New garden transformation

Moving into a new-build home enables you to create a garden from scratch
Moving into a new-build home enables you to create a garden from scratch

A garden designer like me loves this blank page approach but it can be daunting for anyone else. Most developers leave plots with a lawn, paving and fencing and there are a number of key things that you can do to transform it.

The first priority is to check the soil quality

Add plenty of compost and invest in a compost bin so that you have organic matter for the future. Beware of grass that is actually turf on sand on builders’ rubble or compacted clay as it will soon dry out and die, enabling moss to take hold. If you think that’s a problem, it is worth consulting a landscaper about your best options.

With the soil improved, the next thing to add is height

Planting climbers and adding supports or trellis to the existing fence will make a difference but consider planting small trees such as a rowan, crab apple, hawthorne or serviceberry too. Willow sculptures and wooden structures create height within a garden. There are plenty of examples from local sources and even workshops where you can make your own.

Think about your boundaries

You’ll need to check on any restrictions or covenants on your development before making drastic changes to fencing. If you can, consider planting shrubs for a hedge. If you need to keep the fence, consider painting it or add an outdoor mirror to create an impression of more space beyond the boundary.

Lose the corners with bold planting

New gardens can seem very square and you need to be brave to lose areas of that new grass to create curves, borders and beds, add seating areas and storage and maybe even include a pond. Check local gardens – there will be neighbours with established gardens not too far away – and look at what grows well for them.

Once you’ve made a start, your garden can develop gradually. Take advice from a local nursery or approach a garden designer if you want more ideas and watch as neighbouring gardens take on a character of their own too.

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