Check the ‘size in 5’!

Small Garden Design: Don’t plant a problem!


Another new garden border by the house builder, it looks OK right now, but all these plants are doing is storing up a problem for the new home owner (and as these are starter homes – it’s probably their first garden too) – thanks!


Too many big plants - not enough space


OK, so what is wrong, well in this bed there are,

4 phormiums (the spiky ones) 4-5 skimmia’s hiding at the back, 2 box balls, and 9 lavenders. The whole area looks to be about  3m x 1m roughly, so let’s say 3.5m sq. The skimmia’s will get to just over 1m round, (if they survive being that close to the wall), the box balls are OK you can trim to size. The lavenders, well probably these are the standard ‘hidcote’ variety, so will get to 80cm round (as you can keep them trimmed).


Then we have the phormiums, these look like ‘tenax’, each one can get to 3m tall and about 2m wide – and you have 4!


So totting it all up, you have plants that will use up at least 15m sq of ground space in an area that’s around 3.5m sq.


It’s only saving grace is that the plants they have used are easy care, but sadly this was a north facing house, so the lavenders will be devoid of sun and won’t therefore perform.


Why not just think a little more and plant something that works – rather than instant fix!


For north facing plots like this, why not use equally easy to care for plants such as euonymous, hostas, foxgloves, bergenia, brunnera, sarcococca, ferns, japanese anemones, for a bed this size, go for a ratio of 1 large, 3 medium and 9-12 small plants (these could be bulbs or low growers like primroses).

It may take a little longer to fill up, but gardening was never instant!





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