Planning a traditional country garden in the front

We tend to focus on practical (read: food producing) parts of our smallholding when prioritising projects. But one thing I did want to do when we moved in was to fence off the back garden and paddocks from the front. This wasn’t just to make it more secure for the children and various pets that we have so that they couldn’t reach the road, but also so that we could move all of the parking hardstanding in the back of the property and replace it with pretty planting. When we were buying the smallholding I did have dreams of using the front garden as a croquet lawn and cutting patch but it’s right next to a road and so we decided we’d rather prettify the back of the property and make the front garden functional. So we called in the diggers and got rid of the lawn and hedges, filled in the side beds with a couple of tonnes of soil and repaired the fences and covered them in pyracantha and honeysuckle. Well, I say covered: we’ve planted one of each and I’m sure that eventually they’ll fill in the gaps. The before and after pics look pretty stark in contrast don’t they?

We’ve planted up the start of what we hope will be a pretty country garden with traditionally filled beds with everything from mock orange (Philadelphus), to lavender, from rosemary to hydrangeas, lupins and foxgloves.

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Plants ready to go into the beds

It’s a mix, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. We were delighted to see whole banks of snowdrops that the previous owner must have planted springing up along the fences too, and are really looking forward to seeing whether or not these beds have any more surprises in store for us and to adding in more bulbs of our own at the end of the year. It all looks a bit bare at the moment as the plants are so tiny and new but I can’t wait to see how it looks once we’ve had a year in which they can mature. It was horrible to see at first and I felt overwhelmed with guilt at the thought that we’d paved over so much green, but I kept reminding myself that we do intend to make up for it in the back.

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Mr Land and the hound planting up some of the borders

We also finished planting up some beautiful David Austin roses that we treated ourselves to in our front garden and need to find some extra plants to accompany them in their central beds in front of the door. It was quite a lot of work but I’m glad that we did it, the front garden is something we see on a daily basis and so it occurred to us that we should put some time and effort into making it pretty to feed the soul even if there’s nothing growing that will feed our tummies! I’ll keep you updated on progress throughout the summer and hopefully we’ll soon have a pretty front garden to enjoy every time we come home!

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Lonely looking snowdrops: the only well established plants in the whole front garden!

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

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