to do? I love the hard graft, so no worries about doing tough work to get a nice bright and colorful garden. I wlil try and upload later a pic of my drains from a few years back. I shudder at the thought of it.

    - Where is the driest/wettest part of the garden? In front of Shed gets very wet to about 1.5 meters, Directly all around the patio is damp. Rest can be okay.

    - Do you want raised beds or a flat garden as a starting point? - I don't mind if garden is flat or elevated. I had put in one raised bed (blue planks) as in pictures using old Scaffold Planks. I added about 1.5 feet of soil and everything grew great in it. But now its over grown and the scaffold plans are crumbling. Problem is that I had tried to plant too much in there as I had no where else to play with and I also used the bed to put in some screen plants to block out the wall and they took over Smile The raised bed of about 1 feet of new soil does really work though.


Would be great to see some photos TMAX Smile

Thanks for any suggestions you can come up with Sue Deacon. Let me know if you need more info and I will try and give better detail Smile
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave, just a couple more things. How old are the children - running around, squealing age, bashing football around age or soon to be lounging around, doing nothing age? Laughing

Do you or would you like to 'entertain' ie, barbecues, drinkies, mugs of tea and biccies? What I mean is would you like somewhere, dry underfoot and preferably in the sun to sit?

If your 8ft walls cast shade - grow shade lovers! You say you like Cottage Gardens - they are more 'curvy' than your very squared design. So, geometric or curves?

I like the fake door idea, it suggests your garden is bigger than it is. You could make more of that.

There are few soils so bad that I'd consider replacing it. Even when I have bought it sterilized topsoil I have to add some 'life' to it. Soils are living organisms, they need feeding.

The forecast for the weekend is horrible and I'm still not firing on all cylinders after this rotten cold. So, I am going to dig out the graph paper and do some scribbling.

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DaveOShea
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue Deacon wrote:
How old are the children - running around, squealing age, bashing football around age or soon to be lounging around, doing nothing age? Laughing

2 girls - 6yrs & 4yrs and now a boy who's 2 weeks Smile There is a small green next to us that we can use for the crazy stuff so once we can fit a small bouncy castle on the left of the patio then that is all we need really.

Sue Deacon wrote:

Do you or would you like to 'entertain' ie, barbecues, drinkies, mugs of tea and biccies? What I mean is would you like somewhere, dry underfoot and preferably in the sun to sit?


At this stage with the kids and also with the weather we get, its usually just myself and my wife that sit over near the red side gate. We were thinking of putting a few paving slabs near the footpath as that is a lovely sun trap and very private. Its our favourite spot in the garden for chill out time.

Sue Deacon wrote:

If your 8ft walls cast shade - grow shade lovers! You say you like Cottage Gardens - they are more 'curvy' than your very squared design. So, geometric or curves?


Ahh yes curves is really nice. Don't mind either way but would love a meandering curvy garden. Not sure if that is practical with limitations of our garden though.

Sue Deacon wrote:

I like the fake door idea, it suggests your garden is bigger than it is. You could make more of that.


I was hoping to get the ivy to grow all around it and make it more enchanted. Would be good to do more with it. Not sure what though.

Sue Deacon wrote:

The forecast for the weekend is horrible and I'm still not firing on all cylinders after this rotten cold. So, I am going to dig out the graph paper and do some scribbling.

Would really appreciate any suggestions Smile Thank a million
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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can make a great garden here.

No. 1. It's facing south. Brilliant. You're off to the best start.

No. 2. It's sodden. Another plus because the garden shouldn't dry out. (I hope.)

So, what I would do (in my humble opinion) is

A: Plant the square area where you come in the sidedoor completely with the bamboo, Photinia Red robin, other shrubs etc so it's almost completely obscured with foliage but leave a little square inside with a narrow path leading to it. That's now the childrens' secret garden. No adults allowed! Smile

I'd leave the concrete square in the middle and build a one storey Japanese Pagoda on it.

In the rest of the garden, instead of raised beds, I'd have raised paths composed of Pea gravel. (A lorry-load is very cheap to buy.) and then plant things that love wet. Go with the flow. I couldn't resist that! Smile

Sorry about the pics on the Coolwater Garden thread. You can blame Photobucket for that. They withdrew their free hosting and upset half the world. The other half of the world hadn't hosted any pics with them. Smile

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A little garden in Co. Limerick.Some non-gardening photographs.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a mad thought.... seeing as you are urban and most likely on mains water, is there any chance that there is a leak?
There is no easy answer to how dig to deep to replace soil until you dig a trial hole and see what is down there.
Any chance that you have water springs?

_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would one of these interest you for the patio area?
http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about7816.html

_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two weeks old? So the football season is a few years away! Laughing Laughing

The gravel paths are a great idea - curvy and cottagey and relatively cheap. I would make them quite deep and fill the bottom two thirds with '24mm clean granite chips' (according to my OH, Dave, who knows these things!). We have used 19mm for paths in our garden and to cover over the land drain in the ditch. It is very free draining, and, because it is angular, it locks together to form a stable path. It is also quite cheap. You could then top the path with a more decorative stone. This should help with the drainage problem.

The pictures are of last year's project to de-midge the ditch that runs through our garden. it also got rid of the fuzzy edge to the lawn and we were able to repair the back of the herb garden without risking life and limb. We had three loads of stone that cost around 250. Should have done it years ago!



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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been looking up my old geology maps of the Castletroy area but not sure exactly where you are. Your stone wall suggests that you are north of the R445 on what used to be estate lands, am I right?
_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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DaveOShea
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kindredspirit wrote:

A: Plant the square area where you come in the sidedoor completely with the bamboo, Photinia Red robin, other shrubs etc so it's almost completely obscured with foliage but leave a little square inside with a narrow path leading to it. That's now the childrens' secret garden. No adults allowed! Smile


This would be lovely. I could definitely try that. I like the idea of seperating out the garden into areas.

kindredspirit wrote:

I'd leave the concrete square in the middle and build a one storey Japanese Pagoda on it.

Any online pics of one I could try or did you mean Pergola ? Pagoda looks very beautiful

Sue Deacon wrote:

The gravel paths are a great idea - curvy and cottagey and relatively cheap. I would make them quite deep and fill the bottom two thirds with '24mm clean granite chips' (according to my OH, Dave, who knows these things!). We have used 19mm for paths in our garden and to cover over the land drain in the ditch. It is very free draining, and, because it is angular, it locks together to form a stable path. It is also quite cheap. You could then top the path with a more decorative stone. This should help with the drainage problem.


I would fear for my safety if I mention the word French Drains again Very Happy

tagwex wrote:

Just a mad thought.... seeing as you are urban and most likely on mains water, is there any chance that there is a leak?
There is no easy answer to how dig to deep to replace soil until you dig a trial hole and see what is down there.
Any chance that you have water springs?

I had thought the same about the mains water leaking but I dug quite a few holes to see and the soil was pure clay and was trapping the water. Once I dug deep enough it was draining fine after testing. In one sink pit I had to go down over 1.5 metres before it would drain. I think in hindsight I needed a big massive sink pit in the middle of the garden with loads of stone.

tagwex wrote:

Would one of these interest you for the patio area?
http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about7816.html


Looks very cool but ambitious for me Smile


tagwex wrote:

I have been looking up my old geology maps of the Castletroy area but not sure exactly where you are. Your stone wall suggests that you are north of the R445 on what used to be estate lands, am I right?

We are just off the mototorway at Ballysimon. I has the stone wall built after we moved in. I would put it everywhere if I could Smile Its my favourite part ofthe garden. I have added photo of it from the front.



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Pure mess during the dig phase :)
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Swimming the English Channel.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like the photos! Well the promised rain never materialised so I spent the day in the garden.

Just come in, had tea now I'm watching the golf - I do like the Masters! Very Happy

Not forgotten you though.

PS - that IS a nice wall. Is that where you normally sit (the other side obviously! Rolling Eyes )

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