You might think this is impossible but I can assure you there are certain solutions you can design into a garden to make it a happy place for all to enjoy!
In Spring, a client contacted us, a local child-minder. The client’s existing garden was suffering from over usage from the nursery children, her son who loves football (nightmare for all lawn lovers!) and the family dog. She wanted to be able to use the outdoor space all year round without muddy shoes and paws in the house! It was important, however, to keep the football net for goal practice for her son, and to keep the raised borders to prevent the children and dog from traipsing on the newly planted shrubs. The client also wanted the garden to look pretty all year round whilst attracting butterflies and wildlife.
The Planting Works garden design specifically targeted these problem areas, providing a solution for the client. New artificial grass was to replace the muddy space in the centre of the garden; some raised oak sleeper borders to be built to retain the planting areas and reduce damage to new plants.
In addition, a new space was created by dividing the garden in two with a wooden slatted fence and gates either side. The children, would now be able to walk, sorry run across the artificial grass to either gate and access a safe play area at the back of the garden where they could grow vegetables, play in a sand pit, climb, swing or just rest on the new wooden bench under the big oak tree. .
This was all complimented with a planting plan for all year round interest.
To begin with the team started removing the existing lawn, levelling the garden and laying a grit bed on membrane ready for the artificial grass. The children in the nursery all watched out of the patio doors in excitement waiting for the unveiling when they could run out and destroy! The raised beds were created from oak sleepers that were fixed into place and the new fence and gates including the bench around the oak tree were crafted.
All that was needed to finish this off was an all year round colour planting plan but it was not as simple as that! The plants also needed to be ‘dog proof’ to ensure he did not start eating or digging out any new small shrubs. The scheme consisted of plants with special qualities to ward dogs away such as scented Lavandula and allium family Chives, dogs won’t go near these as they dislike the strong smell, prickly Berberis and Eryngiums too. Keeping the planting quite structured such as Buxus Balls also allowed the dog to brush past but not trample down new plants.
To attract butterflies, the planting plan was interspersed with perennials such as Verbena bonariensis, Eryngium and Echinops.
Planting Works visited the garden in November to help provide the client with some garden maintenance advice. The garden was still looking beautiful, the dog had kept off the borders – most of the time, the children had been able to play through the whole of the Summer and Autumn period outside in the fresh air on the artificial grass and wood chippings and all of the problems that the client had encountered the previous years had now been long forgotten. The garden had been transformed into a space finally for all to enjoy!