Saturday, October 6, 2007

Gardening case study 3 - Letting in the light

Anne and David Fenwick are in their forties with one son aged 12. They like to spend time in the garden at weekends, and their son and his friends spend a lot of their free time in the warmer months playing outside.

David Fenwick works in the sales department of a local manufacturing company and often works late in the evenings. Anne works part-time at a bank and is home by mid afternoon. Although their medium-sized 9 m x 21 m back yard faces north, the sun is kept off the garden for most of the day by large neighboring trees. Apart from the trees, the garden consists mainly of overgrown flowerbeds around the edges and a patchy lawn in the middle. The Fenwicks want a garden that is easy to keep tidy and able to withstand ball games, because their son likes to practice cricket on the lawn. They also want somewhere private and pleasant to sit and relax and an informal pond that attracts wildlife, which will give their son an interesting environment to enjoy.

The Old Garden
Overgrown trees and shrubs, and a threadbare lawn make this garden look neglected and uninviting. The trees also keep the sun off the garden for most of the day, making it difficult for other, non-shade-loving plants to flourish.

Deciding Their Priorities

How much time?
4 hours on average each week.

Essential ingredients?
Easy-care borders with year-round interest; a water feature to attract wildlife; a secluded patio; and a low-maintenance, hard-wearing lawn.

Likes and dislikes?
They like relaxing in the garden and using the patio area on warm summer evenings. Anne is also interested in the creative use of plants. Dislikes include anything that steals a lot of time at weekends, such as lawn mowing and weeding borders.

The New Garden
This simple, open shape gives plenty of room for ball games. To maintain privacy, the trees have been kept, including the apple tree and eucalyptus, but overhanging tranches thinned to allow more light into the garden.

Shrub Borders
Heavy pruning has rejuvenated existing easy-care shrubs. New shrubs need only an occasional pruning. Gaps are filled by ground-cover plants and bulbs.

Paved areas
The patio has been extended to seat the whole family. A raised area at the other end of the garden provides a second viewing point.

Easier watering
Containers are grouped to make watering more efficient and simple.

Wildlife pond
A pebble-edged pond with natural planting attracts wildlife.

Lawn Area
To eliminate annual repairs, the grass has been reseeded with a hard-wearing seed mix.

Mowing Strip
Paving slabs around the edge of the lawn cut down the time spent mowing and edging, and double as an all-weather path.

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