Overgrown garden


11 Mar 2007
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United Kingdom
I have moved into a flat that has an overgrown garden - in fact, it doesn't seem to ever have been a garden before. Half of it is covered in brambles and the other half has a bed of ivy spreading from the back wall. There are a few trees as well, all having ivy climbing up them.

I am looking for a quick fix as I won't be living here for years. So far I have attacked the brambles and cut them right back, and plan for the next step to be strimming the whole garden and then getting a rotorvator to turn the soil and get rid of the bramble roots (some are pretty big) and any ivy roots that are under there. I then want to try planting a lawn and then later might add plants to the borders or have a vegetable patch (one step at a time). If I manage to have somewhere nice to sit out this Summer I'll be very happy.

I have been told that I should attack the garden with roundup but I am reluctant to use chemicals. From what I have seen the soil seems pretty healthy - it is quite sticky with lots of worms.

My lack of gardening experience is probably apparent. Does any of this sound like it just won't work? Any tips would be most welcome.

Many thanks
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chemicals are only a quick way.

your way sounds good, but tiring. but it will be well worth it.

why not take a few pics on the way.
if you wont be there very long...why not go for a container garden....almost everything that grows in the ground, will grow in a container/pot....and you can arrange it any way you want.
one small problem with that.

where does he put the containers?

he will need to clear out the crud and maintian it to see the containers
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unless I misread....he/she cut back the brambles and is ready to attack the soil with a rototiller....instead..I would suggest a container garden....it cant be that much different from over here. I have a very rocky sloping part of the yard that I did the same thing ...looks quite nice...well, when there is something in them (containers) and I can change them out as frequently as I want. :)
Hi there - the brambles first of all. Good move to cut them back and to try and get as many of the roots out as possible because, like lots of the nastiest weeds, they sprout again from bits of root left in the ground. However, at least with the brambles cut back and cleared, you will be able to see when they sprout again then you can zap them with horticultural grade glyphosate. NOT Sodium Chlorate - it poisons the soil; it can leach into the water table and cause the same poison; it is pretty effective in killing off the potential to grow anything else on that site, possibly for a very long time if not permanently!

Time spent in preparation is seldom wasted....quote! It costs a lot in materials and your time so plan what you need to do just like a work project then tackle it methodically. You will add value to the flat (are you renting??) as most people like a nice space to sit out in and enjoy the summer evenings. AND its not very relaxing to sit looking at a jungle of weeds...SO, rotavate, clear the ground then think about a mixture of turf, hard landscaping/gravel and large containers. Look at gardening books for inspiration and steal a few ideas from them. Think about a coordinated scheme so less looks more - you can always add to the scheme a year or two down the line. Get a good mate in to help do some heavy work in return for a bbq and a few beers...

I have tackled a wilderness garden over the last 4 years and taken piccies..I shudder when I look back and think how the hell did we do it!

Anyway, have fun! It's really rewarding when its all coming together and you know you've made a difference...
Hello again

thank you so much for your replies and useful tips. I don't think I could go with the container garden as the garden is both too large (about 8x18m) and in need of clearance first.

Been a bit delayed with the recent bad weather but still planning on the rotervater and then turf or seed grass. The brambles have been cleared but we still need to dig up some of the remaining roots. As much as gravel/ patio would be nice we are renting and are not willing to spend much money (nor is the landlord!). Still looking around in gardening books etc for cheap ideas.

We are willing to pay for turf, but would try seed if that is likely to produce good results... Does anyone have any views on turf v seed?

Another question is what do people do when they have a section of the garden next to a fence (e.g. flower/shrub bed) that never gets any sunlight? Are there particular plants that grow well?

Have taken some pics but not sure how to post them on here.

Thanks again in advance for any helpful tips!
turf is more expensive, but you are paying for a product that has been produced under controlled conditions to give you an instant result. Turf every time, we never seed on jobs.

Shaded areas can be turned to beds. You can make use of plants such as ferns, hostas etc. Have a look here for more ideas


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