How to Design a Family Garden


This article would teach you how to produce a useful family garden with a good-sized patio and generous lawn area. The patio could be constructed from square slabs edged with brick, but some of the angles are such that necessary cutting of some slabs would leave awkwardly shaped pieces near the edge — hence the desira­bility of brick or similar edging. These angles would be less of a problem if small paving units, like bricks, setts or paviors were used. Any bricks must be of ‘stock’ quality which would be frost resistant. Another possibility would be crazy paving edged in brick. Assuming that the patio will slope slightly away from the house, there is a danger that the furthest edge might end up below the level of the lawn. It would be better to avoid a step up onto the lawn by regrading it so that paving and grass end up flush.

Family Garden

The raised brick bed on the right would be an attractive feature, giving a welcome change of level and somewhere for a collection of sun-loving shrubs, herbs and climbers to flourish. The garden is entered through a gate in a wall which is almost directly in line with the feature pergola. This is likely to be constructed from sawn, pressure-treated timber and will have to be at least 2.1 m (7 ft) high to allow room for climbing plants. Ideally, the cross timbers should be heavy enough not to require a central support. If this is the case, a feature — perhaps a water feature — could be positioned in the centre of the pergola. The layout is a little unusual in that the lawn goes two thirds around the pergola, almost turning it into an island. Paving beneath it will be laid to a circular pattern, making bricks, setts, paviors or perhaps brick-edged shingle the most practical options. The path linking the pergola with the end of the garden should be in the same material.

As the fences close in towards the end of the garden, so shade will increase. Before this becomes too pronounced, there is just room for some soft fruit or vegetables. A trellis screen with some evergreen climbers could be used to hide this area from general view. Tucked into the furthest and darkest end of the garden is the shed, compost bins and a small storage area behind a gate. The garden provides plenty of opportunity for some interesting planting but because borders are relatively narrow, mainten­ance should remain easy.

Trees and conifers have been suggested for height and privacy but it must be remembered that where these occur along the southern boundary, shade may become a problem if poten­tially large species are used. The border that lies along the southern boundary will be in shade quite a lot of the day anyway, due to the fence, so a predominance of shade-tolerant shrubs would be used, e.g. pyracantha, chaenomeles, garrya and various viburnums.

The house walls will be reasonably sunny but since the back of the house is almost east facing, some care will be needed to choose plants which are not tender or which do not flower very early in the year, when freezing followed by early morning thawing could destroy blooms and young shoots.

The border towards the end of the garden, backed by trellis and to the right of the pergola, would be the best place for herbaceous and annual flowers. However, these will completely disappear from view during the winter months so one or two, preferably evergreen, shrubs and perhaps climbers would help to preserve some visual interest.

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  4. How to Design a Secret Garden
  5. How to Design a Long Narrow Garden

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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