• garden makeover

    How to tackle a neglected garden

    There are two sorts of neglected garden – those that you inherit when you move house, or your own garden that has somehow slid out of control due to lack of time, other priorities or an inherent problem that you just can’t get to grips with.

    There are 3 levels of activity in tackling neglect:

    • Level 1 – tasks that should be done by an expert – for example tree surgery
    • Level 2 – tasks that depend on your practical skills, energy levels and availability of time – path laying, fence building, hedge cutting
    • Level 3 – everything else

    When the garden is new to you, if at all possible, try to wait a year before undertaking any major work so that you can see what (if any) the seasonal highlights are. That dull shrub might be covered in spring blossom or the area beneath a tree might be transformed into a carpet of cyclamen.

    With a bit of patience you can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the garden and when you embark on sprucing it up you will be better prepared to make the most of it.

    One of the reasons that gardens can gradually overwhelm you is our tendency to forget that the big plants grow even bigger. A tree shades more of the garden, a shrub sprawls further and a climber is heading for next door. Without regular attention all these plants will lower light levels, hide ground cover and smother their companions. Action is needed.

    These guides may help :



    Any out of control climber is probably best cut right back close to the ground so that you can remove the tangled mass of material, weed it, feed it  and ...

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    Left to grow unchecked, shrubs suffer from many similar problems to trees – they get too large, they rob the garden of light and they become space-fillin...

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    the quince tree is fruiting well.


    Tackle the big problems first. What trees are there in the garden, do you like them, are they healthy, overcrowded or just too big? Sometimes a tree really...

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